The Curious Case of Walt Disney

There has been a drastic change in the copyright terms since the first Copyright Act of 1790, when the duration was 14 years. Nowadays, copyright terms can last for over 100 years. Some argue that the reason is Walt Disney.

Micky Mouse was the first cartoon and animated short by Disney in 1928. During his 87 years, Mickey Mouse has won an Academy Award and reached worldwide awareness of 97%. According to Forbes, his estimate worth to Disney is $5.8 billion per year. Therefore it is no surprise that each time its copyright term was about to expire, Disney spent millions lobbying Congress for changes in the Copyright Act. You can read the whole article here, it’s quite intriguing.

Now, the copyright term for Micky Mouse expires in 2023. Should Disney be able to extend the term once again? Copyright has already restricted the access to most of twentieth-century work, and extending it is surely not the best solution. But what would happen if Disney’s work fell in the public domain? Or else, if it was under a Creative Commons license? Then everyone could use and build on the magical stories and characters of Walt Disney. They would be recreated in various new forms of art.




  1. In my opinion, I believe there should be restrictions placed in order to protect all material that could potentially be lost once Disney’s copyrights expire. Characters such as Mickey Mouse are not in danger, since all characters are trademarked and trademarks last until it is no longer being used commercially by a company; this is why I am unsure of what specifically is being lost, but Disney and all of his work is still loved by all and therefore should be protected.


  2. Disney should be able to extend the term but I think this is where copyright law has flawed. The fact is Disney movies and cartoons that were made around 10-15 years ago are still watched today. They still play an important role in the entertainment business by taking away their ability to extend their license; you may not exactly be certain that you will still be provided with the same quality of product that Disney has provided. In my opinion the value and uniqueness of Disney will disappear if anyone can tamper with them.

    Liked by 1 person

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