UPDATE: U.S. Senator Targets Disney in Legislation to Limit Copyright Protection to 56 Years

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri has introduced legislation called the Copyright Clause Restoration Act of 2022 that would limit copyright protection to 56 years. He said a week ago that he would introduce this legislation, specifically as an attack on The Walt Disney Company and their “special copyright protections,” following their denouncement of the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida.

The law would retroactively apply to existing copyrights, including that of Mickey Mouse, which has been extended multiple times.

Senator Hawley said in a statement, “Thanks to special copyright protections from Congress, woke corporations like Disney have earned billions while increasingly pandering to woke activists.”

The Walt Disney Company has repeatedly lobbied to extend certain copyright protections so that their intellectual property would not fall into the public domain. The most recent, Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, extended corporate copyright protection from 75 years to 95 years, keeping Mickey Mouse under Disney’s control until at least 2024. These extensions don’t just apply to Disney, though they are the ones pushing the hardest for them.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, several Republican lawmakers said they won’t support another extension of copyright protections for Disney. Representative Jim Banks from Indiana said in a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, that Disney was capitulating “to far-left activists through hypocritical, woke corporate actions.”

“Given Disney’s continued work with a Communist Chinese regime that does not respect human rights or U.S. intellectual property and given your desire to influence young children with sexual material inappropriate for their age,” Banks wrote, “I will not support further extensions applicable to your copyrights, which should become public domain.”

As The Hollywood Reporter points out, if the copyright on Disney’s original Mickey Mouse design from “Steamboat Willie” expires with the passing of this new law or in 2024, Disney will retain copyright on other iterations of the character. This includes the design of Sorcerer Mickey, which was introduced in “Fantasia” in 1940 and would not enter the public domain until 2036. Most other outfits Mickey appears in after “Steamboat Willie” would also remain under copyright for decades.

For the latest Disney Parks news and info, follow WDW News Today on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

For more information on booking your next trip with our official travel agent sponsor, the Vacationeer, visit wdwnt.travel.

  1. Is it just me, or are all Republicans hopping on the ‘Bash Disney’ bandwagon just to cash in on the hype?

  2. If this law passes, Sorcerer Mickey would enter public domain before 2036 because this law is retroactive. 1940 plus 56 years is 1996.

  3. This is getting out of hand. What’s next. A demand for Chapek to leave. I can’t tell what side I should take anymore.

  4. Disney leadership has epically screwed thongs up. A little over a year ago Disney stock was around $200. Now it’s just above $100! Stupidity in Disney leadership has cost the company almost 1/2 of its value. That’s hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars!

    There is no profit in Disney getting involved in politics. Exceptionally stupid moves by Disney leadership to get involved in politics has badly hurt Disney’s business and value at a time when it was already suffering from post pandemic shutdown problems.

    This has all contributed to negative press for Disney, low morale for Disney employees and loss of approximately 1/2 the value of the Walt Disney organization. I don’t believe anyone who works for, owns stock in or patronizes Disney thinks that is good.

    Disney’s and other mega-corporations’ involvement in politics has negatively impacted our democracy and encouraged radical fools to behave radically foolish. I’m not a fan of President Trump, President Biden nor any political party. There has been quite enough party-ing and perhaps it’s time to clean up the after party mess.

    Do Americans really want any mega-corporations controlling any part or our democracy? Do stock holders see any profit in Disney getting into politics? I believe the answer to both questions is a resounding NO!!

  5. These revenge politics are ridiculous. Just because someone stood up and didn’t agree it’s become a one sided blame war. It’s worse than watching a child not get what they want for Christmas.
    These people need to be voted out – as soon as he said “woke” company as a reason to dissolve the copyrights… shows how unfit this senator is for the role he’s in.

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.