The LA Times's Joseph Menn has a great, well-researched feature article on the history of the copyright for the image of Mickey Mouse as portrayed in the earliest Disney cartoons -- and the theory that Disney made mistakes early on with its copyright registration, placing images of that specific Mickey (not the Mickey we know today) in the public domain. Prominent legal scholars like Peter Jaszi agree, but who will shell out the millions in legal fees to prove it? After all, the company's already threatened legal action against law-students who publish papers investigating the question!
Brown went searching for flawed formalities -- and found one. It was on the title card at the beginning of a "Steamboat Willie" cartoon that had just been rereleased on a 1993 LaserDisc honoring Mickey's 65th birthday. It said in full:
A Mickey Mouse
A Walt Disney Comic
By Ub Iwerks
Recorded by Cinephone Powers System
The authoritative legal treatise "Nimmer on Copyright" says that a copyright is void if multiple names create uncertainty, and courts have agreed. In 1961, a federal judge in Massachusetts cited the "accompanied by" rule in throwing out a copyright claim by newspaper cartoonist Art Moger. Moger's name was included in the title above his panels, but the name of another artist ran inside the boxes.
Disney's rights to young Mickey Mouse may be wrong
Last year while I was on tour in Australia with my novel Walkaway, I sat down for an interview with legal scholar Rebecca Giblin (previously), whose Authors' Interest project studies how we would craft copyright (and other policies) if we wanted to benefit creators, rather than enriching corporations; we talked about the power and limits […]
Last August, Florida's prison system announced that it was switching digital music providers and would be wiping out the $11.2 million worth of music that it had sold inmates -- music they'd paid for at $1.70/track, nearly double the going rate for music when not purchased from prison-system profiteers.
With the help of her mom, a Girl Scout in Colorado has turned Samoas into “Momoas.” Cookie sales have skyrocketed for fifth-grader (and “Top Cookie CEO”) Charlotte Holmberg of Highlands Ranch since she and her mom started gluing a shirtless photo of beefcake Aquaman star Jason Momoa on Samoa boxes. Charlotte’s mom, a marketing professional, […]
Use a single password for every website, and you’re compromising your security. Use a different one each time, and you’re bound to lose track of them. The solution? RoboForm Everywhere, a catch-all tool that will not only manage the passwords on every site you visit but generate better ones. As a simple password database, it’s […]
Just a reminder: Print isn’t dead. And now that printers are becoming as portable as cell phones, it might be around for quite some time. Enter the MEMOBIRD Mobile Thermal Printer, a mini-printer that is versatile, portable – and most importantly, never needs a refill on ink or toner. Measuring just a few inches around, […]
What do Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google all have in common? Somewhere in their framework, they all use MySQL, that most versatile (and free!) of database management systems. And they’re not alone. If your company or the one you’d like to work for wrangles data (and who doesn’t?), they’re going to need someone with a […]