Elon Musk can’t wait to see Disney lose an iconic character

Elon Musk has reappeared on Twitter, the platform of the billionaire CEO of electric vehicle producer Tesla (TSLA) – Get the report from Tesla Inc. uses to influence issues it deems important and for which it wants to mobilize public support.

One of his favorite subjects is copyright in original works. In mid-May, the serial entrepreneur took a position on the debate on the protection of the rights of authors and creators and on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which addresses the issues between copyright and the Internet.

“Current copyright law generally goes far beyond protecting the original creator,” Musk tweeted on May 12, commenting on a Slashdot story that said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) featured a bill to strip Walt Disney. (SAY) – Get the Walt Disney Company report special copyright protections.

Mickey Mouse could fall into the public domain in 2024

He added that: “The overzealous DMCA is a scourge on humanity.”

Hawley’s bill reduces the term of protection for original works to a maximum of 56 years. The bill appears designed to punish Disney after the entertainment giant recently took a stand against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. The change would also be retroactive.

Musk is now happy that Disney is about to lose exclusivity on one of its main characters: Mickey Mouse. Commenting on a recent post claiming that the famous mouse would soon fall into the public domain, the richest man in the world wrote these words on July 5:

“It’s time.”

Disney could soon lose the exclusive rights to many characters including Mickey Mouse, who is the brand’s mascot. Indeed, Mickey Mouse should fall into the public domain in 2024, almost 95 years after its creation.

The expiration date for exclusivity on an original work of art is 95 years, but Disney may ask to extend its exclusivity further, experts say.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

When Mickey Mouse appeared on October 1, 1928, the expiration period for intellectual property rights to original artwork was 56 years. But the Copyright Act of 1976 extended these protections to 75 years. In 1998, Disney lobbied and got an extension to age 95.

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Once Mickey Mouse falls into the public domain, anyone can use the character without paying royalties or asking Disney for permission.

Disney has already lost exclusive rights to certain characters: Winnie the Pooh, the adorable yellow bear who craves honey and loves his friends, fell into the public domain in January.

Mickey Mouse was created by Ub Iwerks, after Walt Disney had to hand over his first character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, to his producer Charles Mintz. Mickey represents an anthropomorphic mouse, hero and emblem of Walt Disney Co.

If he remained a hero throughout his film, television, literary and video game career, Mickey clearly evolved from his early years. His personality has become more positive and honorable and less dark. When he becomes the mascot of the Walt Disney Company, he embodies the optimistic spirit of its creator and alter ego, Walt Disney.

Why does Elon Musk care?

If Elon Musk has no direct interest in Mickey Mouse, the question of exclusive rights concerns him because it also closely affects the use of original works on internet platforms. Musk offered to acquire microblogging platform Twitter (TWTR) – Get the report from Twitter Inc. for $44 billion.

There is, however, an important distinction between copyright and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The DMCA extends a safe harbor to providers of online services or network access.

For example, suppose a user uploads a copyrighted video to YouTube, places a copyrighted file in Dropbox and shares links publicly, or simply creates a copyright-infringing website. author with a web hosting provider.

Under the DMCA, the service provider — YouTube, Dropbox, or website host — is exempt from liability. In other words, the DMCA protects websites like YouTube from being sued simply for hosting copyrighted content uploaded by a user.

The DMCA also allows anyone to file a notification with a service provider, asking them to remove content if it infringes the submitter’s copyright. If the service does not promptly remove the content, it may be liable for damages in litigation.

If the billionaire finalizes the acquisition of Twitter, he will have to comply with this law as the new owner.

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