Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Real Reason "Mickey's Runaway Railroad" Is Being Built.

Collapse

Get Away Today

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • [Rumor] The Real Reason "Mickey's Runaway Railroad" Is Being Built.

    Mickey Mouses's copyright protections expire in 2023, 95 years after the character's inception, soon after when the ride is expected to open. The only way for Disney to perpetuate its creative control over the character would be for it to argue that the character is a "trademark" of Disney- hence why there is a noticeable push by the company to brand the character everywhere, including in the parks.

    I am not a lawyer so I don't fully understand copyright law, but this is what I read about on an article regarding copyright law. Apparently the transition of a character from copyright protection into trademark protections haven't been successful in the past, so Mickey might be entering the public domain in two years. Disney is willing to invest millions of dollars, and even build an entire ride, to retain control of him.
    Last edited by Spectacular; 07-02-2020, 01:44 PM.

  • #2
    Interesting proposition. I'll have to look into this a bit more. Thanks for the theory.
    ​​​
    Last edited by stovk; 07-02-2020, 04:33 PM.
    “Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them
    so many years of our own lives.”


    DL Trips: '58, '59, '61, '65, '66, '67, '68x2, '69x2, '70x2, '71x2, '73x2, '74x2, '75x2, '76x2, '77, '78,x2, '79x2, '80x2, '81, '82, '83, '88, '89x3, '90x2, '91, '93, '94, '95x2, '96, '97, '98x4, '99, '00, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07x2, '08, '09x2, '10, '11, '13
    WDW Trips: '81
    EPCOT Trips: '93
    Tokyo DL Trips: '86

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow, excellent theory. I remember learning about this in film school when we went into discussions about public domain and it's history. The law also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, Sonny Bono Act, or (derisively) the Mickey Mouse Protection Act is fascinating and this theory makes a ton of sense!
      ―George Darling

      It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell. ― Walt Disney

      Comment


      • #4
        After further research, I found an excellent article expanding on Spectacular 's post. Very interesting indeed.

        Mickey’s Headed to the Public Domain! But Will He Go Quietly?
        “Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them
        so many years of our own lives.”


        DL Trips: '58, '59, '61, '65, '66, '67, '68x2, '69x2, '70x2, '71x2, '73x2, '74x2, '75x2, '76x2, '77, '78,x2, '79x2, '80x2, '81, '82, '83, '88, '89x3, '90x2, '91, '93, '94, '95x2, '96, '97, '98x4, '99, '00, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07x2, '08, '09x2, '10, '11, '13
        WDW Trips: '81
        EPCOT Trips: '93
        Tokyo DL Trips: '86

        Comment


        • #5
          The thing is, a trademark is not protected from the public domain as the public domain specifically states that after a specific amount of time, no matter what, the creation of a book, song, character, etc. goes into the public domain. Also because the laws were created before corporations, that makes it even harder for Disney to truly obtain keep Mickey from entering the public domain. I will add this is different form using the rights of a character or work still under copyright protection as until it enters the public domain, the owners have full rights over it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Similar thing happened in the late 90s with Winnie the Pooh. I remember it well because my son was born in 1998 and there was Pooh merchandise for babies all over the place. “Classic Pooh” was also popular then too. And Disney even sacrificed CBJ for a Winnie the Pooh ride. Now this all makes sense as to why they did that. Maybe it was more than just Paul Pressler being an idiot.

            Comment


            • #7
              Such a fascinating theory, and one that would make sense. I too have wondered why there's been such a recent push in the past five years or so for all things around Mickey, but I always wrote it off as Iger trying to push another familiar IP down people's throats- but at least this one is welcomed.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jish5555 View Post
                The thing is, a trademark is not protected from the public domain as the public domain specifically states that after a specific amount of time, no matter what, the creation of a book, song, character, etc. goes into the public domain. Also because the laws were created before corporations, that makes it even harder for Disney to truly obtain keep Mickey from entering the public domain. I will add this is different form using the rights of a character or work still under copyright protection as until it enters the public domain, the owners have full rights over it.
                Your question is somewhat addressed here:

                "...does this not fly in the face of the constitutional requirement that copyrights only exist for a limited time? Does not giving trademark status to a character in the public domain in effect grant a perpetual copyright? It would seem that it does. The catch is that not all formerly copyrighted characters will qualify for trademark protection. In the one case that I could find that solidly addressed the issue, the Court ruled that in order for trademark to protect a character in the public domain, the character must have obtained “secondary meaning.” In other words, one who encounters the character must immediately associate it with the source. In denying summary judgment to the Defendants, this Court held that “[d]ual protection under copyright and trademark laws is particularly appropriate for graphic representations of characters. A character deemed an artistic creation deserving copyright protection…may also serve to identify the creator, thus meriting protection under theories of trademark and unfair competition.”

                Given an open invitation like that, Disney executives would be foolish not to run with it. And so they have. Disney has made Mickey Mouse so prominent in all of their corporate dealings, that he is effectively the pre-eminent symbol of the Walt Disney Company. There can be little doubt that anyone seeing the image of Mickey Mouse (or even his silhouette), immediately thinks of Disney.
                "
                “Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them
                so many years of our own lives.”


                DL Trips: '58, '59, '61, '65, '66, '67, '68x2, '69x2, '70x2, '71x2, '73x2, '74x2, '75x2, '76x2, '77, '78,x2, '79x2, '80x2, '81, '82, '83, '88, '89x3, '90x2, '91, '93, '94, '95x2, '96, '97, '98x4, '99, '00, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07x2, '08, '09x2, '10, '11, '13
                WDW Trips: '81
                EPCOT Trips: '93
                Tokyo DL Trips: '86

                Comment


                • #9
                  IANAL, but based on my understanding of copyright vs. trademark, if Disney successfully trademarks Mickey (and they absolutely have grounds to do so), then no one else can make new Mickey Mouse cartoons, drawings, or other works for commercial purposes. However, "Steamboat Willie" will still become public domain and from that point forward, is freely available for dissemination by anyone and Disney can't say boo about it. And ditto for all other existing Mickey Mouse media, in time.

                  I think. If someone knows better, please correct me.
                  Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Karalora View Post
                    IANAL, but based on my understanding of copyright vs. trademark, if Disney successfully trademarks Mickey (and they absolutely have grounds to do so), then no one else can make new Mickey Mouse cartoons, drawings, or other works for commercial purposes. However, "Steamboat Willie" will still become public domain and from that point forward, is freely available for dissemination by anyone and Disney can't say boo about it. And ditto for all other existing Mickey Mouse media, in time.

                    I think. If someone knows better, please correct me.
                    I cannot directly recall where from and have no luck in successfully googling the source. But to my knowledge, this is also why Disney has been systematically releasing "character collection editions" for the past few years. As you had pointed out, even with trademark protections, Disney will own Mickey for new content, but older material that "has not been significantly modified to reflect a new creation" will become public domain. That means Plane Crazy, steamboat Willie, etc onword in their orignal release format will become public domain. However "new" releases, such as the collector's edition that feature HD and soon 4K restorations with improved sound or even colorations, will be protected. This was why the box sets were apparently released the last time Mickey was up for public domain, so consumers would reach for the better quality, Disney produced versions that would still be copyrighted, instead of the PD versions that could now be freely distributed, if the extension hadn't been approved.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      An interesting facet to this that I wonder might be weighing heavily in Disney's mind is, we do not live with the same technically and media limitations that we did in the 60's, 80's or even when they released the box sets about a decade ago. Once they might have SAFELY assumed that consumers would sooner reach for their re-releases than anything that might be public domain but of lower quality. But, now the average person at home using Photoshop, aftereffects, or even creating entirely new media with toonboom has more editing skill on their computer than professional studios had until honestly the mid 90's to even the early 2000's.

                      Disney might be able to out out 4K editions of original Mickey cartoons. But teams of artists online, working for free, could easily take those public domain editions and restore them to near similar quality. Hell, they could skip restoring and just take the Audio and make a "Re-animated" version that might be more desirable than even the original (for proof of what I mean, just search DoverBoys Reanimated on YouTube).

                      Perhaps this is also plays into why Disney is so eager to not simply make you "want and remember" the classic Mickey cartoons, but they want to make you associate the character more and more with its current reimagining. I know alot of folks took issue with them using the modern cartoon's version of Mickey with the merchandise and themeing of last year's birthday celebration, but it can't be denied that they successfully managed to get more guests and especially younger guests to associate the modern Mickey with the one seen around the parks and on toys.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Maybe Disney can transfer all Mickey Mouse likenesses into an overseas LLC, then no one will know where the hell went Mickey...
                        I am old. But still love Disneyland.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SkunkID View Post

                          I cannot directly recall where from and have no luck in successfully googling the source. But to my knowledge, this is also why Disney has been systematically releasing "character collection editions" for the past few years. As you had pointed out, even with trademark protections, Disney will own Mickey for new content, but older material that "has not been significantly modified to reflect a new creation" will become public domain. That means Plane Crazy, steamboat Willie, etc onword in their orignal release format will become public domain. However "new" releases, such as the collector's edition that feature HD and soon 4K restorations with improved sound or even colorations, will be protected. This was why the box sets were apparently released the last time Mickey was up for public domain, so consumers would reach for the better quality, Disney produced versions that would still be copyrighted, instead of the PD versions that could now be freely distributed, if the extension hadn't been approved.
                          When Steamboat Willie (well IF Steamboat Willie) goes into the public domain everyone will be able to remix, release, and use the assets of the film in any way that they wish. While I am not entirely sure about cleaning up the source material and re-releasing it I do believe that someone other than Disney would actually be allowed to do this, though since Steamboat Willie is a black and white film colorizing it would likely fall out of the public domain. I do know that you could take that particular version of Mickey and create your own original work and then sell it. So essentially it's not just the Steamboat Willie film going into public domain it is that version of Mickey Mouse.

                          This does lend some credit to the OP's comments, because it is distinctly that ONE version of Mickey Mouse that goes into public domain....black and white, black dots for eyes, no gloves etc. etc. The new "old" version of mickey that Disney has been using that last number of years certainly bears a strong resemblance to the Steamboat Willie one...Perhaps even enough of a similarity for Disney's lawyers to argue anything created with that Steamboat Willie Mickey by the public is too similar to this new vintage version, at the very least in an argument strong enough to threaten and bully creators with any work that gains traction.

                          The real question comes up as we close in on 2036 when Snow White is up for entrance into the Public Domain, and many early films nearly every year after. I wonder if Disney makes a big push to extend again (I'm sure they will) or if they start to move on from some of the originals which they have relied on for nearly a century now.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Huh! Interesting... never thought of what would happen when we got to this point! I think Disney will, of course, extend, but when they start to reach the older/ less relevant cartoons and films... will they let them go quietly? Food for thought. (And of course they'll keep the older classic movies, but I'm talking the cartoons no one has ever heard of)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This is why a couple of years back Felix the Cat went into the public domain. Felix is obviously less a of a big deal them Mickey Mouse who is the single most widely known brand image in the world by many accounts. I am surprised Disney has not tried to write the Mickey Character into their Disney brand ID as an icon of Disney Corp or something. I am sure if there is any possible way to keep Mickey locked down they figure it out.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Starcade View Post
                                This is why a couple of years back Felix the Cat went into the public domain. Felix is obviously less a of a big deal them Mickey Mouse who is the single most widely known brand image in the world by many accounts. I am surprised Disney has not tried to write the Mickey Character into their Disney brand ID as an icon of Disney Corp or something. I am sure if there is any possible way to keep Mickey locked down they figure it out.
                                I think they have incorporated Mickey as Disney's Icon pretty well.

                                Click image for larger version  Name:	mm1.jpg Views:	0 Size:	219.8 KB ID:	8623108
                                Click image for larger version  Name:	mm2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	170.2 KB ID:	8623109
                                Click image for larger version  Name:	MM1962.PNG Views:	0 Size:	69.3 KB ID:	8623110
                                Click image for larger version  Name:	mm3.png Views:	0 Size:	57.1 KB ID:	8623111
                                Click image for larger version  Name:	mm4.png Views:	0 Size:	17.9 KB ID:	8623112
                                Last edited by Laugh-O-Grams; 07-14-2020, 05:51 AM.
                                We need another Walt...and fast!

                                "It's always more difficult to recover than it is to do the right thing at the beginning" - Tony Baxter,
                                The Imagineering Story, Episode 4 "Hit or Miss"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Starcade View Post
                                  This is why a couple of years back Felix the Cat went into the public domain. Felix is obviously less a of a big deal them Mickey Mouse who is the single most widely known brand image in the world by many accounts. I am surprised Disney has not tried to write the Mickey Character into their Disney brand ID as an icon of Disney Corp or something. I am sure if there is any possible way to keep Mickey locked down they figure it out.
                                  The corporation uses Mickey in the logo, and they also just finished creating a new logo for WDI adding Mickey to it which is a new use, just like the new use in Orlando with the ride.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Yes I understand they used him the logo. However if they had registered him as part of the logo and written it into the their registered branding description as iconography then I believe there would not be an issue. If there there is indeed an issue this leads me to believe they may have dropped the ball with specifically writing and registering Mickey as part of the brand. Usually they would include him as an icon of the logo. So either they never made a point to write him in or there is no current issue with the brand being in jeopardy.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      It's only the animated short Steamboat Willie (and other shorts released in 1928) that is going into the public domain in 2024; later works featuring Mickey Mouse are still under copyright protection. So, while you will be able to make a derivative work using the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey in 2024 without infringing Disney's copyright, you wouldn't be able to legally make a derivative work of, say, Fantasia's Mickey or The Brave Little Tailor's Mickey.

                                      As for trademark, The Walt Disney Company already has 20 "Mickey Mouse" trademarks registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. These trademarks will last for as long as Disney continues to use their trademark in commerce and to defend their trademark legally against infringers (which is why it was compelled to take legal action against a commercial preschool that had painted Disney characters on its walls). Making a Mickey Mouse attraction has negligible impact on the standing of their trademark.
                                      Last edited by David Mullich; 07-14-2020, 05:54 PM.

                                      Comment

                                      Get Away Today Footer

                                      Collapse
                                      Working...
                                      X