Elon Musk appeared to lend his support to the Republican senator’s efforts to strip Walt Disney’s copyright from his iconic Mickey Mouse mascot.
Musk took to Twitter on Thursday and tweeted in response to a news story about a proposed law by US Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo) that would limit Disney’s copyright protection on Mickey Mouse to 56 years.
“Current copyright law in general goes far beyond protecting the original creator,” Musk tweeted on Thursday,
Musk then commented that an “overzealous” DMCA – the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – is “a plague on humanity.”
It was not immediately clear why Musk chose to weigh in on the controversy.
DMCA is a law passed by the US government in 1998. This provides great protection to creators of original content over the Internet from distributing their work without consent.
Critics of the DMCA say it restricts the free flow of information on the Internet by ordering intellectual property owners to remove material even in cases where there is no copyright infringement.
Hawley’s proposed law, the Copyright Clause Restoration Act, would retroactively apply Disney’s copyright to the original design of Mickey Mouse, first introduced nearly a century earlier in the 1928 release of the 8-minute-long animated film “Steamboat Willie”. had gone.
At the time “Steamboat Willie” was released, Disney’s copyright for Mickey Mouse was protected for 56 years.
When the copyright was about to expire in 1984, Disney lobbied the federal government to pass the Copyright Act of 1976, which extended the protection to 75 years.
In 1998, Disney again lobbied for its copyright extension, and the federal government obliged it to grant copyright ownership for 95 years.
The latest copyright reform is due to expire in 2024, and top GOP officials have said they will not support another extension of copyright protections.
Even though Mickey Mouse from “Steamboat Willie” enters the public domain, Disney still holds the copyright for other versions of the character, including the magician Mickey from the movie “Fantasia”.
“The era of Republican handouts to Big Business is over,” Hawley said in a statement. “Thanks to special copyright protections from Congress, awakened corporations like Disney have made billions, while activists are increasingly scurrying to wake up.”
“It’s time to take away Disney’s special privileges and open a new era of creativity and innovation.”
Hawley’s proposal comes just weeks after it was signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that would strip Disney of its autonomous, self-governing status over theme parks and resorts in and around Orlando.
DeSantis signed the law after Disney came out against parental rights in education legislation, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The law prohibits gender identity or sexual orientation education for children before they reach fourth grade.
Musk announced Friday that his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter is pending clarification about the presence of bots on the site.