Thinking about Walt Disney's bench


How much is BB paid to advertise companies that produce their swag via SLAVE LABOR in China?

Nice sign - don’t sit on the bench. Wouldn’t want to risk anyone else getting inspired. It’s a fucking bench! It was made for sitting.


“INSPIRATION © 1955-2014”
Use limited by Intellectual Property Law.


I know! When I visited the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna I saw the commode of Empress Maria Theresa. Nobody was allowed to use that for its intended purpose either…


When I was in Romania, I saw the bed of (at the time, recently executed) dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, along with the rest of his furniture at one of his retreats.

The guide took great delight in letting people sit on his chairs, bounce up and down on his bed and use his private en-suite toilet.


It’s no use. Doctorow fights tirelessly against corporate cruelty and copyright abuse, except when Disney does it.


Cory (and BB) seem to be fairly critical of Disney, including on copyright abuse. I think it’s ok to talk about inspiration or story outside of that criticism.

Because of Mickey Mouse, copyright lasts, effectively, forever – for
sufficiently narrow definitions of “copyright” and sufficiently broad
definitions of “forever.”

You see, most English-language science fiction writers make most of
their money with US publications, and in the US, copyright shows no
sign of expiring.

Mickey Mouse. Copyright law was formulated as a limited monopoly
granted to a creator over his or her works for a finite period, as a
means of convincing creators to make more art and inventions. The idea
is that after a while, your work enters the public domain, which means
that anyone can reprint it, quote it, use the characters, whatever –
think of Mary Shelley, Poe, Twain, and so on.

Problem is, nothing since Mickey Mouse has entered the public domain.
The legal eagles at Disney have gone to US Congress every twenty years or
so and lobbied – successfully – for another twenty years tacked on to the duration of copyright.

– Cory Doctorow - (Excerpted from this letter:


The idealism that Disney sets forth and reality are at conflict.

I know their merchandise is vastly overpriced and imported.

But for entertainment value their parks top notch. A one day 100 dollar ticket gives you quality for up to 12 hours or more in the summer hours.
In an age when a ticket to a 90 min RUSH concert cost about the same; that’s a bargain.
And you’ll be hard pressed to find better customer service in any corporation of that size.


The idea was “festering”? Ew! How about “gestating”?
Btw, I notice that the people who complain the most about copyright are creators of content nobody wants to steal .

I think the points in Cory’s blog post are bigger than Disney. Yes, the Disney Corporation does some things that are wrong. Hopefully they’re trying to get better. They’ve also done some things that are right, and they’ve done some things that are pretty good object lessons, right or wrong. Hopefully we can keep perspective on the company, Cory, this blog post, etc.

I also am a pretty big believer in their theme park mastery. They take customer service to an amazing place, starting with the bag inspector at the front gate calling my daughter “princess” and including the “castmember” at the movie studio park who went and found me a beer (cold) when I tried to buy one at a stand that was sold out. I’m impressed.

We were at the Contemporary the SO was touring the gym area and brushed against a machine and got oil on his pants. I called housekeeping to get a rush service (Dinner reservations that night).
In less than 6 hours the pants where laundered and brought back to the room…with “No Charge”. I didn’t ask or even intone that any fault by Disney or expect or demand a freebee…They asked the nature of the stain. “oil from a weight machine in the gym”

One thing the Cast Members have is individual power to make front line choices. A kid drops their popcorn…a street-sweeper cast member has the power to get a new box of popcorn to give the kid.

As for as merchandise does…Disney also supports US artists and production of items. Like the items by Kevin Kidney.


Nothing in your link mentions slave labor.

It’s not exactly Disney’s fault that many places in Asia that make goods are shit holes. Alternative jobs such has prostitution or working on a farm aren’t 9-5 jobs with paid vacation and sick days either.

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What?! No mention of Tivoli Gardens as a major inspiration for Disney? That is almost as bad as telling Twitter’s founding story while omitting Noah Glass;)

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I’m told that amorous young Disneyland employees have been known to make use of the bed in Walt’s private apartment above the fire station on Main Street, so that must count for something.


Toward the end of WWII my father wrote a letter to Walt Disney suggesting that, since his characters were so popular, they would be a natural draw as an amusement park. Guess it wasn’t a great idea, because Walt never wrote back.

Joseph Byrd

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