We'll probably never "Free Mickey"

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I’m fine with Mickey being protected by trademark. He’s a stupid character. And Steamboat Willy was a cruel animal abuser.

I just want access to all the other public domain works that the Mickey Mouse Clubs’ lawyers are hold us back from, including the orphan works that are of no use to anyone else.

More than that, I want the assurance that comes with knowing that anything published before X date is in the public domain so that I don’t have to google and search and research about which movies or books might not have had their copyrights renewed back in the day or maybe weren’t published with proper copyright notices to begin with. It shouldn’t take hiring a lawyer and a research librarian to determine if a work is in the public domain or not.


The problem with fair use is that you can’t use it to protect yourself until you’re sued.


Oh, so agreed!
As somebody who has actually done rights research like this because I wanted to screen some old movies, I can assure you it can be a rabbit hole.

I’m going to have to be super cynical though and suggest that it may never happen until there’s an international law/governing body dictating this though. After dealing with the inner oddities of trying to arrange a showing of the US made “Reefer Madness” in Canada, I learned that even these two geographically and culturally similar countries can have some very weird differences in copyright law about this movie on an odd technicality. It’s just dumb.

Now, if they would just stop being fascist jerks when they propose these global copyright agreements, maybe we could get meaningful copyright law done…

HAHA… oh god, I kill me.


Am I the only one who gets an error “You are not authorized to access this page.” when attempting to follow the link the the EFF blog?


I got the same message.

I just got it and was wondering if it was some ironic statement.


Another problem with Fair Use is that a lot of people don’t understand what it means when they say it. Unless they are or have a lawyer.

In Canada, it’s also called Fair Dealing not Fair Use. So when I hear about Canadians talking about Fair Use rather than Fair Dealing, I know they are parroting something they don’t understand. It has differences from Fair Use, I am repeatedly assured, but not being a lawyer, I too am hard pressed to easily tell you exactly the subtleties of difference other than parody. So, I can’t claim to be better either…


Doesn’t matter anyway. All the popular publishing platforms will screw you whether you have a fair use claim or not.

I know of Let’s Players who in their own videos will start humming something and suddenly painc “OH SHIT. COPYRIGHT! I HOPE THAT WAS LESS THAN (however many seconds they’ve heard they can get away with for fair use. Usually 10 or 30 seconds.’)”

For these content creators to know that copyright law will completely fuck them over, yet they depend on fair use while also not actually knowing how it works is a testament to the corporate nature of copyright law.

The creators of our current copyright system got exactly the laws they wanted passed, and they couldn’t care less whether a human citizen is treated fairly with regard to copyright. As long as they get to make money off of other people’s work forever.


I am far from being an intellectual property lawyer - or any kind of lawyer, but the last time I dug into this issue I came away with the impression that Fair Use was a legal defense and not a license, precedent be damned.

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I would love to see a Global Free Mickey day, in which creators all over the world agreed simultaneously to flood the Internet with new Mickey-related works. Art, animation, music, anything. MouseCorp could stomp a few hundred individuals, even a few thousand. But imagine if hundreds of thousands or millions of people acted together. It’d be Mousetastic.


People can more or less do that now - just not for profit. They generally can’t stop you from drawing or doing art work. They can stop you from making prints or selling copies of it if there is a trade marked character. Although I have seen a lot of art prints what get sold with trade marked characters and aren’t official releases.

I am not sure why Disney fight so hard for old stuff that no one really wants to even watch any more. I guess I can see Snow White, but I think after so many years, they have made enough money off that one work. They can still sell new merchandise etc, but the movie should move to public domain. And of course if Disney put out a DVD with new features etc, that can be marketed and sold as better quality.

Like the Fleischer Superman cartoons I believe are all public domain, as you find them in the dollar bin, though their quality is often lacking. Superman as a character is still trademarked though.

Keep your rat. Give us back all of the fairy tales and other work that you stole from the public domain and decided was your own.


Nothing stops you from making movies or other media based on classic fairy tales.


I got the same and was wondering if it was because I am not in the Land of the Free.

Someone has an axe to grind?


Fair Useless is what it should be called. For all intents and purposes, people don’t have the money to pay for a protracted legal battle over their YouTube video.


I’m in the US and getting the same thing.

Why does the US need so many different copyright laws anyhow?

Death of creator + 70 years would be fine. 2036 assuming Disney was sole creator, maybe a little longer if there was an artist or sound guy or suchlike who survived him.

I want to make a Mickey Mouse statue where Mickey is dressed in a white robe with golden rays coming from the back of his head, the statue holding a bow and arrow. This I would place in a temple of the finest Parian marble and claim it as a temple of Apollo Smintheus, mostly just to see how much fair use / religious freedom can be stretched in this country.

Would I have to pay royalties on donations?