William Patry, an American lawyer specializing in Copyright Law, raises a serious question regarding copyright law. Has it become outdated in current society? The original reason behind copyright law was that the public could benefit greatly from individual creative works, but issues such as fraud and regulation prevented any incentive to create new works. Does current Copyright Law still hold true to these original goals and ideals that were associated with its birth?
If you search ‘Disney Copyright’ and plug it into Google, the second result below the disclaimer of the Walt Disney Company stating that it owns all it’s intellectual property is a Wikipedia article of the Copyright Term Extension Act, or the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. Essentially it states that all copyright would last 70 years after the author’s death or 120 years after publication. With Disney at the forefront of lobbying significant for this Act, due to its significance with prolonging the copyright of Mickey Mouse, is this really fair?
While it does sound unfair to undo all of Disney’s work using and developing the Mickey Mouse franchise by simply allowing it into the public domain for anyone and everyone’s use, this meme reiterates on the fact that it could be argued that the original goals of Copyright Act was to create new things. Creative people would think of creative ideas and be funded by companies, and older ideas would be given to the public to mix, match and create without having to be worried about copyright and licensing.
Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to believe that Disney, a company which makes money off rehashing fairy tales within public domain such as Snow White and Cinderella, would lobby viciously against the creation of new ideas in favor of profit? Especially for a company that so blatantly ripped off other copyrighted works with total disregard for intellectual property?
So is Copyright Law still protecting artists and their creations, or is it really protecting corporate profit?