U.S. Senator Introduces Bill Attacking “Woke” Disney’s Copyright Protections

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Credit: Disney

Last week, we reported on U.S. Senator Josh Hawley’s announcement that he would introduce legislation to revoke Disney’s copyright protections under federal law. At that time, Senator Hawley didn’t announce which protections he was referring to or any specifics about his bill.

This morning, Senator Hawley released the bill’s details exclusively to Fox News. This legislation is the latest of many retaliatory attacks on the Walt Disney Company following their public condemnation of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

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Credit: Disney

In April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis introduced and successfully passed legislation dissolving Walt Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, which has allowed Disney to operate private municipal services since 1967. Last week, Republican United States Representative from Texas Troy Nehls announced a bill to revoke the “No-Fly Zone” over Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.

Today, Senator Hawley revealed the “Copyright Clause Restoration Act of 2022.” According to Fox News, this bill would cap copyright protections for corporations at 56 years. Notably, the bill would be implemented retroactively, meaning the Walt Disney Company’s copyrights lasting longer than 56 years would no longer be protected.

Senator Hawley Tweeted the news this morning, writing:

No more handouts for woke corporations. Today I’m introducing legislation to strip ⁦@Disney of its⁩ special copyright protections

In an exclusive statement to Fox News, Hawley said:

“The age of Republican handouts to Big Business is over. Thanks to special copyright protections from Congress, woke corporations like Disney have earned billions while increasingly pandering to woke activists. It’s time to take away Disney’s special privileges and open up a new era of creativity and innovation.” 

Mickey Mouse
Credit: Disney

Hawley’s office hasn’t posted an official press release, but he continues to speak out against the Walt Disney Company on Twitter today. He writes:

There’s no reason @disney or any other woke corporation should keep getting special favors from government. End the handouts now

It’s unclear whether Senator Hawley’s bill would pass through Congress. The Walt Disney Company is famous for lobbying in favor of more extensive copyright laws to keep their Intellectual Properties out of the public domain. In fact, The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which extended corporate copyright protections from 75 years to 95 years, is colloquially known as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act.” The law’s terms keep the Walt Disney Company’s Mickey Mouse out of the public domain until at least 2024.

Mickey Mouse at Disneyland Paris
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney in Danger of Losing Copyright Protection For Many Beloved Characters

In an interview with One America News Network, a controversial network favored by Former President Donald Trump, last week, Senator Hawley further explained his reasoning for the legislation, saying:

“Disney got a special deal almost 20 years ago now. Their copyrights under the normal terms of our copyright laws were about to expire on some of their Mickey Mouse properties in particular… and they came and lobbied Congress for some special Mickey Mouse carve-outs and extensions, which they got. So I think it’s time to ask ourselves, should we really be giving these mega-corporations that, frankly, have been so hostile to so many Americans, to so many voters, to so many states, and to our basic values, and have in many cases been very willing to ship jobs overseas, should we be giving them special treatment?” 

If passed, this bill would have to be signed by President Joe Biden. The White House has not commented on Senator Josh Hawley’s proposed copyright legislation.

Do you think our copyright laws are too strict? Should Disney’s Mickey Mouse be in the public domain? Let us know in the comments. 

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