The Hunting of the Snark

19/03/2011

Disney’s unique perspective

Filed under: Snarky — Jeremy Irish @ 10:42
Tags: , , ,

I wouldn’t be surprised to find a cute animated zebra head on my pillow after posting this, but I’m going to post it anyway.

Look around you and pick up any Disney product. Any DVD, book, licensed toy, key fob, poster, appliance, article of furniture etc. In much of the world, the nearest such object is probably within ten paces.

Now… Turn it around to look at the back, or the bottom, or open it up to look inside, wherever is the least visible—and squint very, very hard. You can always find a copyright notice. And it always looks like this:

© Disney

(Except smaller.)

There’s no date! I started noticing this trend a few years back, when all I wanted to do was find out when a particular movie had been made.

Time was, by neglecting to include a date—never mind refusing to do so—Disney would have been forfeiting their copyright in the US. My personal theory is that the Mouse is forever thumbing his round, black nose at the American system, in revenge for a massive copyright fail early in Walt’s career.

And as usual with Disney, there is the sense of a more sinister aspect lurking in the background, too. Copyright protection is supposed to be limited, particularly with regard to duration. The company is well-known for spearheading campaigns to extend the length of copyright, and it’s perfectly logical to expect them to keep trying that tactic indefinitely. Meanwhile, supposing they do not achieve perpetual ownership, how will you know if something is still protected or not if you don’t know when it was made?

Disney do not draw attention to this practice. They just do it.

(Actually, given viewing statistics, I would be surprised about the zebra head thing. Oh, well.)

The copyright symbol with added Mickey Mouse ears and infinity bowtie.

This superb image is in the public domain!

– The Snark

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