The impact of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) proactive leadership is resonating with voters, and at least one fellow Republican is taking note and following suit declaring the age of “handouts to Big Business is over.”
On Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced legislation that would not only level the playing field but send a resounding message to woke corporations to tread lightly if they wish to meddle in public affairs. The “Copyright Clause Restoration Act of 2022” would not only cap corporate copyrights at 56 years, it would retroactively implement those changes on the most dominant entertainment entities, dramatically impacting the Walt Disney Company.
“The age of Republican handouts to Big Business is over,” Hawley declared in his statement on the bill. “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.”
There’s no reason @disney or any other woke corporation should keep getting special favors from government. End the handouts now
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 10, 2022
The proposed legislation, while seemingly dramatic for the sheltered Disney Company, actually sought a middle ground in limiting copyright protections. Dubbed “The Mickey Mouse Protection Act”, the existing “Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998” was introduced by Rep. Sonny Bono (R-CA) during his second term in Congress.
Upon its passage, it extended “the duration of copyright in anonymous or pseudonymous works or works made for hire on or after such date to 95 (currently, 75) years from the year of the first publication, or 120 (currently, 100) years from the year of creation, whichever expires first.”
Hawley could have sought to return the protections to the original maximum of 28 years, but made a compromise in his proposal that aims to “crack down on copyright monopolies to ensure they only last long enough to encourage innovation.”
There is no way of knowing how Disney would respond to such legislation if it were to somehow pass, arguably a possibility under normal circumstances considering Democrats supposed disdain for big business, but it would undoubtedly send a message akin to DeSantis’ revocation of their special tax privileges in Florida.
The 1967 provision for the Reedy Creek Improvement District, enacted by then-Florida Gov. Claude Kirk Jr., essentially allowed Disney to operate as its own government within the state of Florida. During a special legislative session in April, those privileges were revoked following the company’s public opposition to the Parental Rights in Education bill that was later passed.
“They were self-governing, that had extraordinary powers,” DeSantis said at the time, “they could build nuclear power plants, they didn’t have to go through permitting processes, obviously a lot of tax benefits and so that’s just inappropriate and it’s certainly inappropriate when…they pledge themselves to mobilize their considerable corporate resources out of the coffers of this Burbank, California-based corporation to overturn the rights of parents in the state of Florida, to effectively commandeer our democratic process.”
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