Mickey Mouse may lose copyright renewal over Disney’s opposition to Florida bill

The Walt Disney Company continues to reap the whirlwind of its woke decisions to capitulate to the radical left.

With the recent exposure of the company’s agenda in indoctrinating children and its vocal stand with the LGBTQ community against Florida’s education bill, Disney may have taken it one step too far and is now on the receiving end of backlash that could threaten its bottom line.

Now the fallout could affect the rights to what is considered the debut of the iconic Mickey Mouse in the Steamboat Willie character. The black and white animated short by Walt Disney himself has been protected by copyright that is set to expire on Jan. 1, 2024. And the company which has veered so far away from its founder’s vision for wholesome family entertainment may, for the first time, lose that copyright over its political posturing.

In a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, U.S. Rep. Jim Banks warned that he and other lawmakers feel that Steamboat Willie should now become public domain as they oppose “further extensions applicable” to the copyright which has successfully been extended twice.

Disney’s opposition to the Parental Rights in Education law in Florida is essentially giving in to “far-left activists through hypocritical, woke corporate actions,” according to Banks who also noted the company’s “kowtowing” to the People’s Republic of China in the letter, according to National Review.

“Given Disney’s continued work with a Communist Chinese regime that does not respect human rights or U.S. intellectual property and given your desire to influence young children with sexual material inappropriate for their age, I will not support further extensions applicable to your copyrights, which should become public domain,” Banks wrote in his letter.

“It’s unfortunate that Disney, once an American success story, has allied with a hostile foreign regime and domestic ideologues who seek to tear our country apart,” wrote the Indiana Republican who chairs the Republican Study Committee.

Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) is also supportive of the idea and told National Review that “Disney used to be an inspiration for all American families, but it seems to now have given in to the woke mob.”

“It’s hard to believe that anyone would have considered extending the already lengthy term, but there’s no way they will get the ear of any Republicans after their radical political activism,” added Jordan, who is the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

“America’s strong copyright protections helped make America great — they gave our creators and distributors the right incentives to produce content that shows the world the importance of freedom. But Congress should not add to Disney’s 90+ years of federal copyright protection to incentivize its new far left agenda,” he said.

It also seems the company may not be getting any support in the matter from Florida Senator Marco Rubio who noted that “Disney is in uncharted waters because of the radical activism of its corporate leadership.”

“It’s not clear how this whole thing plays for them, but they have made themselves the face of efforts to indoctrinate 5-year-old children on gender identity,” the GOP lawmaker said in a statement to National Review.

According to the outlet:

The expiration of Disney’s copyright on the Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse would have immediate, practical consequences. Others would be able to use it for whatever purpose they like, including profit, without receiving or paying for permission from Disney. The company will, however, retain the exclusive rights to subsequent depictions of the character, lessening the financial blow in the present.

More weighty are the longer-term implications. If Disney doesn’t secure an extension now, all of the rest of its material will come under the same threat as the first Mickey, and it’s its proprietary material that makes Disney stand head-and-shoulders above its competitors.


Disney’s copyright on the landmark first iteration of Mickey Mouse was set to expire in 1984 and, with the push of its lobbyists, an extension was secured when then-President Gerald Ford signed the Copyright Act of 1976. Ahead of the 2003 expiration, once again a second extension was procured with the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 which was dubbed the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act.”

With Republicans poised to take over the majority in both chambers of Congress after November’s elections, they seem less likely to grant Disney any more favors moving ahead after the entertainment colossus has repeatedly made its left-wing agenda clear.

“We oppose any legislation that infringes on basic human rights, and stand in solidarity and support our LGBTQIA+ cast, crew, guests and fans who make their voices heard today and every day,” Disney had said in a statement against the Florida bill, prompting subsequent threats in the Sunshine State to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District which essentially gives the company self-governing freedom in the central Florida location.

“Disney’s profits will give the woke left more control over our kids and conservatives in Congress should oppose any legislation that would unfairly advantage Disney,” Banks told National Review. “What’s good for Disney is bad for American children.”


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Frieda Powers


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