Opposing Copyright Extension

Commentary on Copyright Extension

Mouse Droppings

Excerpt from an Article by Bill McAllister in the Washington Post
October 15, 1998

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Copyright © 1998 The Washington Post.  I have concluded that the importance of these views to the ongoing public policy debate and the noncommercial nature of this web site justify the reprinting of this excerpt as a fair use under copyright law.  Please do not copy for any purpose other than a fair or otherwise noninfringing use without the permission of the Washington Post.  This piece is excerpted from a longer article by Washington Post Staff Writer Bill McAllister entitled "A Capital Way to Stop a Headache," October 15, 1998, p. A21. The longer article also discusses the recent adoption of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Mouse Droppings

                  There were more than the usual mouse tracks around Capitol Hill last
                  week after the House and Senate completed action on legislation extending
                  U.S. copyrights for another 20 years. But the Walt Disney Co. had made
                  certain that key members of the House and Senate especially knew about
                  the possible plight of Mickey, Pluto and Goofy.

                  Under existing copyright law, Mickey's copyright will expire in 2003,
                  Pluto's in 2006 and Goofy's in 2008, and that would end Disney's claim to
                  royalties on some of the most valuable assets in its movie vaults. So last
                  summer, Disney imported its chief executive, Michael D. Eisner, to pitch
                  Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and House Speaker Newt
                  Gingrich (R-Ga.) on extending the copyrights.

                  "We generally don't talk about our lobbying plans," said Disney spokesman
                  Thomas J. Deegan, but he acknowledged that Alan K. Ota, a
                  Congressional Quarterly reporter, had scored a coup when he spotted
                  Eisner at Lott's office June 9.

                  Hill staff members said that other Disney representatives, along with other
                  movie industry representatives, had made strong pleas for a 20-year
                  extension to all copyrights. And the Center for Responsive Politics noted
                  that a week after his meeting with Eisner, Lott agreed to co-sponsor the
                  copyright extension legislation. That same day, Disney's political action
                  committee made a $1,000 contribution to Lott's campaign committee,
                  CPR added, and on June 25, Disney gave $20,000 to the National
                  Republican Senatorial Committee.

                  It's doubtful, however, that any lawmakers will be taping "I'm Going to
                  Disney World" TV spots as they depart Washington this week.