Has Mickey Mouse become unhinged?
At 86 yrs old the playful rodent is getting grumpy and downright petty in his old age. Disney (DIS) is trying to sue Deadmau5 for using a logo that they feel may confuse us as a consumer. The company is stating that the logo used by Deadmau5 is almost identical to their logo of Mickey’s Ears.
Deadmau5 is a Canadian DJ, Producer who has built a huge following in the EDM world with his catchy sequences, melodies and drum loops. On stage he wears a Mouse Helmet that is his own copyrighted logo. He has been vocal about many topic in past and does not shy away from controversy, including outing many high profile DJs for using playbacks at their shows, stating that the production is done in the studio and “live” shows are mainly pre-programmed.
As Deadmau5 real name Joel Zimmerman tweeted:
Disney has apparently also according to Deadmau5 been using his music in various promotional videos without his express permission.
Disney must now try to defend itself against this lawsuit and may pay for trying to be the big Mouse on the block. Its seems that Disney takes a different approach to artists copyright and intellectual works on their end.
Can we really as consumers be that stupid? To look at the Deadma5 logo and think that it's Mickey Mouse? I agree that there is a similarity, but I see no violations on behalf of the DJ / Producer himself.
This problems exists in the Corporate world due to over zealous corporate lawyers. Many Companies like Disney have so many subsidiaries and so many entities that it’s hard for someone to know who they should or shouldn’t sue.
Disney owns ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel and Lucas Films and many more with a franchise department that keep pumping out new characters, DVDs, and lunchboxes for generations to come.
Other Corporate Suits
Apple Corps versus Apple Computer (AAPL)
Apple Computers (AAPL) and Apple Corps the record label for The Beatles were in and out of court since 1978 with various legal issues that arouse from logos, trademarks and music technology. In 2007 they finally compromised on all their issues and Apple Inc. won giving Apple Corps. Apple Inc. will own all of the trademarks related to "Apple" and will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corps for their continued use. The final settlement between the companies remains confidential but reports that Apple Corp were paid $500 Million were printed.
The Beatles catalogue is on the Apple I-tunes store for purchase which further shows that an amicable settlement has been reached with Steve Jobs referring to the Beatles song many times through out his key note addresses.
Bank Of America vs Bank of America (BOA)
Bank of America (BOA) actually sued itself many times with foreclosures and liens to property. This is a major snafu for the Bank that must hire lawyers to both defect and prosecute itself in a foreclosure settlement. Wells Fargo (WFC) and Chase (JPM) face similar problems as the fiscal meltdown continues.