The Disney Corporation has filed suit against Iron Age “pirates” for what it termed “anticipatory copyright violation” in the case of the recently-discovered Mickey Mouse brooch ornament, as reported on the Discovery News website.
“The claim that the perpetrator cannot be held liable because Disney had not yet copyrighted Mickey Mouse misunderstands the nature of intellectual property. If Disney had not refined and rendered more humorous the two-round-ears visage, then Iron Age forger wouldn’t have had Mickey Mouse to serve as the evolutionary goal of his craft.”
When confronted with archaeologists’ claim that the brooch does not represent a cartoon mouse, but a lion, Disney executives responded, “If it’s supposed to be a lion, why does it look so much more like Mickey? The comparison to a lion only strengthens our case, because proves that the unidentified copyright violator had no natural-life model for his work. Instead, he carved a crude facsimile of the universally beloved fantasy figure whose image Disney owns in perpetuity.”
The lawsuit asks damages based on fines in contemporary currency, deflated to Iron Ages rates, then subject to compound interest for 1100 years. If the government of Sweden does not turn over the perpetrator — or his legal heirs — Disney will hold the entire nation liable.
When asked what Disney would do if the lawsuit fails, counsel indicated that Disney would appeal to the United Nations to pass the quickly-drafted “Cher Copyright Pre-extension Act,” which stretches copyright backward in time for 1100 years or the lifetime of Cher (whichever is longer).
[Hat tip to Boing Boing for the background story]