Copyright, even on Mickey Mouse

Back in history, an outstanding character, story or song was passed from its original creators into the public sphere. Notably, Shakespeare and Charles Dickens are dead, yet their creations were kept to be freely used by commoners. Then 15 years ago, Congress had approved a 20 year-old extension of copyright in States which made their compositions restricted towards those who wants to reuse them without permission. That being the case, the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act was also referred to as Mickey Mouse Copyright Extension. The Walt Disney’s idealistic way of keeping the iconic Mickey Mouse tied to them for as long as they could. The original copyright system during the earliest times were only up to a maximum of 28 years. During the mid 20’s, Congress had doubled the maximum stance up to 56 years instead. And later in 1976, alternatively extending the protection system for a lifetime plus an additional 50 years. Likewise, copyrights to Hollywood success stories were extended to 75 years.

Generalising copyright, we know how it is a form of protection provided by the laws of  United States. This protection allows both, published and unpublished work, to be tied rightfully to their respective authors. Basically providing the owner exclusive authority to claim and make of what he wants it to be. In fact, it is considered illegal if anyone tries to breach the terms of copyright given to the owner. They would be punished, probably even sentenced to a jail period if the damage caused was significant. Yet in some cases, there are forms of a ‘compulsory license’ under which the creator uses a certain limit of copyrighted conditions, which entitles them to specified royalties and other legal requirements. And as for copyright claims, there are two general principles involved. Firstly, the law states how the transfer of ownership of any material, from a protected source, can not convey itself to any authorities in the copyright. Solely owning a book, painting or any other copy does not give the possessor the rights. Secondly would be, how minors may claim for a copyright themselves. For this scenario, the state law would  supervise the dealings between both parties. And these are the few general insights on copyrights for people.

Regarding this, Chatroulette’s owner, Andrey Ternovsky, was interviewed in 2010. According to the reference below, he states how he does not want to sell his company to other investors, as he would rather develop it himself. By means, Chatroulette’s copyright belonging only to him.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you have investors knocking at your door?

Ternovsky: I have received 200 e-mails from venture capital firms in the Silicon Valley alone. Skype has invited me to come to the United States. And Google has also contacted me.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Will you sell?

Ternovsky: No, the site will always be mine. I will continue to develop Chatroulette myself. But I could imagine some sort of scheme involving shares in the company.


Will Disney’s Copyright on Mickey Mouse Ever Expire? 2013, The Disney Blog, viewed 7 April 2014
17-Year-Old Chatroulette Founder: ‘Mom, Dad, the Site Is Expanding’ 2010, Spiegel Online, viewed 7 April 2014

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