Today, in “the all-consuming black hole calling the kettle black” news, Disney—a company that will sue you if you take a crap that looks a little too much like Donald Duck—is decrying overzealous copyright protection on the part of another entity. Specifically, the company is arguing that the estate of Michael Jackson is being unreasonable in its efforts to sue Disney over its use of Jackson’s music, as well as footage from numerous concert films and music videos, in an ABC documentary, The Last Days Of Michael Jackson.
Disney’s claiming that all of the many instance of estate material in the film falls under fair use—something the estate’s legal team disputes heavily—but we have to give credit to the estate’s lawyers for offering a counter-argument that largely shakes out to “You know ya’ll are Disney, right?” The legal complaint highlights a number of times in which the company has been way less chill on the “live and let live” approach to intellectual property, suing daycare centers for featuring pictures of Mickey Mouse, cease-and-desisting kids for posting social media pictures of Star Wars toys, and coming down like the angry wrath of god on independent costumed performers who look a little too fucking Goofy.
“Disney’s media business depends on its intellectual property and, more specifically, the copyrights it holds in its well-known characters, motion pictures, music, and the like. Disney has never been shy about protecting its intellectual property. Indeed, its zeal to protect its own intellectual property from infringements, real or imagined, often knows no bounds.”
Nevertheless, the House Of Mouse refused to be cowed; its own rebuttal leaned hard on a free speech angle, defending the fine art of the documentary from “overzealous copyright holders” who supposedly seek to destroy it.