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Satan Shoes Maker Sells Bootleg ‘Famous Mouse’ To Diss Disney’s Copyright Expiry
By Mikelle Leow, 24 Aug 2021
Image via MSCHF
Notorious for pushing extremes of intellectual property rights, New York art and internet stunt collective MSCHF is skipping over to the happiest place on Earth and targeting the world’s most recognizable cartoon mouse.
On Public Domain Day (January 1) in 2024, Disney’s copyright to Mickey Mouse will end. MSCHF—which previously tore up Hermès Birkin bags to make ‘Birkinstocks’, pirated streaming platforms, and, most notoriously, remixed Nike sneakers to create ‘Satan Shoes’—is thus accepting preorders for similar ‘Famous Mouse’ sculptures.
To observe copyright law, though, owners of the art will only be able to redeem it when the Mickey Mouse copyright expires in two and a half years. The collectibles are purchasable in advance via US$100 tokens on the new MSCHF x “Famous Mouse” website, where the phrase “Not affiliated with ‘Disney’ in any way,” can be found cheekily planted throughout. The sculptures are also described to be produced by a “Famous Animation Co.”
For now, visitors will only be able to view a mocked-up silhouette of the unauthorized (but probably alright, with time) character. The sculpture is envisioned to be constructed with vinyl and stand five inches tall, though MSCHF chief creative officer Kevin Wiesner informs Artnet News this design might change at any time, since “it would violate Disney’s copyright for us to have ‘begun production’ at this point in time.”
Image via MSCHF
Wiesner adds that Disney would be the “perfect target for this kind of copyright-loophole shenanigans,” given its history of slapping lawsuits onto the faces of smaller businesses. Plus, Mickey Mouse—one of the company’s most prominent symbols—happens to be the first Disney character scheduled to enter the public domain.
He cites Disney’s lobbyists role in the implementation of the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act—otherwise known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act—which resulted in prolonged copyright protection for a batch of material in the US, including the Steamboat Willie variation of Mickey Mouse. “Disney is a true multinational behemoth, able to change national laws to suit the interests of a cartoon mouse,” notes MSCHF on the website. “Fair use is a sick joke when one side is a rabidly litigious US$120+ billion corporation.”
While the collective was also involved in a lawsuit with Nike over the infamous ‘Satan Shoes’, MSCHF still has a positive impression of the brand. “We’re very grateful that they taught us about how big companies really operate and now we follow the law always,” Wiesner told Artnet News.
However, it doesn’t seem to hold Disney in the same regard. Early this year, it rolled out ‘Walt’s Kitchen’, a website of recipes with slaughtered characters as ingredients.
Owners of the ‘Famous Mouse’ tokens will also be given a unique digital code in order to redeem their sculptures in 2024.
DROP 53: MSCHF X FAMOUS MOUSE https://t.co/9zZo3ImeNm— MSCHF (@mschf) August 23, 2021
[via Artnet News, images via MSCHF]
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