In an ideal world, copyright reform would be driven by expertise, collaboration and careful consideration of the impact of new technologies.
In the world we’re in, it’s just as likely to be driven by a blowhard US senator who’s really, really cross that Disney wants to support the LGBTQ community.
“Thanks to special copyright protections from Congress, woke corporations like Disney have earned billions while increasingly pandering to woke activists,” said senator Josh Hawley as he introduced a ‘Copyright Clause Restoration Act’ bill to limit new copyright protections to 56 years, including retroactively stripping it for “the biggest entertainment companies, including Disney” who had been granted certain copyright protections for up to 120 years.
What Hawley (of fist-based Capitol-mob encouragement infamy) is cross about Disney’s public, if belated, opposition to a new law in Florida that restricts schools from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. As one of that state’s biggest employers, Disney’s opposition has enraged the right wing of the Republican party.
Now, of course, there’s an important discussion to be had about copyright terms and how copyright legislation evolves, but a quickly-introduced measure to punish one company as part of a culture war almost certainly isn’t it.
Music rightsholders will be watching the progress of Hawley’s bill carefully, even if they aren’t in the direct firing line – the retroactive aspects only apply to corporations with market caps of more than $150bn.