*ickey *ouse = The Antichrist

When I was wee kit back west, dog's years ago, my littermates and I used to enjoy gambolling in the buffalo grass out back of the local drive-in movie thee-ay-ter. Especially of a warm Saturday evening when there was no full moon anyway. Through the barbed wire, we could see all sortsa interesting things up on the silver screen. I liked the 'toons best... some would say I still do...

So I note with more than passing interest that Montreal's Musée des Beaux Arts has joined France's Musées Nationaux to mount a new exhibition tracing the artistic sources of an icon of American pop culture who had a name very much like, ummmm, Dalt Wisney. For anybody with ADD issues, sorry, you can go sleep now. Here's where us coyotes veer off into semi-obscure paw sucking re: a point or two of copyright wierdness:

Good 'ol Unca Scroo... er, Dalt. The Musée's catalogue for this opus states that:

"the exhibition establishes for the first time a parallel between the original drawings of The *alt *isney Studio and the works of Western – and sometimes other – art that inspired them, from the Gothic Middle Ages to Surrealism. The art of Gustave Doré, Daumier, the German Romantic painters, Symbolists and English Pre-Raphaelites, as well as Early Flemish painters and Expressionist film, profoundly influenced the *isney Studios’ productions."
Inspired? Yesterday, local Petfinder arts maven Paul Gessell played a little journalistic peek-a-boo with this idea in the paper's Arts Sekshun, saying the exhibition curator calls Wisney 'essentially an image recycler'. Then he makes a passing reference to a 'human precursor of Photoshop'. Finally he quotes the museum catalogue stating baldly that Wisney 'plagiarized' any number of drawings for his 'toons.

Yup, Dalt swiped - liberally - from pretty much anyone & everyone. All public domain. Yet nobody seems to have stated the obvious, outrageous irony here: that not so long ago, Wisney Corp led the lobbying charge to extend American copyright protection by, oh, two decades. Didn't want its iconic rodent -- or any of its, ummm, intellectual property -- to enter the public domain. Ever. In fact, the current Wisney business model may be among the world's most rabid defenders of its 'own' recycled public-domain images, calling down the Legal Gods of Copyright on just about any piddley-ass infringer you can think of.

Why? Duh! Ka-chinnnggggg! Yet strangely, Wisney hates the idea of paying copyright to others that might wish to work similar scams.

This wholesale swiping, willy-nilly, from the public domain, then copyrighting the ass offa it offends my well-tuned sense of canine fairness. I rather think actual artists should be free to swipe iconography and play with it too, not just businesses with tonsabux for lobbyists & legal hounds.

And it all leads me toward the sad but inevitable conclusion that based on the evidence, perhaps the iconic rodent with the f(r)iendly smile and all his 'toon buddies have, in the hands of a buncha hellbound latter-day beancounters, been twisted into not just the Wicked Stepmother of Copyright, but the Antichrist.

It's no longer about the art, baby. If it ever was.
Image: David Goodger's Graphics, under a Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. For us coyotes, the ironies just keep pilin' up....


The Independent Observer said...

After doing a little Wikipedia research, I think we just may have found a new couple to blog about. Dalt Wisney will no doubt roll in his grave:

"The commercial success of Steamboat Willie helped introduce Mickey and Minnie into the audience. Twelve more films featuring Mickey were produced in 1929. But Minnie only co-starred in seven of them and was mentioned in an eighth.

The first of them was The Barn Dance, first released on March 14, 1929. Minnie stands at the center of attention as Mickey and Pete rival each other in order to win her favor. Both offer to pick her up for the dance but she chooses Pete's newly purchased automobile over Mickey's horse-cart. When the automobile breaks down she resorts to go with Mickey. The latter proves a clumsy dancing parter, repeatedly stepping on her feet, and so she turns to Pete again. She is surprised when Mickey asks for another dance and seems to be light on his feet. However she is disgusted when Pete points that his rival had placed a balloon in his shorts. She resumed dancing with Pete while Mickey is reduced to crying on the dance floor. Minnie proves to be rather demanding as a partner in a romantic relationship. Mickey obviously has yet to claim her as his girlfriend by this point."

coyote said...

Well, my optically-enhanced friend, Mr Wisney is reputed to be a cryogenically-frozen Daltsicle. He ain't even in a grave... I figure this gives us total carte blanche (or is that tabula rasa...?) to centrifuge him to our heart's content.

And excellent research. Minnie is obviously an archetypal high maintenance woman. And *ickey, while still The Antichrist, is also a major sap.

Harmony said...

Speaking of Christ, for his sake and ours, will you PLEASE, OH PLEASE, not revive the "high-maintenance" woman debate?

4th Dwarf said...

As the only character here who has actually had his persona appropriated and commodified by the Disney Corporation, you might think I'd weigh in on this topic, but I've nothing to add.

All this apocalyptic talk about intellectual property is over my head. I think we should get back to metablogging. Since Harmony says she doesn't want us to reopen the high maintenance women "debate" (I thought it was a settled issue) we'd best stop metablogging Aggie.

So let's talk about MommyBlogs and the things they're revealing about their children that their schoolmates will be finding on the internet.

[Aggie, I'm kidding, you're not high maintenance, you just have standards.]