Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mickey Mouse Politics

                                  Korea Central News Agency via Reuters
Will Disney fare any better with the North Koreans then Yukia Amana and the IAEA or or even the U.S. Government? After the failure of their most recent rocket, they launched a series of Disney characters on Pyongyang television. Obviously the Disney Company owns the copyright to these creations, but the question is, how versed is the current regime in intellectual property law?  In a piece entitled “On North Korean TV, a Dash of (Unapproved) Disney Magic” (NYT, 7/9/12), The Times reported that “North Korean state-run television on Monday showed footage of costumed versions of Tigger, Minnie Mouse and other Disney characters prancing in front of the leader, Kim Jong-un, and an entourage of clapping generals. The footage also showed Mr. Kim in a black Mao suit watching as Mickey Mouse conducted a group of young women playing violins in skimpy black dresses.” If Disney does file suit against the North Koreans for copyright infringement, the question is, what tact will lawyers for the youthful leader Kim Jong-un take? Will the North’s legal team argue that the use of the characters and scenes from movies like Dumbo and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was an example of the kind of appropriation practiced by graphic artists like Shepard Fairey? Will the Disney citations be considered “fair use” under copyright law or part of a mise-en-scene that was justified as an admiring critique of American society? North Korean politics works in furtive ways and the whole Disney affair may go back to an earlier diplomatic incident involving Disney. As the Times piece pointed out Kim Jong-un has an older half brother Kim Jong-nam who got into big trouble with the folks back home when he tried to sneak into Tokyo’s Disney World on a Dominican passport.


  1. Oh, this is going to be good! And Disney will collect on this how....?

    1. by threatening Un as well as Nam with being 86’d at Tokyo Disney


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