Senator Josh Hawley has introduced legislation that would strip Disney of it's special long-term copyright protections that had been granted to the entertainment giant by Congress after the company took a stance against Florida's Parental Rights in Education bill.
According to Fox News, the "Copyright Clause Restoration Act of 2022" would cap copyrights granted to corporations by Congress to 56 years, and would retroactively implement this change on corporations, which would include Disney.
Hawley told Fox that "woke corporations" like Disney had raked in billions of dollars due to these special copyright protections.
"The age of Republican handouts to Big Business is over. Thanks to special copyright protections from Congress, woke corporations like Disney have earned billions while increasingly pandering to woke activists. It's time to take away Disney's special privileges and open up a new era of creativity and innovation," Hawley said.
Hawley's office said that Congress had used the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act," which amended the Copyright Act of 1976 in 1998, to extend copyrights for corporations up to 120 years.
The act, officially called the "Copyright Term Extension Act," increased the duration of copyrights by 20 years.
Hawley's action comes as Disney continued to be at odds with the state of Florida, after the company condemned the state's Parental Rights in Education Act.
Opponents of the bill, including Disney, have said that the legislation protecting children from gender identity indoctrination would harm LGBTQ youth.
The bill states: "classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
Following Disney’s stance against the legislation, and a statement saying that the company would fight back against it, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will dissolve Walt Disney World’s special self governing status within the state.
According to Fox News, around 2 dozen Republican lawmakers said that they would be opposing renewing the company's copyright on Mickey Mouse in a. Letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek last month.
That copyright is set to expire in 2024, and is arguably Disney's most famous and recognizable character.
The lawmakers noted in their letter that "the Constitution gives Congress the authority to determine the length of time to protect copyrights. Further, it explicitly states that copyrights may not be permanent. Yet Disney's long history of lobbying on this issue suggests that is its goal."