Poetic Cartoon Justice

Disney, who have led the way as copyright bullies, lobbied for copyright extensions, taken public domain stories for their fodder but tried to deny that ability to anyone else, are now getting a taste of their own medicine. The descendants of the guy who wrote “Wimoweh” are suing Disney for unauthorized use of the song in the movie and stage show of The Lion King. I think this is kind of silly, but on the other hand if it is going to happen to someone, there is an irony in Disney getting what they give. What goes around comes around, you know.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.

2 thoughts on “Poetic Cartoon Justice”

  1. That particular song has a very nasty history in the annals of American Copyright law, basically the guy who wrote it never saw a penny, his children had to live in shantytown poverty in South Africa. This is not silly.

  2. Bryan, I disagree. Any suit filed by the descendants of a creator over a work that was created 50, 75 , 100 years ago is outside of the reasonable purview of what copyright was created to solve. Copyright is there to encourage creativity by making sure that people don’t get screwed out of their rights immediately, and get to exploit it commercially. Once the creator is dead, that’s the end of that game. You can’t encourage the deceased to create more works.

    That Solomon Linda was screwed out of money he rightfully deserved in his lifetime does not alter the fundamental moral equation. Even with him getting royally shafted, that doesn’t justify this suit. I don’t think descendant suits ever make much sense after this long a time, and the sad history doesn’t change that. Now, if they wanted to sue the record companies for the back royalties that they owed but never paid, that would be a different matter.

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