Copyright, the Statute of Anne and Rodents

Journalista! points out an interesting OC Weekly story on Dan O’Neill’s Air Pirates, the infamous parody of Disney’s cartoon characters that was squashed by copyright law.

Disney’s case hinged on the fact that O’Neill’s drawings closely resembled the real thing; that, of course, is an important aspect of parody. But Disney argued that such accurate representations might confuse America. It’s difficult to take seriously Disney’s argument that Air Pirates, an unknown, underground, small-circulation publication, could ever be confused with or compete economically with the real deal no matter how exact the rendering. Perhaps this is why Disney’s counsel peppered the complaint with references to Air Pirates as “perverted,” “offensive,” “degrading” and “defamatory” (they forgot “schismatical”), as if parody should somehow strive for wholesomeness.

Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.