Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, introduced a bill Tuesday to prevent new special copyright protections that would benefit Disney.
In a statement on his website, Hawley explained that his intention is to limit any new copyright protection to a maximum of 56 years, which would be retroactive for massive corporations like Disney that have been “unnecessarily” granted longstanding copyright monopolies.
The main point of what would be called the Copyright Clause Restoration Act reduces the term of new copyrights granted to 56 years and the measure will be retroactive for major entertainment companies.
As a result, under the legislation, Disney would begin to lose protections on some of its oldest and most valuable copyrights, Hawley said.
Congress passed legislation in 1998 that extended copyright protections for corporations by granting them ownership rights for 95 years from the original publication or 120 from product creation.
Disney lobbied for that rule, which was actually dubbed the Mickey Mouse Protection Act.
The Copyright Clause Restoration Bill advocates limiting those rights to 28 years, counting from the date they are granted, allowing for a single extension of 28 more years.
Disney acquired the rights to iconic characters worldwide, such as those from the Marvel universe, Star Wars, and the 21st Century Fox label.