The New York Times runs a creative piece on Disney’s aging mascot, Building a Better Mouse. As its writer tells Mickey’s history, the Times has eight artists update the mouse’s image for 2004: supermouse, hipster, and aging smoker among them. The article mentions the Sonny Bono copyright extension that keeps Mickey locked up beyond his 75th birthday, but doesn’t discuss the copyright status of the illustrations — fair use transformations or infringing/licensed derivatives? I’d go with the fair use, but would an independent artist or publisher without the backing of NYT-legal have similar confidence?
April 18, 2004