Friday, December 10, 2004

Disney vs. Comix

Great article up on Reason about Disnay's case against a couple dirty hippy comic artists back in the seventies. A couple choice chunks:

After losing a copyright case to Disney in court for depicting Mickey Mouse in a number of sexual situations, Cartoonist Dan O'Neill decided to do it again:

“Doing something stupid once is just plain stupid,” says O’Neill. “Doing something stupid twice is a philosophy. When you’re down $190,000 in a poker game, you have to raise.” The next step was obvious: Commit a new crime. If O’Neill defied the injunction, Disney’s only recourse would be to have him held in contempt of court. “And then they have to put you in jail,” he says. “For drawing a mouse? In the land of the free? No way.”

After Disney sued him again...

The June 28 San Francisco Chronicle reported that a settlement seemed likely. The terms were rumored to include no admission of guilt by, and no jail time for, O’Neill, though the damage award would remain in place. O’Neill’s recollection of the final proceeding is positive. “It was great,” he says. “The judge told ’em, ‘I’m not gonna welcome this case into my court. If you bring him in on criminal contempt, he will bring up the First Amendment…I will not end my legal career as a judge that weakened the First Amendment.…Now you knocked him down once, and he got up and hit you back. You knocked him down twice, and he got up and hit you back. You knocked him down three times, and he got up and hit you back. By now, you should have figured out he’s Irish.’”

Laveroni remembers no such admonition. Keker says, “It’s what Judge Wollenberg should have said. I have no recollection, so I can’t deny it was said. There are some facts too good to check.”



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