“I think these copyright laws are really Goofy… I mean silly!” said Benson Honeydid.
Photo by Julia Wong
Following the recent introduction of the classic Disney short film Steamboat Willie into the public domain, the company has announced plans to copyright “all concepts that a living being could ever conceive of” by the end of 2024.
Disney CEO Bob Iger justified the controversial move in a recent interview, stating, “Walt Disney was a man of infinite imagination. So infinite that if there were two infinities, he could imagine both of them without even trying. If you think of an idea, he had it before you were even fucking born, kid. Tough luck. We’ve been playing nice for too long, and now it’s time to unleash the full intellectual property potential of the Big Mouse. That’s right, we’re copyrighting everything.”
Current copyright law states that a piece of intellectual property enters the public domain 70 years after the death of the copyright holder. Disney plans to register A’lavreø’parat, a sea sponge of the species Xestospongia muta — which has a typical lifespan of over 1,000 years — as the holder of all comprehensible ideas. According to a Disney representative, “Walt Disney thought of every possible concept, and he wrote them all down on a piece of paper that we ended up keeping in the basement of our corporate headquarters, just in case it would ever be useful. We should be able to teach it all to the sponge in a week or so, and then we’re good to go copyright it.”
While there is no clear legal consensus on whether a living being must have a brain in order to hold intellectual property, Iger reported that Disney has assembled a legal team (referred to by Iger as “the Avengers of legal battles”) with a budget of over $10 billion who are “prepared to spend A’lavreø’parat’s entire lifespan and beyond fighting off any resistance to our inevitable takeover of the very concept of concepts.” Recent social media leaks indicate that A’lavreø’parat is slated to star in a new series titled Sponge Bob Iger, set to be released on Disney+ in June 2026. A’lavreø’parat declined to comment.
Several individuals and groups have raised concerns about the possible ramifications of a private company like Disney copyrighting everything. Zealib Pyrecy, head of the nonprofit organization Internet Archive, said in an interview, “We’re already fighting off lawsuits left and right. Disney copyrighting everything won’t help with this at all. It’s one thing for them to copyright all books, movies, music, images, and 3D models. But, like, even my appearance, the US Constitution, and the beautiful yet somber notion of everlasting love are now owned by some goddamn sea sponge?”
Benson Honeydid of Fresno, California, shared his anger at the news. “Disney lawyers have been giving me dirty looks my whole life because of the peculiar resemblance my name has to that of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, beloved mad scientist Muppet. If they’re allowed to copyright everything, it’ll be over! I couldn’t wander around my neighborhood whistling anymore, since every single melody is gonna be copyrighted now! And I love whistling, man. Yesterday I got a letter that every one of my thoughts has to have a © somewhere in it. I can’t focus on anything now for fear of being subjected to whatever the hell they mean by ‘the full unbridled fury of Mickey.’ I was once a free spirit; now, I’m just a walking violation of intellectual property laws.”