Disney Halts LGBT Theatre Production
Apart from the well known vexations of Stephen Joyce regarding his grandfather’s literary estate, it’s not often that Ireland sees juicy copyright action. Today’s Irish Times however reports that a theatre production ‘loosely adapted’ from Disney’s 1992 movie “Sister Act” (Touchstone) has been forced to cancel after receiving threats from Disney’s solicitors in Dublin. The play was to be staged by a group of gay and lesbian students in Galway together with some straight fellow thespians, and had been in preparation for six months.
Disney, of course, have a well-documented history of aggressive copyright litigation, particularly when the uses stray into areas that might tainit their reputation as home of wholseome family entertainment i.e. queers and drugs are not welcome. Back in 1971 a group called the Air Pirates began producing parodies of Micky Mouse wherein the mice deal drugs and have sex with one another; the case went to court and was judged to be an infringement of copyright. Disney’s vigour in clamping down on all deviant uses of their snow white characters are well documented in Fantagraphics “The Pirates and the Mouse: Disney’s War Against the Counterculture”.
Elsewhere, anyone who has paid attention to the fight over copyright in recent years knows that they are commonly regarded as the main force behind the extension of the copyright term in 1998, motivated by the looming loss of control of characters like their mouse.
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