Mouse Trapped: Dead Mouse v. Mickey Mouse!!
Mickey Mouse may be sweet, fun and loving on screen, but off the screen, Mickey is the Big Daddy. When someone tried to use Mickey’s iconic ears, he didn’t like it at all. The alleged offender is DJ Joel Thomas Zimmerman, a Canadian DJ. And this time, Mickey has even geared up, uh, I mean lawyered-up. Let me unfold the story for you so far.
Joel Zimmerman, also known as Deadmau5 as his stage name, wears a costume while performing on stage that resembles the signature Mickey Mouse head and ears. Hold on, I am not saying this. That’s what The Walt Disney Company is going around and claiming. All this story dates back to July when Deadmau5 was offered to remix the Star Wars theme for the upcoming Disney’s flick, Star Wars Rebels. And this offer was extended by none other than The Walt Disney’s music division. Unfortunately, the ending was different from those in the Disney cartoons! A wolf in sheep’s clothing, Disney was already investigating Deadmau5’s use of the trademark since the onset of this year. Zimmerman has already acquired trademark rights for the on stage costume in over 30 countries. Now Disney is pinged with the fact that the trademark obtained by Zimmerman would encompass a wide range of merchandise which will be similar to the iconic ears of Mickey Mouse.
The issue grabbed public attention through an array of tweets posted by Joel which went viral on the net space. He not only mocked Disney’s allegations, but also challenged Disney to ‘Lawyer up’ in the near future. A normal trademark issue thus got transformed into a high profile battle between two players who are ready give whatever it takes to legally haunt each other.
The infamous DJ has been using a mouse head in almost all his live appearances for over a decade now. Now Disney is claiming that Deadmau5’s costume resembles Mickey Mouse silhouette and hence it has filed a formal opposition against Deadmau5 from obtaining trademark rights over his onstage logo. Up until now, Walt Disney had no issues. But the things went fuzzy when rather than defending itself, Deadmau5 decided to give Disney a taste of its own medicine. It figured out that Disney has been using its famous “Ghosts ‘n’ “Stuff” song in a video, for which Disney never sought permission from him. It thus sent it a counter cease and desist.
On September 2, Disney submitted a 171 page trademark filing at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, claiming that if Deadmau5 was granted the logo, then it would degrade the reputation and business of the parent company worldwide. In response Mickey dragging the DJ to the court, Zimmerman, who is now staring at a mammoth trademark prosecution, said that he had never granted the permission to Walt Disney to expend his song. A representative from Disney said in reply that there was no merit in Zimmerman’s statement.
Trademark battles can destroy the career of many artists. Disney slams full authority on all its trademarks and vigorously protects them. The question arises that why wear a Halloween mouse head in your appearances. Is it to gain sheer public attention, which would be thumbs up for Disney in the legal case. Or is Zimmerman just an avid performer? Why did Disney wait for 10 long years to press legal charges? Are the two mice similar? Will you really be confused between the two? To be fair and honest, it’s a tricky situation. With so many questions, let us see who gets out of the maze first; Dead Mouse or Mickey Mouse. That being said, Disney is a multi-billion dollar company and Zimmerman stands nowhere in front of them. Meanwhile, it has also came in to our knowledge that the battle has already cost Deadmau5 dearly. I just hope that Deadmau5 can offset its financial losses through this “free publicity” it is accruing from the net-space. But for now, chances are that Deadmau5 might become a legit dead mouse!