THE BLOG
09/15/2014 09:07 am ET Updated Nov 15, 2014

Deadmau5 vs. Disney

John Davisson/Invision/AP

There's a battle going on between one of the largest media companies in the world and an electronic musician and performer. It's the Deadmau5 vs. Walt Disney Company.

For those of you who don't know who Deadmau5 is (pronounced "deadmouse"), he is a musician whose real name is Joel Zimmerman and lives in Canada. Deadmau5 began to blow up in 2008 after the release of his album "Random Album Title." A huge part of Deadmau5's identity is his logo, which is creating most of his issues recently. To some, his logo (which he has a full helmet of) looks similar to Mickey Mouse, the original and possibly most important character of Disney.

Then the question arises of "why does Disney care all of the sudden?" Simply put, Deadmau5 applied for a trademark of his logo last year and Disney is fighting it. Disney claims that the Deadmau5 logo looks too similar to the silhouette of Mickey Mouse. Deadmau5 chipped in via Twitter, tweeting, "Landed home to some interesting news: looks like Disney officially just filed in opposition of my trademark... lawyer up Mickey."

He then made a stab at Disney and their need to oppose his trademark by saying, "Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician/performer with a cartoon mouse. That's how stupid they think you are."

To make the situation even more aggressive, Deadmau5 tweeted about how Disney used arguably one of Deadmau5's most well known track "Ghosts n' Stuff" without his permission. What we have now is a standoff between a modern musician who has had his intellectual property used without his permission and a mascot for a whole corporation. While Deadmau5's issue is much more concrete than "it looks like Micky Mouse," Disney has infinitely more money and lawyers to fight this battle.

To add a whole new level to this issue, in all technicality Mickey Mouse SHOULD be public domain. Mickey Mouse, along with a whole slew of original Disney characters, should have entered public domain back in 2003. Walt Disney Company brought a bill to the Senate proposing a 20-year extension of the U.S. copyright limits. This bill was passed and is called (jokingly) the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act."

Deadmau5 is easily one of the most animated artists out there. As opposed to getting gold chains or expensive watches like other successful musicians, he decided to deck out his Ferrari in a brand new paint job and naming the creation a "Purrari." After getting the paintjob, he got a nice little cease-and-desist from yet another large company, Ferrari. Deadmau5 has also done a coffee run with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in the Purrari.

My guess is that Disney will pay Deadmau5 for the infringement on his intellectual property, but then begin a huge battle over the Deadmau5 logo and the similarity between it and Mickey Mouse. Between the Disney and Ferrari Cease-and-desists, I'd say Deadmau5 is getting some amazing "free" publicity. Just so everyone knows, this is what Disney is worried about people getting mixed up...

In the end, this is far more than just a battle over the shape of mouse ears. This is a battle between a company and character that has had a turn in the spotlight for more than long enough, and a modern musician who is trying to make his image and name known. One argument that was brought up during the conversation about the Copyright Extension Act was that it might cause future advancement to be halted because of the copyrights held under individuals for too long. This whole argument between Deadmau5 and Disney ratifies this thought, and proves that for new ideas and concepts to exist, the old cannot hold a grasp on advancement.