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24th September 2014

Opinion: Rage Against the Mau5chine

A major lawsuit is brewing between Disney and producer Deadmau5, Lowell Clarke shares his thoughts on the matter

Dark clouds gather over Disneyland. Lawyers scurry into position, their pens and paper prepared to fend off the oncoming assault. At the gate, Deadmau5 stands tall in the name of all things electronic and mousey…

If this sounds ridiculous, you’d be 100 per cent right. The currently unfolding legal battle between Disney and Deadmau5 isn’t the last stand of one musician against the corporate machine. It’s just a clash of two big money making interests, plain and simple.

What does Deadmau5 owe Disney? Take a look. The mask that transforms Joel Zimmerman into Deadmau5 is at best a blatantly twisted caricature of Mickey Mouse. At its worst, it’s an insight into Mickey’s weekends off, blowing off steam by dabbling in some ‘Disneys’ or ‘Nintendos’ – or whatever the kids down in Orlando call them these days. Either way it’s clearly the famous cartoon critter whether you’re 5 or 15 and that’s the point. Deadmau5’s live show feeds off this whole idea—the video game visuals and cartoon animations that illuminate the audience also bring them back to a place of happiness within their childhood.

Deadmau5’s success and the infamy of his live shows makes it clear that he’s doing this well. But to turn around and copyright what is blatantly derived from a well-known icon of childhood – the Deadmau5 head from the mickey head – is disrespectful to the underlying influences that differentiate him from the rest of the soulless swathes of EDM producers. Getting the copyright doesn’t make his music any better, nor his shows any brighter. He’ll only make it harder for others to take cues from him as he has from Disney. Ultimately, it just takes him one step closer to becoming yet another bland, entertainment based, corporate entity.

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