Disney Characters and copyright law.

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  • I am trying to restart a small graphic design company for the second time. I have already tested this job market few years back, when I was just out of college, but then I wasn't so successful, and I had to take on different directions that pull me away from design.

    So recently, in the down of the economy and after having been unemployed for more than 6 months (I got layoff from my last project management job at a toy company), I decided it will be worth to give design a second look and went on back to school for a short time to update myself on all the new software currently in used in design, print and web included. Starting to feel pretty good all over again, I decided it was time to put my newly learned skills to the test and started by designing a new identity for my reborn design company. I reworked my old logo and made a nice new business card for myself. Currently I am in the process of developing my own website to display my portfolio and promote my work online.

    Putting together a beginner's portfolio require some creativity. Using my most recent school work as well as some of my past work I thought were successful enough then to be put on my website. One of my older pieces includes a prototype work I did for a small design studio back in the year 2000. It consists of 3 different greeting cards each showing Mickey Mouse in various situations. In the first card, Mickey Mouse appears at the beach in 3 flash spots type of drawings, swimming, surfing and laying on the beach drinking ice-cold drink. In the second card, Mickey is shown in the kitchen in an elaborate kind of cartoon setting, baking a cake. And a third card, Mickey Mouse is driving to a picnic with a basket of food sitting in the back of his car. This work not only represents a lot of hard working hours for me but is an important part of my work that shows my illustration skills. The cards were presented to the Disney Licensing Consumer Product Development Bureau as a proposal for licensing, but as far as I know, these designs didn't received Disney approval and the project was dropped. The design studio I worked for no longer exist.

    My question is: do I have the right to display this work? I am not intending to sell anything beside show-casting my skills in digital illustration. And if I need an authorization, who do I contact at Disney?

    All inputs will be much appreciated.

  • Someone should jump in here if I am incorrect, but my opinion is that it is OK to show these as part of your portfolio as long as you are not intending to sell them. As a precaution you may want to limit yourself to only one of the images in your on-line display. This is not legal advice and should you still have concerns you may want to consult a lawyer who is well versed in copyright law on this issue.
  • There shouldnt be any problem putting them on display. I did with mine and so far, no issues. good luck.. [color=#E0E0E0] pokie slot machines [/color]

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