Monday, May 17, 2010

More on Disney Pinatas?

Our recent blog post on DIsney piñatas has stirred up some anti-Dear Rich Staff feedback.  One commenter was especially unhappy with our comment "on the other hand, if you keep a low profile, your use should not trigger any angry letters from Mickey." They wrote: "Is that like saying: If you only illegally download about 200 songs a year you should be fine? if you plan your bank robbery well, you shouldn't be caught? On the other hand offering bad advice on the other hand is not a good policy." Hhmmm. You might have turned our head around on this one. There's really no reason for us to tell people that they can get away with illegal activity. After all, the majority of murderers and bank robbers already know it. And it's not like we care whether there are more or less Disney piñatas in the world  -- that's pretty much pre-determined by the forces of greed, consumerism and personal taste. So there's really no reason for the Dear Rich Staff to tell you whether police radar is operating nearby. 
Another reader wrote: "This is the theft of the Walt Disney Corporations intellectual property and you want to profit from it?! It's you x's thousands like you that create a huge problem which drives up cost to protect Disney trademarks, trade names, copyrights, patents & trade secrets. This strikes at the very heart of American commerce." We support American commerce (although we're not sure what portion of Disney's  revenue is derived from outsourcing and foreign manufacturing). And we certainly don't want to chip away at Disney $30 billion in merchandise revenue by encouraging anyone to sell DIsney pinatas at local crafts fair. But we think you may have picked the wrong company as an example of an IP victim. Disney was a key lobbyist in the land grab resulting in what is known as the Mickey Mouse Extension Act (and earning twenty years of extra revenue for little Mick). And let's not be naive about IP. Intellectual property, as David Pressman so aptly put it, is a hunting license and some companies have turned infringement into a profit center with their selective enforcement. Anyway, we've got no gripes against Walt -- after all his people combined social justice and licensed characters when they opened up the Magic Kingdom to gay marriage. So, like we said, we'll be careful in the future not to give the nod to piñata poachers.