Disney Bootleg Games

My digital artefact will be a seperate WordPress site where I will document my experience. For my Game media studies project, I’ll be looking at online bootleg browser games that have been copied off the established Walt Disney brand. The text I’ll be using is specifically online games on various websites that are clearly not authorised by Disney Pty Ltd. 

I decided to take on this project not only as a connoisseur of browser games but as someone who is interested in the branding and copyright aspects of the existence of these games. I will be looking through the analytical frameworks of Disney’s own marketing strategy as well as the content analysis surrounding these “fake” games. For example, are they meant to be satirical and parody? Thereby creating a special exception from copyright infringement, or as part of a general exception from copyright infringement, such as fair use or fair dealing. – But do Disney characters exist in fair dealing?

These cheaply made games use Disney characters likeness, names and even some story lines to reproduce a whole new game that has never been recognised by Disney. What are the repercussions? All these identifiable components mean Disney could pull the plug or take to court.. But they don’t? Disney threatens lawsuits for Mickey Mouse graffiti – so why not Elsa’s dress up games. Probably because these minuscule games may not decrease the intellectual property of Disney or take away from the ideas of the company itself. The work of the creation of the character is different from the character itself (Jagorda, GS 1999) These are things I hope to uncover through my Digital Artefact.


-Coenraad Visser 2005, ‘The location of the parody defence in copyright law: some comparative perspectives’, The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, vol. 38, no. 3, p. 321, <https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.23252621&gt;.

-Jagorda, GS 1999, ‘The Mouse that Roars: Character Protection Strategies of Disney and Others’, Thomas Jefferson Law Review, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 235–252, <https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edshol&AN=edshol.hein.journals.tjeflr21.17&gt;.

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