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Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Thursday called for Disney to lose its “copyright protections” and for Major League Baseball (MLB) to lose its “longstanding antitrust exemption.”
In an opinion piece for Fox News entitled “It’s time to end economic handouts for woke corporations,” the conservative lawmaker wrote that “today’s multinationals have embraced a toxic blend of offshoring and woke politics, selling out American workers even as they attack American values.”
Hawley emphasized large corporations’ efforts to speak into debates over social policy, especially noting their progressive leanings. “Big business’s priorities now apparently extend to voter ID laws, abortion, and sex education classes for younger and younger children, to name just a few examples,” he said.
In reference to Disney executives’ efforts to inject more LGBTQ representation into its programming while appeasing “Chinese censors” to “avoid losing access to a lucrative market,” Hawley suggested that Congress should end Disney’s copyright protections for characters like Mickey Mouse, which have been “extended further and further into the future.”
Earlier this week, Hawley proposed the “Copyright Clause Restoration Act,” which would limit new copyright protections to 56 years and retroactively change protections for companies like Disney that “have been granted unnecessarily long copyright monopolies.”
“Under Congress’s current sweetheart deal, companies like Disney have been granted certain copyright protections for up to 120 years — well beyond the original maximum of 28 years,” a statement from the lawmaker’s office explained.
Hawley also argued in his opinion piece that MLB was “all too happy to try to bully the State of Georgia over its election integrity laws.” He said it should therefore “lose its longstanding antitrust exemption, which no other industry enjoys in the same way.” He also called for “a flat ban on further acquisitions” for “the very largest firms.”
Last year, Hawley and other Republican lawmakers introduced a bill to strip MLB of its antitrust exemptions after it chose to relocate its 2021 All-Star Game and rookie draft out of Atlanta in response to election reform efforts.
“By eliminating special preferences and carve outs, we can support competition in the economy, and encourage innovation and the rise of new firms that can challenge the big incumbents, all while turbocharging prosperity here at home,” Hawley concluded.
Indeed, Hawley is a leading voice among Republican proponents of antitrust legislation. Last spring, he proposed the “Bust Up Big Tech Act” to break up companies “seeking to dominate multiple industries simultaneously.”
“Woke Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon have been coddled by Washington politicians for years,” Hawley said. “This treatment has allowed them to amass colossal amounts of power that they use to censor political opinions they don’t agree with and shut out competitors who offer consumers an alternative to the status quo. It’s past time to bust up Big Tech companies, restore competition, and give the power back to the American consumers.”
Last summer, a bipartisan group of lawmakers likewise introduced a suite of antitrust bills meant to limit the market power of technology companies. While conservatives like Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) noted the censorship of free speech, progressives like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) stressed the maxim of “people over profits.”
(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.)