Mickey Mouse’s Night Vision Goggles

Just weeks after the SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, a company best known for profiting wildly off of fantasy stories for children has trademarked Seal Team 6.

The Walt Disney Company has trademarked “Seal Team 6,” which also happens to be the name of the elite special forces team that killed Osama Bin Laden.

The trademark applications came on May 3rd, two days after the operation that killed Bin Laden… and two days after “Seal Team 6″  was included in thousands of news articles and TV programs focusing on the operation.

There’s a lot that’s wrong with this. Do we really need Mickey Mouse making a movie celebrating violence? Boom, boom! as Mickey double-taps the bad guy.

And how does Disney get to trademark a government unit? Shouldn’t they be paying a license fee to the government if they want to make money off Seal Team 6’s success?

Finally, though, I’d love to second the suggestion made by @AllThingsCT: if Disney is going to insist on profiting off the exploits of SEAL Team 6, then they had better be giving most of those profits back, preferably to military families who are struggling through multiple deployments and PTSD.

  1. PJEvans says:

    Did they ever say who funded ‘Road to 9/11’? It might be the same people.

    (I haven’t been to Disneyland in years, and I don’t intend to go again until they’re more responsible and less greedy.)

  2. bobschacht says:

    The nature of warfare is changing with the advent of pilotless drones. In the not too distant future, the ability to play computer games is gonna be more important for army and airforce recruits than the ability to be able to breakdown and re-assemble your rifle in the dark.

    Bob in AZ

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Disney seems to have attempted to trademark the eagle and trident, too. Expect it to soon trademark Special Forces, Rangers and JSOC.

    A trademark filing is a claim, not a fact; it is also product specific. In this case, Disney claims the exclusive right to use SEAL Team 6, the eagle and trident, in connection with,

    clothing, footwear, headwear, toys, games and “entertainment and education services,” among other things.

    “Education services”. I wonder what those will be. It is not a precedent the owners of the Cadillac and Apple trademarks would ever willingly countenance.

    It is up to the USG to dispute its ownership. Unless, of course, it’s licensing such use or this is a roundabout way of privatizing publicly owned and funded resources – and the billions spent on constructing, maintaining and using elite special forces – for private gain. It might also be an example of government’s penchant for developing public resources – paying for logging roads to old growth timber, granting rights to graze on public lands or extract publicly owned oil and minerals – and then not charging or charging a pittance for them, as an act of kindness to our staunch, stand-on-your-own-feet entrepreneurs.

  4. reallib says:

    You’ve got to admire the attorneys who maneuvered this public asset into the magic kingdom. Ain’t capitalism grand?

  5. prostratedragon says:

    [sigh, faints]

    [Later …] Clearly the U.S. entertainment industry is on the way down for the count from these clowns. You have to have some common sense to make good circuses.

  6. Margaret says:

    Speaking of which, I wonder if Daily Kos is ever going to stop celebrating Barack Obama’s single handed killing of bin Laden? They are every bit as bad as the Repugs that gloated for a solid month after the “end to major combat operations” was declared.

      • eCAHNomics says:

        When I was little, the movie theater up the block from us played Sat matinee Disney & cartoons for 25 cents. I was allowed to go alone. Movies like Sleeping Beauty scared the shit outta me.

        Fast forward to my more politically aware days with Anita Bryant.

        Finally, 25 years ago we went to Disney World when my son was 5. Several one liners, but one of my faves while waiting for the faux steam train was: OMG. Look at that. There’s a squirrel on the tracks. It’s a real squirrel. It’s the only real thing in all of Disney World.

        • Twain says:

          Disneyland is not supposed to be real. I treasure the looks on my children’s faces when they saw it. Children should have fun and imagination. I might add that I enjoyed it, too.

            • Twain says:

              I agree but I imagine that if I went only to places that agreed with my politics, I probably wouldn’t be able to eat, drive, read. So much for political correctness.

          • DWBartoo says:

            What I object to Twain, is Disney’s ability to define not fantasy but reality. Disney is at the vangard of fostering acceptance of the corporate vision of life, of work, and of purpose.

            Though “good” supposedly triumphs, it is at the cost of a sentimantal conformity and the inculcation of belief that authority, now, is above reproach and the myths of exceptionalism are the basis of ambition, talent, and capacity.

            Disney’s movies rarely venture beneath the surface, yet they effectively delimit the “landscape” outside the screen to a technicolor sky, a hobby-horse sunset, and a saccharine sentimentality that is very unhealthy for the minds and hearts of impressionable children.

            Although all my daughters have grown up with Disney I have sought to provide them with sufficient perspective to understand that it IS fantasy of the most compelling yet manipulative sort, for it clouds reason and confuses appreciation, if it is taken as reflective of anything beyond cultural mythology.

            In other words, Pochahontas was not the way Disney portrays her. Disney does her an injustice and cutely trivializes a considerably insightful human being, whose courage and understandings went far beyond what is depicted or implied.

            Disney will never consider true suffering in the real world of children, and its willing embrace of empire and violence is simply further proof of Disney management’s inability to consider any consequence beyond the next quarter.


            • posaune says:

              Having adopted a child with real mother-loss issues, I have learned about all the Disney stories with a consistent theme of the mother getting killed: 101 Dalmations, Bambi, etc.

        • Margaret says:

          My problem with Disney originates in their long line of children, (mostly young girls) that they exploit and then discard when their cuteness wears off. But there are plenty of other reasons to detest them, starting with Walt Disney’s accusing everybody who he didn’t like of being a communist in the McCarthy era and going from there.

  7. zapkitty says:

    Not only will all these intellectual property claims be granted to Disney, all such claims will be extended in perpetuity the next time the lawyers from the Mouse have lunch with the Senators.

  8. RevBev says:

    Mostly we need to celebrate Emptywheel for a topic that gets such response…fantastic

  9. mzchief says:

    yellowsnapdragon @ 25: There is sanity and happiness in the world. It’s just that the corporate-controlled media isn’t going to show you that on purpose as it’s designed like a fun house mirror in order to try to convince you that the world is– and maybe you are by extension– unsafe, violent and crazy. This is the feedback I get from people outside this country and especially from people who aren’t inundated with TV, cell phones, film and other media. The way Americans can deal with it is to unplug and detox on a periodic basis as well as become very conscious and particular about that with which they connect. Getting outdoors is great for physical and mental health.

  10. rikkidoglake says:

    Agent Mulder was onto this a long time ago:


    “MULDER: . . . I also know that your publishing house is owned by Warden White, Incorporated… a subsidiary of MacDougall-Kesler, which makes me suspect a covert agenda for your book on the part of the military-industrial-entertainment complex.”

  11. DavidYates says:

    I wonder if the guys who pulled off the Valentine’s Day massacre had a name? Maybe they could be used to sell toys, video games and tee shirts. Kids would love it and it might add some value to commercializing Valentine’s Day (flowers and a massacre tee shirt for Mom!). The NRA should get right on this! There’s a real gold mine out there! Actually, kids don’t know the difference. This stuff is sold to armchair assassins (parents) who wish they had been there and get off on 24 over beer and chips.

    • mzchief says:

      Actually, kids don’t know the difference.

      I’ve had the pleasure of meeting little kids and older that did know better and even corrected the adults in a kind way. Last week’s jaw dropper was a lucid and compelling analysis from a 6 year old. We “adults” in the room were thrilled so now I’ve got this really kewl new friend. :-)

  12. sfmikey says:

    It was an executioner’s bullet that exploded the brain of the mastermind of 9/11.

    All those US Navy SEALS couldn’t take bin Laden alive from that compound? Impossible to believe. I understand the heat of battle argument, but there wasn’t a battle. As someone else said, if bib Laden was holding a bunny rabbit he’d still be dead and buried at sea.

    Aside from that, has anyone else thought about all the ‘non-combat’ forces in Iraq and the huge deployment in Afghanistan? Honestly, this military presence is not justified–unless, you want a ton of forces deployed at the front lines. For what purpose? Oh, maybe attacking Iran. A lot of military capital assets are in that theater already…for what (future) purpose?

  13. donbacon says:

    So Mickey Mouse is the perfect symbol. We need to use it. Make lemonade out of lemons.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Even if SEALs are technically no longer SEALs, the USG invested in and gave that acronym value. Letting Disney profit from it is neither smart business practice nor adequate stewardship of public resources. Or does the Navy regard this as just another marketing freebie?

  15. skepticdog says:

    There should be no more patents or copyrights. The inept government is unable to differentiate between novel inventions and those that are based on existing technology.

  16. posaune says:

    I loved Naomi Klein’s story about her grandfather who was fired from Disney in the 1930’s for starting a cartoonist’s union.

  17. bobschacht says:

    Richard Miniter on CSPAN “Q&A” tonight– What a piece of work. Don’t waste your money on his book. He must be a Cheney-bot. He doesn’t think waterboarding is torture. What a jerk.

    Bob in AZ

  18. gallileo71 says:

    Oh great! Let’s see a Disney movie entitled “Seal Team 6” would be about an orphaned 10-ish Dakota Fanning look-alike who gets attached to a real seal at a marineland knockoff and becomes involved with a plot to use harbor seals to spy on terrorists. She will act opposite “the Rock”(cue the lame-o obligatory summer kids film quotes), who will adopt her at the end. <<>> almost perfect, if there were only some way to include “who let the dogs out” as the theme to this abysmal rag, I could already cry “Cut! That’s a wrap!”

  19. dustbunny44 says:

    How is trademarking “Seal Team 6” different than getting a commercial (non-USA gov.) trademark for something like “The Washington Monument”, or “I-95” ? Which I hope are both not possible.
    It also seems like a small step to trademarking “101st Airborne”.