Deadmau5 Has Gone to War With Disney

Deadmau5 vs. Disney is like David vs. Goliath, where David is 10 feet tall and Goliath 300.
Deadmau5 vs. Disney is like David vs. Goliath, where David is 10 feet tall and Goliath 300.
Timothy Norris

By Liz Ohanesian

You probably know Deadmau5 as the DJ who wears the giant mouse mask on his head.

Lately, he's been battling with another famous rodent -- Mickey Mouse. Or, more specifically, Disney.

The Toronto-bred producer and performer, whose real name is Joel Zimmerman and who moved to L.A. two years ago, has been recording and performing as Deadmau5 for nearly a decade. He's one of EDM's most popular figures.

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Not that his fans would necessarily recognize him at the supermarket. For his shows he wears his mask -- big grin, bulging eyes, oversized ears and all -- which he calls his, um, Mau5head. His fans sport them too; at concerts, even at anime conventions.

It's basically his brand, plastered on releases from his record label, Mau5trap as well. And so, more than a year ago, he began taking steps to trademark the logo. The problem came earlier this week, when he learned that Disney, which owns their own trademark, was attempting to block his.

Zimmerman didn't take the news well.

"Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician/performer with a cartoon mouse," he tweeted. "That's how stupid they think you are."

(Disney did not return our request for comment.)

Zimmerman's attorney said that the Mau5 logo is already a registered trademark in 30 countries. "Given that the mau5head and other identifying deadmau5 trademarks have been used in the U.S. and around the world for almost a decade, we wonder why Disney is only now coming after deadmau5," said a statement signed by the lawyer, Dina LaPolt of LaPolt Law P.C. "Our client will not be bullied by Disney and is prepared to fight to protect his rights to his property."

Then, yesterday, Zimmerman sent a cease and desist letter directed to the Burbank-based corporation.

At issue? A "Re-Micks" clip--Disney's answer to the fan-made, mash-up videos that are all over YouTube-- that juxtaposes cartoon footage with Deadmau5's hit "Ghosts 'n' Stuff." (Below.)


undefined on Disney Video

Zimmerman claims that he never gave Disney permission to use the song. At press time, the video is still available to view on Disney's website.

Beyond copyright infringement, the letter says that the video "implicates the Zimmerman's trademarks and rights in and to his name and likeness." Looks like Deadmau5 is ready to play Disney's game.

Our take? Sure, the two rodents are similar, but then again, so is Mighty Mouse.

At the end of the day, they're all just mice.

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