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“Mickey” Singer Sues Disney for Ripping Off Song
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Summary: Toni Basil is suing Disney and other media companies for unauthorized use of her catchy hit song. 

No matter what decade you grew up in, you’ve probably heard the song “Mickey” by Toni Basil.  The catchy tune that gave us the earworm:“Oh Mickey, you’re so fine/You’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey/Hey Mickey!” is now at the center of a lawsuit between its singer and several media companies, whom Basil says never had the rights to use her song.

  
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On Thursday, Basil, 73, sued The Walt Disney Company, Viacom, and the TV shows South Park and RuPaul’s Drag Race, according to Deadline Hollywood. She said that they did not obtain proper permission to use her persona, image, and voice; and she said she is owed $750 for every unauthorized use. But that number isn’t just when used in a film or show–the fine is for every time the use is seen, heard, or broadcast.

Basil is seeking an injunction and punitive damages for emotional and actual damages.

“Upon notification of the unauthorized commercial use of Plaintiff’s song ‘Mickey’ along with the implied endorsement causes Plaintiff to become withdrawn, despondent and physically ill,” Basil’s legal paperwork said. “She has experienced sleep deprivation, nightmares, and anxiety as a result of Defendants’ actions.”

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Disney and its subsidiaries such as Viacom licensed the right to the 1982 song “Mickey” from Razor & Tie Direct, a publishing complaint that Basil is also suing. Basil said in her 20-page complaint that Razor & Tie did not have the right to license her song, which was written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, but that they had profited anyway.

Basil was particularly disturbed with how her song has become synonymous with the Disney brand, which uses it because of their mascot Mickey Mouse.



“Basil was never consulted and would never consent to the use of her voice, persona, image or named coupled with Disney products,” the filing said. “Basil’s exclusive right to publicity has been damaged by the coupling with Mickey Mouse and the Disney brand.”

Basil added South Park as a defendant because they made an episode mocking the song and President Barack Obama, and Basil said that she did not give permission to use her voice, persona, or name in a political context. She named RuPaul’s Drag Race because one of the contestant’s had lip synched to the song.

Forever 21 was also named a defendant because they sell the Disney clothing line and air a video to the products that feature Basil’s song. In her complaint, Basil said that she was unaware of all of the licensing issues until January of this year.

“Plaintiff did not become aware of the commercial synchronization and licensing of ‘Mickey’ by R&T Defendants, including the unauthorized use of her voice, name, image and/or celebrity endorsement of Defendants until January 12, 2017,” the complaint said.

What do you think of Toni Basil’s complaint? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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