Republican Senator Josh Hawley just introduced a bill that proposes to shorten the copyright term to 56 years. This will apply retroactively to major movie studios with Disney being a prime target. The plan appears to be an indirect attempt to punish Disney for its politics, including the opposition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Over the past decades, copyright protection terms have gradually been extended all around the world.
In the United States, copyrights are currently enforceable for 70 years after the author’s death. If something was made for hire, protection is available for 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation, whichever is shorter.
These terms were last changed in the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which is also dubbed the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act”. This is a reference to Disney’s famous cartoon character, whose original copyright protections were about to expire.