Disney takes aim at lobby group's logo

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 August, 2005, 12:00am


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Hong Kong Disneyland is threatening legal action against a local lobby that is using as its logo a black silhouette of Mickey Mouse with his ears on fire. The mouse head is in the centre of crosshairs.

Earlier this month Disney Hunter helped to expose the appalling working conditions being endured by employees of the park's mainland suppliers. It found some Disney suppliers were exploiting their workers by failing to pay the minimum wage or provide any paid holidays.

A Hong Kong spokeswoman for Disney said the company would study whether the use of the logo inspired by Mickey Mouse is a breach of its intellectual property rights, and take action accordingly.

'We take our intellectual property very seriously and we will look into it,' she said.

Susanna Lee Wing-yin, a representative for the Hong Kong lobby group, which was founded in June and is devoted to investigating the labour, environmental, commercial and social practices of the global theme park operator, said she was surprised by Disney's move.

She added that legal counsel had been sought on the use of the logo before the group's launch in June. The group will seek further legal advice before proceeding.

'I am surprised to hear this because Disney sounded conciliatory when we released our report and they promised to look into the claims. If they use these types of tactics to attack organisations such as ours, then it's not fair,' Ms Lee said. Jointly conducted with Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, the study found the factories surveyed paid an average hourly wage of just 2.7 yuan - well below the legal minimum wage of around 3.3 yuan per hour as stipulated by the different counties where the factories are located.

It also found workers typically laboured for between 10 and 12 hours a day, six days a week - adding up to between 260 and 312 hours a month.

This also exceeds the legal standard of 168 working hours a month with the stipulated 36-hour additional overtime limit. Disney has promised to look into the claims.