COMICS [click on the panels for a better view]

WILDCATSVERSION 3.0 #3 [Wildstorm]
by Joe Casey, Dustin Nguyen and Richard Friend


Like everyone else, even comics are trying to understand what’s happening in the world. Wildcats Version 3.0 is cast in a globalized world where corporations walk the Earth, dominating everything including whole nations. In this issue, Casey has decided to explain how corporations have grown to become such powerful legal entities with even more rights than people.

The point Casey makes is that as the world gets "smaller" through technology — faster travel and communications — it is increasingly regulated by the powerful few. Casey quotes American president Abraham Lincoln:

"Corporations have been enthroned… An era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people… until wealth is aggregated in a few hands… and the republic is destroyed."

Corporations became legal entities entitled to the same rights as a person when the US Supreme Court ruled in 1886 in the Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific Railroad. "Corporations were suddenly provided all the rights previously enjoyed only by the people, including free speech. But instead of having the same powers as private citizens, corporations had so much more. With their vast financial resources, they could defend their rights to a much greater degree than any one American could possibly afford to."

And if that isn’t frightening enough, just consider that the US Supremes are right now sitting on another case that has ramifications down the road. In 1790, the US government agreed to allow for only 14 years of copyright protection. After that the work was deemed to be in the public domain to be used by anyone. Over 200 years, that period has stretched to 50 years of copyright protection. Than in 1998, the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act was passed that gave copyright owners another 20 years so that now copyright holders have 70 years plus life of the author and 95-plus-life to corporations. The Supremes have been challenged in a lawsuit to repeal the Sonny Bono Act. Just imagine, from 14 years in 1790, corporations have been able to use their power to extend their control of copyrights to 95 years. The authors are dead but their works remain in the control of a powerful few.

And if your mind is set thinking about corporations than Casey and his team have succeeded in the superheroic effort to bring out an issue that needs addressing. That throughout history, individuals can still make a difference not through violence but with ideas. - Michael Cheah

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