Home TECH Mickey Mouse is finally, kind of, becoming public domain

Mickey Mouse is finally, kind of, becoming public domain

by Ohio Digital News

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If you’ve ever wanted to make money off a drawing of Mickey Mouse shooting guns or what have you, Jan 1. is your lucky day.

That’s because, as pointed out in an interesting Variety feature, Disney’s mascot finally becomes public domain on that day, 95 years after his 1928 debut. It’s a landmark day in U.S. copyright law history, as Disney’s iconic mouse has long been seen as a mascot of sorts for a 1998 congressional act that extended copyright terms to a somewhat extreme degree, giving Disney a couple extra decades of control over the character.

Of course, Mickey Mouse in all his totality is not becoming public domain on Jan. 1.

To be more specific, just the “Steamboat Willie” version of the character from the original 1928 cartoon short of the same name is losing copyright status on that day. The more modern version of the mouse from contemporary cartoons or even Kingdom Hearts still belongs to Disney for the foreseeable future.

As a fun piece of trivia, another famous cartoon animal, Tigger, also enters the public domain on Jan. 1. He’ll join his buddy Winnie the Pooh, who also became a public character recently. You may recall a slasher movie starring the famous honey-obsessed bear from earlier this year. Don’t be shocked if you see similar developments with Tigger and Steamboat Willie going forward.

Hopefully, more interesting and creative endeavors starring these beloved characters will come along, too.



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