Home 5 News 5 Mickey Mouse Free-for-All: 2024’s Copyright Shift

Mickey Mouse Free-for-All: 2024’s Copyright Shift

by | Jan 2, 2024 | News

An earlier rendition of Mickey Mouse, an iconic figure in popular culture, lost its copyright protection in 2024. Following the expiration of copyright, the public gained the right to use the images of Mickey and Minnie Mouse as they appeared in their debut screen release, the 1928 short film Steamboat Willie.

 

According to US law, a copyright could be held for 95 years, a duration extended multiple times by Congress. On August 13, 1941, the animation innovator Walt Disney introduced his beloved character in “Steamboat Willie,” the first short cartoon with synchronized sound. He further released his inaugural full-length animated film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” in 1937. Disney, a multimedia visionary associated with family entertainment, expanded into television and book publishing, leaving a lasting impact on the industry.

 

The adjustment led to a situation colloquially known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, as remarked by Jennifer Jenkins, a law professor and director of Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain. She pointed out that the term extension wasn’t solely driven by Disney but by a broader group of copyright holders benefiting from the additional protection.

 

The alteration implies that the public can now only use the mischievous, rat-like, non-speaking boat captain featured in Steamboat Willie, not the more contemporary versions.

 

Disney responded, stating, “Ever since Mickey Mouse’s first appearance, people have associated the character with Disney’s stories, experiences, and authentic products. That will not change when the copyright in the Steamboat Willie film expires. More modern versions of Mickey will remain unaffected by the expiration of the Steamboat Willie copyright, and Mickey will continue to play a leading role as a global ambassador for the Walt Disney Company in our storytelling, theme park attractions, and merchandise. We will, of course, continue to protect our rights in the more modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works that remain subject to copyright.”

 

While not every characteristic of a character is necessarily copyrightable, courts may be occupied in the ensuing years to determine what falls within or outside Disney’s ownership. “Steamboat Willie,” directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, marked one of the initial cartoons to synchronize sound with visuals.

 

Recent News

24Jun
Boris Johnson to “Unleash” Political Tell-All Amidst Election Turmoil

Boris Johnson to “Unleash” Political Tell-All Amidst Election Turmoil

HarperCollins wins former PM’s memoirs With the Conservatives trailing in the polls in the UK, HarperCollins has announced it is to publish the memoirs of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  Unleashed will be published in the UK by William Collins on 10 October and in the US by Harper on 15 October.   The Conservatives […]

20Jun
Harry Potter Rarity Auctioned for Over $57,000

Harry Potter Rarity Auctioned for Over $57,000

A rare edition of J.K. Rowling’s cherished novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, has fetched $57,200 at an auction in Edinburgh, Scotland. This copy is among the first 500 printed in 1997, distinguished by a misspelling of “Philosopher’s” and a duplicate listing of “1 wand” on the equipment list on page 53, making these […]

20Jun
A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

The UK’s MacleHose Press, part of Hachette-owned Quercus, has bought the latest example of what some are dubbing ‘healing fiction’.  MacLehose Press will publish Korean feel-good bestseller Yeonnam-dong’s Smiley Laundromat by first-time author Kim Jiyun in August 2024. It will be released in a translation by Shanna Tan, whose first book, Hwang Bo-reum’s Welcome to […]

Related Posts

Harry Potter Rarity Auctioned for Over $57,000

Harry Potter Rarity Auctioned for Over $57,000

A rare edition of J.K. Rowling’s cherished novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, has fetched $57,200 at an auction in Edinburgh, Scotland. This copy is among the first 500 printed in 1997, distinguished by a misspelling of "Philosopher's" and a duplicate...

A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

The UK’s MacleHose Press, part of Hachette-owned Quercus, has bought the latest example of what some are dubbing 'healing fiction’.  MacLehose Press will publish Korean feel-good bestseller Yeonnam-dong’s Smiley Laundromat by first-time author Kim Jiyun in August...

Barnes & Noble Acquires Tattered Cover Bookstore

Barnes & Noble Acquires Tattered Cover Bookstore

Barnes & Noble is to buy Denver’s Tattered Cover, one of the world’s most famous independent bookstores.  According to news site Denverite, the deal – for $1.83m– will see Barnes & Noble retain the famous name on Tattered Cover four shops.   The deal is being...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest