© MacGyverNRW from Pixabay
According to GuardianMickey Mouse may soon be leaving Disney as its 95-year copyright expiration nears. It will fall into the public domain in 2024, under US copyright laws which state that intellectual property in artistic works expires after 95 years. Once the copyright expires, anyone wishing to use characters or concepts from everyone’s favorite rodent will not need to seek permission or pay copyright fees.
The character was created in 1928 and the cartoon is widely considered a pioneer in animation, reports the DailyMail.
When Mickey Mouse first appeared in 1928, Disney’s copyright was protected for 56 years, but as the beloved cartoon character neared the end of its copyright, Disney lobbied successfully to obtain the Copyright Act of 1976, which extended protection to 75 years.
Then, in 1998, Disney lobbied for another extension, which saw him protected for 95 years.
Mickey Mouse first appeared in the black and white cartoon Steamboat Willie. This cartoon pioneered animation for its use of synchronized sound – where on-screen movement matches music and sound effects, launching one of the most recognizable images in film and television.
“Over the years, Mickey Mouse has undergone several transformations in his physical appearance and personality. In his early days, mischievous and mischievous Mickey looked more like a rat, with a long pointed nose, black eyes, a small body with skinny legs and a long tail.“, according to the National Museum of American History relayed by the Guardian.
Daniel mayedaassociate director of the Documentary Film Legal Clinic of the’UCLA School of Law, explains that Disney retains copyright to any subsequent variations in other films or artwork until they reach the 95-year mark.
Other characters have already passed into the public domain, with unpredictable and somewhat shocking results. Hundred Acre Wood Winnie the Pooh and most of his animal friends entered the public domain in January of this year and some were quick to cash in on these beloved characters.
Actor Ryan Reynolds gave a playful nod to the now free-to-play Winnie the Pooh in an advert for mint Mobile. In the ad, Reynolds reads a children’s book about “Winnie the Pooh,” a bear cub with a high phone bill.
Winnie thebear and his friend Piglet are now the stars of Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, an upcoming horror film written and directed by Rhys Waterfieldin which the two cubs embark on a bloody massacre after being abandoned by their old friend, Christopher Robin.
According to Daniel mayedait is important that artists like Waterfield don’t cross the line when it comes to creating new works based on old characters. Certain aspects of a character that the general public recognizes as part of the Disney brand are off-limits to artists who wish to take advantage of copyright expiration. If a particular work misleads the public into believing that it is in fact affiliated with Disney, the legal consequences could be significant.
It’s unclear if the entertainment giant plans to make another move before 2023 to prevent Mickey from entering the public domain.