Mickey Mouse Will Become Public Domain In 2024, But There Is More To The Story

One of the most recognizable fictional characters ever, Mickey Mouse, will enter public domain in 2024, but there are some serious strings attached. This only covers Mickey Mouse’s first-ever appearance from Steamboat Willie in 1928, not the character’s more modern-day appearance.

A Disney spokesperson told the Associated Press that the “more modern versions of Mickey” continue to be unaffected by the expiration of the Steamboat Willie copyright. Disney added that Mickey will continue to play a “leading role” in Disney’s “storytelling, theme park attractions, and merchandise.”

According to US law, a copyright can be held for 95 years, which is why Steamboat Willie’s version of Mickey Mouse will enter public domain in 2024. Disney and other companies successfully lobbied Congress to extend the copyright lengths over the years, pushing it to 95 years.

Artists might try to push the limits and test what specifics of the Mickey Mouse copyright they can leverage for their creations, and Disney said it will continue to “protect our rights” legally with respect to its copyrights.

The Steamboat Willie short was directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. You can watch the full thing above.

Another Disney character entering public domain in 2024 is Tigger from the Winnie the Pooh series. It’s already been confirmed that the sequel to the gruesome Winnie the Pooh movie, Blood and Honey, will feature a murderous Tigger, so people are acting quickly on this.

The Walt Disney Company celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, having been incorporated back in October 1923.

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