Thursday, December 29, 2022

Mickey's copyright journey: An early Disney creation will soon become publicly owned

Mickey’s copyright adventure: Early Disney creation to be public property soon

 Disney's protection of the characters it creates is anything but cuddly or soft. This is an organization that once constrained a Florida day care focus to eliminate an unapproved Minnie Mouse wall painting. Disney informed a stonemason in 2006 that incorporating Winnie the Pooh into a child's gravestone would infringe on the character's copyright. The 1998 extension of copyright protections was dubbed the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" as a result of the company's intense advocacy for it.

Mickey, on the other hand, is about to enter the public domain for the first time. At the end of next year, copyright protection for the 1928 short film Steamboat Willie, which introduced Mickey to the world, will end in the United States and a few other nations. The situation is more complicated than it appears, and those who attempt to take advantage of the expiring copyright on "Steamboat Willie" run the risk of falling into a legal trap. There is only one expiring copyright. It covers Mickey's original appearance in "Steamboat Willie." This non-speaking Mickey has a long tail, basic eyes with no pupils, and a nose that looks like a rat.

Copyrights still protect later versions of the character, such as the more mellow, rounder Mickey with red shorts and white gloves that audiences today are most familiar with. Over the coming decades, they will enter the public domain at various times. The black-and-white short "Steamboat Willie" can be shown without Disney's permission and even resold by third parties due to the expiration of the copyright.

As long as the film adheres to the content from 1926 and does not utilize any elements that came later, Disney has no copyright recourse. The situation gets tricky here: Additionally, Disney owns trademarks for its characters. These trademarks remain in effect as long as businesses continue to submit the appropriate paperwork.

Disney stated in a statement, "People have associated the character with Disney's stories, experiences, and authentic products ever since Mickey Mouse made his first appearance in the 1928 short film Steamboat Willie." When the Steamboat Willie movie's copyright runs out, that won't change.

Since Disney and other entertainment companies successfully lobbied Congress to extend copyright protections in the late 1990s, the issue of copyright and Mickey Mouse has loomed large in the public consciousness. By a vote of 7 to 2, the Supreme Court in 2003 upheld what Congress had done.

The lawyers and lobbyists for Disney probably realized long ago that attempting to persuade Congress to extend the current one would be futile. This indicates that early versions of Popeye, King Kong, Donald Duck, Flash Gordon, Porky Pig, and Superman will eventually become available to the general public over the course of the following ten years.

Catch Daily Highlights In Your Email

* indicates required

Post Top Ad