Mickey Mouse is free: first version of the mouse will be in the public domain in 2024 – El Sol de México

The first version of Mickey Mouse (1928), the most famous mouse created by Walt Disneywill enter the public domain in USA on the first day of 2024, opening the door to endless creative opportunities that allow us to look at the character from a more current prism.

After prolonging for years the Copyright of his emblematic character, starting January 1, 2024, Disney will no longer own versions of Mickey and Minnie Mouse that appear in the shorts ‘Steamboat Willie’ and ‘Plane Crazy’ of 1928.

That means creatives, artists, directors and the general public will have the opportunity to use said creation for their own interpretations and versions without having to pay Copyright.

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“It is difficult to predict what will happen, but we know that when plays become public domain, this can generate both renewed interest in the original work and a new creative wave based on that work,” Jennifer Jenkins, director of the Center for Public Domain Studies at the Faculty of Law, told EFE. Duke of North Carolina, USA.

From now on, the creative possibilities for Mickey Mouse They will be infinite. Examples of this are the new versions, radically different from the originals, that have emerged since they entered the public domain in 2021. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald or “Winnie-the-Pooh” by AA Milne.

Specifically, the glamorous world of the 1920s presented in Fitzgerald’s book was transformed into a zombie story in the novel “The Great Gatsby and the Zombies,” written by Wayne Soini.

Meanwhile, the lovable yellow bear and his friends took a dark turn as vengeful killers in the slasher horror film “Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey”directed by Rhys Frake-Waterfield.

Despite the release of these characters, and now Mickey Mousefor almost two decades no creative work could access the public domain thanks to the so-called copyright extension law, approved by the US Congress in 1998 and which extended the intellectual rights of some works for another 20 years.

The law had among its main promoters: disney and its influence was so significant that it was popularly known as the ‘Mickey Mouse Protection’ law, a name that although Jenkins considers “exaggerated”, had among its main axes of debate the public use of the friendly mouse.

An opportunity to contribute to creation

The efforts of disney for retaining control of the rights of Mickey Mouse They pose an interesting contradiction for a company that has based much of its creation on the use of public domain stories, such as “Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi or “Snow White” by the Brothers Grimm, among others.

In your article “Mickey, Disney, and the Public Domain: a 95-year Love Triangle”Jenkins explains that even Mickey Mouse himself originated from the inspiration of others’ creativity, incorporating the expressive traits of Charles Chaplin, as revealed by Walt Disney himself.

Furthermore, despite the opening, disney will continue to retain many benefits linked to the character. There will be restrictions on the use of the mouse in the public domain, which can only be represented in black and white and cannot be transformed into a trademark.

“Disney still has many valuable properties, so this may not affect its bottom line. Additionally, this allows Disney to contribute something valuable to the public domain that it has so brilliantly nurtured,” Jenkins said.

With Mickey and Minnieanother handful of works and creations will open to the public domain on the first day of 2024.

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Among them is Erich Maria Remarque’s original version of “All Quiet on the Western Front”, whose third film adaptation received notable recognition in the latest installment of the Oscar awards.

Also added is the story “House at Pooh Corner”, which introduces for the first time the friendly children’s character of tiggerand the famous Cole Porter song ‘Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)’, immortalized by outstanding voices such as Ella Fitzgerald or Eartha Kitt.

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