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Entertainment giant Disney may lose its exclusive rights to iconic cartoon character Mickey Mouse in 2024.
US Copyright law states that intellectual property on an artist’s work expires 95 years after its first publication.
As such, the 95-year-long copyright held on Mickey Mouse by Disney will expire in 2024, giving anyone the opportunity to use the cartoon character in non-Disney content.
Mickey Mouse first appeared in a minute short black-and-white film directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks in 1928.
The Copyright Act of 1976 granted Disney’s copyright protection for an additional 75 years after it had already been in place for 56 years.
Then, in 1998, Disney was granted yet another extension, this time for an additional 95 years.
Mickey Mouse is an iconic cartoon figure who came to represent optimism during the American Great Depression. The cartoon character initially appeared in a 1928 short film with perfectly synchronized sound- in which the movements on screen match the music and sound effects, making it a pioneer in animation.
Disney will lose its copyright on this initial rendition of Mickey that resembles a rat, but it will still be able to use any future versions in other movies or works of art until they reach the 95-year mark.
Early this year, other Disney characters, including Honey-loving bear Winnie the Pooh from the Hundred-acre Woods and most of his animal friends, entered into public domain.
In fact, a horror film based on the popular bear is scheduled to be released following the expiration of Disney’s exclusive copyright.
In “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey”, written and directed by Rhys Waterfield, after being abandoned by their longtime companion Christopher
Robin, Pooh and his close friend Piglet embark on a gory murdering spree.
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