Mickey goes public – Disney might lose exclusive rights to its mascot

Mickey goes public – Disney might lose exclusive rights to its mascot

Mickey Mouse will enter the public domain in 2024, because of copyright laws that state intellectual property expires at 95 years

WHILE in the last couple decades Disney has expanded to own the animated studio Pixar, the entertainment juggernaut that is Marvel Studios, and the iconic Star Wars franchise, for most it will always be the House of Mouse.

However, that might be changing as The Walt Disney Company could soon lose the exclusive rights to Mickey Mouse in less than two years, following US copyright laws that say that intellectual property on an artistic work expires on its 95th anniversary.

Mickey is easily one of the most recognisable characters in the world, with even the silhouette of his ears known to perhaps billions – both the young and young at heart. And where you find Mickey, you will find Disney.

The character premiered way back in 1928, the brainchild of Walt Disney himself and animator Ub Iwerks. Disney originally wanted to name him Mortimer Mouse, but his wife Lillian suggested Mickey instead.

Back then Disney’s copyright of him was protected for 56 years, but before it could expire, Disney lobbied for the Copyright Act of 1976 which extended protections to 75 years. Then in 1998, Disney pushed for a further extension – which it received – to 95 years.

It is entirely possible that the massive entertainment company might move ahead with another extension in the near future, but they have yet to make public any such plans.

What happens if the copyright expires?

Basically, anyone who wants to use Mickey won’t have to request permission from Disney or have to pay the company copyright charges, allowing the possibility of the character appearing in non-Disney stories.

“You can use the Mickey Mouse character as it was originally created to create your own Mickey Mouse stories or stories with this character,” Daniel Mayeda, UCLA School of Law associate director of the Film Legal Clinic at UCLA School of Law to The Guardian.

“But if you do so in a way that people will think of Disney – which is kind of likely because they have been investing in this character for so long – then in theory, Disney could say you violated my copyright.”

Over the past century, Mickey has appeared in over 130 films alongside Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck and Goofy, among others.

source – The Vibes


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