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Disney Loses Ownership Of Mickey Mouse As It Enters The Public Domain. But There’s A Catch

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The Disney mascot and one of the most recognizable figures in popular culture, Mickey Mouse, will be freed from its owner’s control the following year. According to the New York Times, “Steamboat Willie,” a 1928 animated short that debuted the character, is no longer protected by copyright. According to US copyright law, character rights expire 95 years after publication (for works published or registered before 1978). As a result, Disney, also known as the House of Mouse because of the character, may lose the right to use the name. However, that only applies to the character’s appearance in “Steamboat Willie.”

Mickey, as portrayed in “Steamboat Willie,” is very different from the innocent, anthropomorphic rodent we are familiar with today. His looks were more ratlike, and he had the potential to be vicious. Sadly, the more human Mickey still falls under copyright, and Disney will probably be very harsh with authors who use its symbol in their works without permission.

Walt Disney and artist Ub Iwerks jointly designed the character. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a former Disney character, was to be replaced by this one. It is best recognized for its distinctive appearance: red shorts with two white spots, yellow gloves, and large yellow shoes.

As the first animated figure to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Mickey Mouse has the honor. In most tales, Mickey is joined by supporting cast members like his girlfriend Minnie Mouse, his pet Pluto, Donald Duck, and Goofy.

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