Disney May Finally Lose the Rights to Mickey Mouse

Disney May Finally Lose the Rights to Mickey Mouse

Disney May LOSE the Rights to One of Their Most Beloved Characters

(FeaturedNews.com) – A copyright for a work from an unknown author or made under a for-hire agreement expires after 95 years from the first publication date. Mickey Mouse has this type of protection, and his first publication was the 1928 cartoon “Steamboat Willie.” That means Disney’s copyright will expire in 2024.

When that happens, Mickey Mouse will enter the public domain, meaning Disney would no longer hold the exclusive right to use the character; it would become available to anyone. But Disney may have ways to stop the free-for-all use of its most prominent character.

The Associate Director of the Documentary Film Legal Clinic at UCLA School of Law, Daniel Mayeda, explains the current version of the beloved rodent remains under copyright. Therefore, only the “Steamboat Willie” design is losing its protection.

Additionally, Disney could make trademark claims on the use of the character because he is such a large part of the company’s public image. The corporation has an extensive list of trademarks, so many potential uses for the mouse would violate this protection, which doesn’t have an expiration date like copyrights.

Still, eventually, the company could lose many of its copyright protections for art and characters that have been foundational to the company. If that day comes, will Disney have a future without Mickey Mouse?

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