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Sunday, December 17, 2023 

Earliest versions of Mickey & Minnie Mouse will become public domain in 2024

The Daily Wire says it looks like not just Mickey Mouse, but also Minnie Mouse, will enter public domain this coming year, as will Tigger from A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh:
The earliest versions of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, featured in the 1928 short “Steamboat Willie,” will become available for public use beginning January 1, 2024.

This is the first time that any version of the iconic Disney character will no longer be subject to copyright protections, according to The Associated Press. “This is it. This is Mickey Mouse. This is exciting because it’s kind of symbolic,” Jennifer Jenkins, a professor of law and director of Duke’s Center for the Study of Public Domain, said of the development. “I kind of feel like the pipe on the steamboat, like expelling smoke. It’s so exciting.”

[...] Besides the original Mickey and Minnie characters, the “Winnie the Pooh” character Tigger will also enter the public domain on January 1.
Previously, it was unclear if Minnie would see the copyright expire so soon, but if that's the case, it'll be just as fortunate for her as it is for Mickey. After one of the recent cartoon shorts that saw Minnie belittled in alarmingly crude fashion, that's why it'll hopefully be better if the lady mouse will head for public domain. Naturally, that all depends on if any artists and writers with a sense of responsibility will be willing to do justice for the classic rodent couple. So let's hope there's some good cartoonists out there making plans.

It is odd though, how early versions of these classic characters could be the ones entering public domain, and not necessarily the newer editions. I'd sometimes noticed Golden Age Superman mentioned in past news commentaries as the version that could become public domain, if and when it happens. But seriously, it should be the case even with the newer takes on the Man of Steel, and just the old. Same will go for Captain America, if Steve Rogers too ever enters public domain.

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