END OF THE LINE FOR MICKEY MOUSE?
2024 may mark the end of the line for Walt Disney’s copyright protection for Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse first hit the big screen in 1928, which makes 2024 the 95th year from creation – the deadline for copyright protection. Once that iteration of Mickey Mouse enters the public domain, content creators will be able to use it to tell their own stories.
What does that mean for the loveable rodent? Hard to say, but it’s likely no comfort to know that Winnie the Pooh and Piglet are about to be stars of a horror film called “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey,” a horror film in which Pooh and Piglet go on a violent killing spree. I wish I were making that up.
Disney will not be left completely defenseless. Although the copyright will expire, its trademark protection will live on. The issue there will be whether the new content confuses viewers into thinking there is some connection with Disney. This could mean that the less appropriate Mickey’s behavior, the less likelihood of confusion. One can only imagine what we may see going forward. I suppose we’ll know soon enough, but 2024 may not be a Happy New Year for the folks at Disney.