Public domain in 2024: Mickey and Peter

Public domain in 2024: Mickey and Peter

Who hasn't heard this big news since the start of the New Year?
The world's most famous mouse and Disney Studios mascot, Mickey Mouse, enters the public domain in 2024. Yes, it's true.
At least, in part...

In fact, it's Steamboat Willie, the first animated film in which he starred, that is entering the public domain. So it is this very specific version of Mickey that is copyright-free. The one in which he is portrayed in black and white, without his famous white gloves and drawn in that emblematic rubber hose animation style.

Rest assured that the company will not allow any other version of the little mouse to be used without their agreement. It's best to think twice before using the iconic mouse. Otherwise, you might just lose your cheese!

Once again, in the United States, it's the theatrical version of Peter Pan that finally finds itself in the public domain. Interestingly, its author, J. M. Barrie, assigned the rights to Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital back in 1929.

And did you know that in the UK, an amendment to this Copyright Act was made in 1988 specifically for Peter Pan? This change gives Great Ormond Street Hospital the unique right to collect royalties on certain reproductions of Peter Pan. Throughout the UK, and in perpetuity. A rare exception.

Given the enormous popularity of his creation, its creator was certainly aware of the significant economic spin-offs and long-term gains it could offer the hospital.

A wise choice, Mr. Barrie!

Helpful hints

➤ Copyright law varies from country to country.
It's best to be well-informed before assuming a work is royalty-free.

➤ Did you know that in Canada, no other work will be free of copyright until January 1, 2043?
A public domain freeze has been in place since 2023.
A welcome break for Canadian rights holders.

Want to know more?

A text by Fanie Grégoire - Communications Officer at Copibec

The information Copibec offers is a general explanation of the Copyright Act.
It is not intended as legal advice.
For rules specific to your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.