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Disney Officially Loses Rights To Mickey Mouse, Multiple Characters Next

mickey mouse through the years
Credit: Walt Disney Animation

Is Disney losing the rights to Mickey Mouse? That seems strange. Well, sadly, it is true Mickey Mouse will be returning to the public domain.

2024 will mark a significant milestone in the world of copyright and intellectual property as Mickey Mouse, the beloved and iconic character created by Walt Disney, is entering the public domain in the United States. This means that anyone, including individuals, artists, and creators, could now use the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey Mouse as a character in their works as long as he resembled the 1928 incarnation.

mickey and minnie mouse in 1928

Credit: Walt Disney Animation

This may leave fans wondering if Disney is losing the rights to beloved Mickey: Who will be the next character to go? The most popular FAB 5 character that will be returning to the domain soon is Pluto, first seen in 1930 and projected to enter the public domain in 2025. Mickey’s girlfriend Minnie Mouse came alive in 1928 and is projected to enter the public domain in 2024, as well, alongside Mickey. Well, at least this early version of Minnie Mouse.

Last but not least, Donald Duck became a lovable, funny character in 1934, which means Disney will be letting him go in 2029.

Globaltoynews shared a list of the next characters who will be entering to the public domain. The amount of characters that will soon be heading into the public domain is astounding, and includes Superman, Daffy Duck, Batman, The Flash, Captain America, James Bond, Aquaman, and several other characters that will be heading towards the public domain by 2036.

disney movies marvel studios avengers actor jeremy renner heart attack hawkeye clint barton on set captain america black widow

Credit: Marvel Studios

While these characters may go into the public domain, they may be trademarked and protected. Such as Disney may still hold trademarks on the name Mickey Mouse and his distinctive image, which includes his red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves. This means that while you can use the character, you may need to be cautious about how you use his name and likeness to avoid infringing on Disney’s trademarks.

the walt disney company original name roy o disney pixar animation studios bob iger mickey mouse lucky rabbit Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio alice comedies steamboat willie

Credit: Disney

Since Mickey Mouse going into the public domain means creators can only recreate his image from 1928 this means Mickey will most likely look like the 1928 version of Steamboat Willie, which was the first image of Mickey Mouse.

Mickey Mouse was created in 1928 and saw multiple copyright extensions, leading to his entry into the public domain in 2024. However, the rules are different for characters created later, such as Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and other Disney characters.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming characters heading towards the public domain?

About Brittni Ward

Brittni is a Disney and Universal fan; one of her favorite things at both parks is collecting popcorn buckets. While at Disney World Resort, Brittni meets the princesses and rides Kilimanjaro Safaris. At Universal, Brittni enjoys the Minions and watching Animal Actors on Location! When not at Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando, Brittni spends time with her family and pets.

8 comments

  1. The rat is out of the bag…..

  2. Don’t take Mickey mouse away or Minnie mouse either.
    That is the only one I know.
    My mother was born on mickey mouse and Minnie mouse birthday.

    • Near as I see it, if Disney and the family of Disney really cared, they would have fought to keep the rights to this micky mouse. Obviously they don’t. Shame on the children of Disney for ruining their fathers legacy

  3. It’s free real estate

  4. If they’re putting stipulations on how you can use the image, then is it really free to recreate? I sense copyright lawsuits by Disney lawyers to recoup their losses.

  5. What is wrong with disney for letting this iconic figure be free to everyone and allow them to profit from all of wants hard work to promote him.

  6. I Don’t Understand why Disney is losing the rights the Fab 5 when they just lost the rights to Oswald and now this Walt created those characters specifically for his company and for Mickey to become the main mascot for the fandom and it’s gonna leave so many fans disappointed and sad especially children.

  7. Is really sad if this iconic figure is up for grabs for anyone to use.