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Florida Baseball Team Reveals Public Domain “Steamboat Willie” Jerseys

Steamboat Baseball
Credit: Disney, Canva

Steamboat Willie, the iconic animated short film featuring the debut of Mickey Mouse, has entered the public domain as of 2024. This milestone event marks a significant shift in the availability and accessibility of this classic piece of animation history. As a result of its entry into the public domain, Steamboat Willie is now open for creative reinterpretation and exploration by artists, filmmakers, and enthusiasts alike.

Many creatives are taking advantage of this change and creating Steamboat Willie merchandise, movies, video games, and more. Now, a sports team has decided to include the iconic Mickey Mouse character as well.

Related: Disney Files Copyright Claim Against Fan Days After Steamboat Willie Hits the Public Domain

steamboat willie

Credit: Walt Disney Animation

Mickey Mouse to Become a Sports Icon

When Steamboat Willie joined the public domain, it was a massive moment for the Walt Disney Company. The public domain status of Steamboat Willie opens up possibilities for innovative projects that can pay homage to the original while adding fresh perspectives and contemporary relevance to Mickey Mouse’s inaugural on-screen appearance.

Of the many ways to use this iconic intellectual property, one sports team has found perhaps one of the most creative opportunities. For a special public domain theme night, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, a minor league baseball team in Florida, will don jerseys showcasing iconic images that have transitioned out of copyright protection. Among the notable designs featured on the jerseys are Van Gogh’s timeless masterpiece, “Starry Night,” the iconic King Kong, and Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie.

Related: ‘Steamboat Willie’ Is About to Become a Part of Your Nightmares

steamboat willie

Credit: Walt Disney Animation

A Controversial Choice

While some find this jersey to be comical, other Disney fans are not so pleased with the choice. Many find the use of Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse to be offensive. Still, what this team is doing is completely legal, and it certainly won’t be the last time Disney fans see situations such as this one.

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp

Credit: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp

In light of this milestone event, the significance of Steamboat Willie entering the public domain extends beyond mere legal implications. It paves the way for creative exploration and innovation, allowing artists, filmmakers, and enthusiasts to reimagine and pay homage to this foundational piece of animation that paved the way for Mickey Mouse to become the cultural icon he is today.

About Eva Miller

Eva was born and raised in the beautiful state of Oregon but has since relocated and lives in New York City. Since she was young, Eva has loved to perform in musicals, especially Disney ones! Through performing, Disney’s music became the soundtrack of her childhood. Today, Eva loves to write about all the exciting happenings for the Walt Disney Company. In her free time, Eva loves to travel, spend time in nature, and go to Broadway shows. Her favorite Disney movie is 'Lilo and Stitch,' and her favorite Park is Disney's Animal Kingdom.

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