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New Year and new public domain works

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Happy New Year, dear reader! Welcome to 2024. Hopefully it will be better than the last several years, especially 2020.

Also, happy Public Domain Day!

Here in the States, creative copyrighted works enter the public domain 70 years after the author’s death. Many other countries have similar timelines, although some have shorter time frames of 60 or 50 years.

Being a writer I of course am interested in this topic. I have works out there, and I need to be aware of when they go into public domain after I die. Or rather, my estate does. I probably won’t ever be in a position that it will matter that much, but you never know. One of my goals has always been to be as popular as Edgar Rice Burroughs. His estate keeps track of all the Tarzan and John Carter of Mars properties out there.

The big news for Public Domain Day 2024 is that Mickey Mouse (and his girlfriend Minnie) finally enters the public domain. This means anyone can go make their own products with Mickey Mouse and not have to pay anything to Disney for the privilege. It was the Disney company that pushed heavily for the extension to copyright laws to go to 70 years after the death of the author so they could keep the Mouse under close guard.

Now, you can’t do everything with Mickey and Minnie. You can only do things with the version of Mickey and Minnie from the silent movie version as depicted in the short animated film Steamboat Willie, and the earlier short Plane Crazy. They did not speak in these versions (so no using Mickey’s voice), he was not the happy, shy mouse we’ve come to know and love (so no Mickey personality) and he didn’t yet have the iconic look of the modern day Mouse (so no Mickey distinctive style.)

You can use the drawn version of the Mickey as he appears in Steamboat Willie, you can give him a different voice, and have him run off in wacky adventures of his own, different than the one in Steamboat Willie.

Anyway, whether you do anything with the Mouse or not, I hope this year is a boon to you, dear reader.

If you’d like to support my efforts, why not buy me a chocolate chip cookie through my Ko-Fi page?

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