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A Classic Mickey Mouse Enters the Public Domain

A Classic Version of Mickey Mouse Enters the Public Domain

The old version of Mickey Mouse, including the iconic ‘Steamboat Willie’ from 1928, is now in the public domain.

  • Three NFT collections related to this old version have dominated the trends on OpenSea.
  • The collection ‘Steamboat Willie Public Domain 2024’ reached $1.2 million in transaction volume.

A Powerful Impact on Some NFT Collections

On January 1st, an old version of Mickey Mouse, first appearing in the 1928 short film ‘Steamboat Willie’, entered the public domain.

This version of Mickey Mouse, after almost a century, saw its copyright expire, in accordance with the US law that limits the duration of copyright to 95 years. This expiration has had a significant impact on the NFT market, where three collections related to this version of Mickey Mouse have taken the top three spots on OpenSea’s 24-hour trends list.

Among them is the ‘Steamboat Willie’ collection that claimed the top spot, followed by ‘Steamboat Willie Public Domain 2024’ and ‘Steamboat Willie’s Riverboat’, although this ranking regularly changes.

‘Steamboat Willie Public Domain 2024’, the most traded collection among the three, has a total exchange volume of 416 ETH, which is nearly $1 million.

Disney Remains Cautious About Illegal Use of Its Characters

Although the copyright on this version of Mickey Mouse has expired, Disney has reminded the public that modern versions of Mickey are still protected by copyright law.

A Disney spokesperson told CNN that the company will continue to protect its rights over modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works still subject to copyright. They also highlighted their intention to combat consumer confusion caused by ‘unauthorized uses of Mickey and other iconic Disney characters’.

In the end, this situation raises questions about the future of using classic characters in NFTs and how companies like Disney will manage their intellectual properties in this constantly evolving space.

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