Disney still issued a reminder that they have rights over current iterations of Mickey and Minnie. “We will, of course, continue to protect our rights in the more modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works that remain subject to copyright,” the company said.
In addition to these two Disney characters, the copyright claims to other well-known films, books, music, and characters from 1928 are now open to the public. Other items include Charlie Chaplin’s silent romantic comedy The Circus, English author AA Milne’s book The House at Pooh Corner, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, and DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
Mickey and Minnie’s copyright was originally set to expire in 1984, but Congress lengthened Disney’s claim to the characters by 20 years—and then, in 2004, Congress once again extended the expiry to 2024.