Since his debut in 1928 in Plane Crazy he has been a sensation, that is the “Mickey Mouse”; This very creation no doubt made Walt Disney Studio’s the home staple that he is today, spawning hundreds of franchises, toys, and animated adventures. Though to their chagrin Mickey Mouse has been released to the public domain, spawning multiple creative works based on the beloved Musculus!
But Disney has known of the public domain and have prepared for it for years to come. How? By making another Mickey Mouse, there are two versions of Mickey Mouse, the one that is in public domain, frequently called, ‘Steamboat Willie’ named after his most popular showing also in 1928. The second one still fully owned by Disney, Mickey Mouse Known for his red pants, yellow shoes and white-powder gloves known as the ‘modern’ Mickey starring in many shows such as, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and “Mickey Mouse”.
Disney has been trying to avoid the inevitable opening of Mickey Mouse’s profitability and have dodged it for years. Even doing so far as to push an extension to Mickey Mouse’s copyright to 95 years, known as the “Mickey Mouse Clause”. Disney and the United States government have collaborated under this the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” through lobbying. Knowing this, you wonder why Disney is so protective about Mickey? Public domain is one of the main origins of their stories and movies, such as The Lion King being inspired by Hamlet (Shakespeare), or Frozen being inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
The creativity Disney has spawned with their works is endless, but still hypocritical, no doubt to the business side of it all. Disney’s hard fight has eroded the meaning of public domain and the worlds true creative prowess. Mickey means a lot to the people, but to Disney it means a rich domain that will now be even richer, just not to Disney.