“Steamboat Willie,” the 1928 short film that launched Mickey Mouse and the Disney empire, has become public domain as of today.

The likes of Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando,” Charlie Chaplin’s “The Circus,” “Buster Keaton’s “The Cameraman” and Tigger from AA Milne’s “The House at Pooh Corner” are also now in the public domain as of today.

But if you think this will lead to a rush of Mickey Mouse parodies, you many have to slow your roll as the notoriously litigious Disney is making it clear that many of the more modern touches of the character – his voice, gloves, smile, pants, etc. – remain very much their copyright.

In a statement to Deadline, a Disney spokesperson says:

“More modern versions of Mickey will remain unaffected by the expiration of the Steamboat Willie copyright, and Mickey will continue to play a leading role as a global ambassador for the Walt Disney Company in our storytelling, theme park attractions, and merchandise.

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, and we will work to safeguard against consumer confusion caused by unauthorized uses of Mickey and our other iconic characters.”

In addition, though the copyright has expired, the entirely separate trademarks have no expiration – that includes the name Mickey Mouse.

Even so, things have already begun with a just-launched trailer for the co-op survival horror video game “Infestation 88” revealing a twisted version of the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey as its final boss.

The post Disney On Steamboat Willie In Public Domain appeared first on Dark Horizons.

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