What an iconic character Mickey Mouse is. I'd be surprised if there's anyone who doesn't know or at least recognize Mickey created by Walt Disney. He was first brought to life in his very first movie, Steamboat Willie in 1928. And as they say, the rest is history.

As a matter of fact, according to the Disney Tips website this cultural phenomenon changed animation history as we know it. The film debuted on November 18 not only introducing the world to Mickey but marking a revolutionary moment as the first cartoon to feature synchronized sound and music.

However, Mickey is now free with the end of an era. We knew, according to The Guardian, that Mickey Mouse was going to enter the public domain nearly 95 years after his creation as the copyright by Disney would end on December 31, 2023 if Disney didn't do anything.

Disney lost its copyright protection for Steamboat Willie on January 1, 2024, according to the Disney Tips website. This means that Steamboat Willie has entered the public domain, allowing the iconic image of Mickey to be freely used by the public.

Disney Fans Attend "Minnie Besties Bash!” Parade
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So yes it's already happened with a knife-wielding Micky Mouse as a murderer out now in a horror movie.

However, it's worth noting that according to The Guardian, Disney retains its copyright on any subsequent variations in other films or artwork since the 1928 debut. That is until those characters reach the 95-year mark. In legal speak, that's the length of time when copyright on an anonymous or pseudo-anonymous body of artistic work expires.

According to the Disney Tips website, Disney itself is not losing the trademark to Mickey Mouse so technically Disney can do whatever it wants, celebrate however it likes, and enjoy the legendary mouse with the rest of the world any way it wants.

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