Lincoln East High School's home of Spartan news

The Oracle

Lincoln East High School's home of Spartan news

The Oracle

Lincoln East High School's home of Spartan news

The Oracle

Oh boy! Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” enters public domain

Disneys+Steamboat+Willie+entered+the+public+domain+on+January+1%2C+2024.+The+copyright+protection+for+the+film+and+character+ran+for+95+years+until+the+first+of+the+year.
Photo by Louis Hoffman
Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” entered the public domain on January 1, 2024. The copyright protection for the film and character ran for 95 years until the first of the year.

On January 1, 2024, copyright protection for Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” expired, meaning the film and characters portrayed are now public domain. “Steamboat Willie” originally premiered November 18, 1928 and was the first introduction of the character Mickey Mouse who was originally called Mortimer Mouse.

The Disney company has been known for their strict value of copyright laws, which protect created works or intellectual property. Disney heavily promoted the Copyright Act of 1976 which prevented unauthorized copying of intellectual property, though the idea behind the work themselves could be copied. 1998’s “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” extended the number of years that a work is protected by copyright to 95 years to prevent “Steamboat Willie” from becoming public domain.

“Steamboat Willie in the public domain is where intellectual property gets interesting because it’s a character that has been around for so long and is loved by so many people,” English teacher Antonio Hamersky said. “After a certain amount of time it is free for anyone to use.”

Although “Steamboat Willie” is the first Disney creation to become public domain, many of the movies are based on public domain stories such as “Cinderella”, “The Little Mermaid”, “Snow White”, and the Seven Dwarves” among others. Artists are using this new resource in their own work, which is garnering mixed emotions.

“For the most part the use of other people’s character is totally fine as long as you put your own spin on it,” former Arts and Humanities student Liz Rankin said. “While the character might be public domain, that is still a piece of art that someone created.”

Steven LaMorte, is to direct one of two “Steamboat Willie” horror films coming out in 2024. The other Mickey Mouse horror film entitled “Mickey’s Mouse Trap” is to be directed by James Bailey.

“We all love to take ideas and make them our own because that’s what we humans do in order for us to create new ideas,” said Antonio Hamersky.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Louis Hoffman, Staff Writer
Louis Hoffman is in his junior year at Lincoln East High school, and his first year on the Oracle staff. There are 6 people in his family, 7 if you count his pet gecko, Gary. In his free time he plays guitar, and watches lots of tv shows and movies. His favorite food is hamburgers, but he likes to try new things. He doesn’t believe in social media, rather prefers to live his life more “off the grid.” His passions for music and the arts is why people locally may come to know the name of the famous “Louis Hoffman.”

Comments (0)

All The Oracle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *