Hope Thelps writes: A number of films including the earliest ones featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse finally enterd the public domain today.

The BBC reports:Steamboat Willie, a 1928 short film featuring early non-speaking versions of Mickey and Minnie, is widely seen as the moment that transformed Disney’s fortunes and made cinema history. Their images are now available to the public in the US, after Disney’s copyright expired. It means creatives like cartoonists can now rework and use the earliest versions of Mickey and Minnie. In fact, anyone can use those versions without permission or cost.

But Disney warned that more modern versions of Mickey are still covered by copyright. ‘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. US copyright law says the rights to characters can be held for 95 years,

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