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Disney Loses Mickey Mouse

On 18 November 1928, Walt Disney released an animated short called Steamboat Willie. This marked the official introduction of Mickey Mouse, who would go on to be one of the most well-known corporate mascots of all time.

Back then, copyright laws were different than they are today. At the time, copyrighted works of art were under copyright for 56 years, which means Steamboat Willie should have entered the public domain in 1984. However, Disney lobbied to have the laws changed, expanding the protection to 75 years. Which would have made Steamboat Willie public domain in 2003. Except they did it again in 1998 and extended protection to 95 years, which ended in 2024.

The copyright journey is long and complicated. So here's a lawyer explaining it.

Point is, they weren't able to get the copyright laws changed again. So as of 1 January 2024, Steamboat Willie (and that version of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse) has entered the public domain.

So you're probably wondering why I am talking about it on this site? Because try as they might, Disney was unable to stop the inevitable. They did everything they could to hold onto their property, but in the end it didn't even matter.

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

These verses reminds us that time is inevitable and catches up to everyone, just like how Disney eventually lost the copyright to Steamboat Willie. It serves as a reminder that no matter how successful or powerful someone or something may seem, time will eventually catch up to them. This can be a valuable lesson to incorporate into your life, showing how even the most iconic and influential entities are not exempt from the passage of time. It also emphasizes the importance of cherishing the time we have and making the most of it.


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