Is the Jig Finally Up for Mickey Mouse?

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As you all know, copyright terms have been steadily lengthened via congressional action. Currently, the term is the life of the author plus 70 years. For works authored by corporations—Superman, Mickey Mouse, etc.—the term is 95 years. Thanks to a retroactive clause passed in 1976, the magic cutoff year for corporate creations is currently 1922. Anything published in 1922 or before is in the public domain. Anything after that is still under copyright.

So what happens in 2018? That’s only five years away! Well, it’s 95 years from 1923, which means that works published in 1923 fall out of copyright. Every year after that, more and more old works enter the public domain. And in 2023 the boom falls: Mickey Mouse will no longer be under copyright.

Will Disney put up with this? Or will they team up with the usual suspects to get the term of copyright extended even further? Tim Lee gives us the lay of the land here.

UPDATE: Sorry, but I bolloxed up the explanation of why 1922 is the current cutoff year for copyright. It’s fixed now.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

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