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The titles of Winnie the Pooh and Bambi are now in the public domain. What happens next?


Each year, published works that include books, movies, and songs fall into what is known as the “public domain,” meaning that the copyrighted material above may be shared, adapted, or performed without paying a fee. license fee to the copyright holder of this work.

Steamboat Willie enters the public domain in 2024 © Disney

After a 95-year copyright term, works published in 1926 officially entered the public domain as of January 1, 2022. Which works were included in this year’s list? Maybe you recognize a couple!

Disney fans can recognize two notable book titles that are now in the public domain: the book Winnie-the-Pooh by AA Milne (including illustrations by EH Shepard), as well as the book Bambi: A Life in the Wodes by Felix Salten (who inspired the 1942 Disney animated film).

silly old bear!

This means, for example, that these two books could be adapted into movies without having to pay a license fee to previous copyright holders. Have you ever dreamed of making your own Bambi adaptation based on the book by Felix Salten? You can do it now for free!

Bambi and Thumper

It is important to note here that, according to Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, only the first Winnie the Pooh the book published in 1926 will pass into the public domain (because in 2022 it will only host works published specifically in 1926 in the public domain). This means that all subsequent stories, books, movies, and adaptations involving Pooh will not enter the public domain for a few more years, including Pooh Corner’s house, which will not enter the public domain until 2024.

The piglet is here!

Even the character Tigger didn’t show up until 1928, so it’s been a few years since our favorite bouncing tiger entered the public domain. For now, the first book and illustrations included by EH Shepard are now in the public domain (including original iterations of Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Owl, and Christopher). Robin).

Tigger!

Another character introduced in 1928 copyright is about to expire: Mickey Mouse. Mickey officially enters the public domain in 2024 with his first cartoons Willie steamer i The galloping gaucho, unless the copyright law was then altered to allow for an extension. That means companies outside of Disney I could use Mickey in their own merchandise, as long as they use their original 1928 image. etc.).

Mickey Mouse

We still have a few years to go before most of Disney’s first properties enter the public domain. For example, the Walt Disney Company’s first feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, does not enter the public domain until 2032.

Snow White © Disney

As more characters, pictures, books, and movies enter the public domain over the next few years, things may start to look a little different to the Walt Disney Company! Be sure to follow along as we continue to cover stories like these, along with the latest theme park news and announcements.

Click here to read about how a company is looking to monetize the appearance of Mickey in 1928 which will soon enter the public domain.

Do you have a Disney World vacation planned for 2022? Let us know in the comments!

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