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DINOSAUR closed for refurbishment July 25 - November 20 2016

Bairstow

Well-Known Member
Mickey should not be in the public domain because the character has become a Trademark of Disney that represents the brand. Trademarks don't go into the public domain. While the story for Steamboat Willie will end up in the public domain, somebody couldn't make a copy of it and use the likeness of Mickey Mouse in it. They could use Ronald Rat and make a character that looks completely different and remake the movie. They could even call it Steamboat Willie.

King Kong doesn't represent any company. Therefore he was only protected by copyright and would therefore end up in the public domain.

I'd have to get a law degree to figure out something like The Peanuts. Does Snoopy or Charlie brown represent a company and qualify for Trademark? What about the other characters? Big Bird would probably qualify for a Trademark. Darth Vader, probably not.

Trademark law and copyright law are totally separate animals.
You can totally have a trademark that contains or references concepts, images, and prior works that are in the public domain.
38d7d323-2e61-481a-a309-8d95c4af91ad_1.9a270198b1efe601959a4d9e2f38e37b.jpeg
 

DisneyCane

Well-Known Member
Trademark law and copyright law are totally separate animals.
You can totally have a trademark that contains or references concepts, images, and prior works that are in the public domain.
38d7d323-2e61-481a-a309-8d95c4af91ad_1.9a270198b1efe601959a4d9e2f38e37b.jpeg

That was my point. By trademarking Mickey Mouse, Disney can keep it out of the public domain. Especially since they use the character for so many things. If somebody tried to make a Mickey Mouse peanut butter, Disney could easily argue that the public would associate it with a Disney product since they provide character licensing on food products.
 

Cmdr_Crimson

Well-Known Member
That was my point. By trademarking Mickey Mouse, Disney can keep it out of the public domain. Especially since they use the character for so many things. If somebody tried to make a Mickey Mouse peanut butter, Disney could easily argue that the public would associate it with a Disney product since they provide character licensing on food products.

Case in point....
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Tiny Arms

Member

AEfx

Well-Known Member
That was my point. By trademarking Mickey Mouse, Disney can keep it out of the public domain. Especially since they use the character for so many things. If somebody tried to make a Mickey Mouse peanut butter, Disney could easily argue that the public would associate it with a Disney product since they provide character licensing on food products.

It's soooooooo not that cut and dry.

When these laws were written, it simply wasn't a concept yet that the same thing could be subject to both a trademark and a copyright. Trademarks were not intended to circumvent copyright law.

It's going to need to be decided by the courts when it comes up. You'll notice Disney has been on a kick with "vintage Mickey" merchandise the past few years. I think that is in anticipation of this, and they will try to use your argument, but there is no guarantee it will go that way and the spirit of the law is against them.

That's why I think you'll see the character of Mickey be broken up into parts - vintage Mickey vs modern Mickey.

There is a reason that the last copyright law revision was nicknamed the "Mickey Mouse act" - because of the age of their products, Disney is the first to test most of these laws. The environment politically (nothing to do with the election but just general feeling about the appearance of corporate lobbies) has changed considerably since the last revision. There is no way the law is going to be revised again in the favor of even longer copyright terms, and it will be up to the courts to decide if trademark law trumps copyright - which again, in the spirit of copyright law to begin with - isn't terribly likely to go in Disney's favor.

What I believe will happen is that the vintage Mickey character will lose protection, but the more modern Mickey's will retain protection based on when they were updated.
 

Pi on my Cake

Well-Known Member
Have we gotten any kind of confirmation (from Disney or from an insider) that any new effects will be added or old ones fixed? My understanding is that the only confirmed thing they were doing was fixing flooding and damage from flooding and people just assumed effect fixes or additions since it is taking so long.
 

21stamps

Well-Known Member
Mickey should not be in the public domain because the character has become a Trademark of Disney that represents the brand. Trademarks don't go into the public domain. While the story for Steamboat Willie will end up in the public domain, somebody couldn't make a copy of it and use the likeness of Mickey Mouse in it. They could use Ronald Rat and make a character that looks completely different and remake the movie. They could even call it Steamboat Willie.

King Kong doesn't represent any company. Therefore he was only protected by copyright and would therefore end up in the public domain.

I'd have to get a law degree to figure out something like The Peanuts. Does Snoopy or Charlie brown represent a company and qualify for Trademark? What about the other characters? Big Bird would probably qualify for a Trademark. Darth Vader, probably not.

Does Cedar Fair own The Peanuts? I know their parks are centered around them, don't know the trademark or copyright laws though.
 

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