Winnie the Pooh and Bambi are entering the public domain in the US, what does this mean for Disney?


The original Winnie-the-Pooh story written by British A.A. Milne (and illustrated by E.H. Shepard) and Bambi, Felix Saltine’s A Life in the Woods is now in the public domain in America. According to the copyright law explained by the Duke University Center for Public Domain Studies in North Carolina: “When works are 95 years old, they can be shared legally, without permission or fees. Something that Winnie the Pooh values, as it helps allow access to cultural materials that could otherwise get lost in history. Mention the document written by the center’s director, Jennifer Jenkins.

The text also indicates that literary works from 1926 are not only open, as a large number of audio recordings have also been added to the public domain, estimated at over 400,000 audio recordings from before 1923. “When business enters the public domain in 2022, anyone will be able to rescue it from darkness and make it available, to be able to discover it, enjoy it, and give it new life.”

What does this mean for both Disney movies?

Knowing that all Disney mods are protected by copyright, as are subsequent works by the authors of Bambi and Winnie the Pooh. Only modifications, blends, or continuations of both stories should be based on original works published in 1926. In this way, Disney retains the rights to its animated films, but the original characters and stories are left free for new films, books, etc.

In an interview with American Public Radio in the previous days with Jennifer Jenkins, as an expert on the subject, what does it really mean for characters like Bambi and Winnie the Pooh to enter the public sphere? To which project manager at Duke University He clarified that Disney still has the copyright to its latest films, eg Winnie-the-Pooh. As well as record the words of Winnie-the-Pooh. “We’re not talking about sticking Disney’s Winnie the Pooh on a backpack or pajama or lunch box. We’re talking about literary work, that great A.A. Milne book from 1926.” This is in the public domain, and we can all revisit and re-imagine it and write our own version.” Jenkins replied in the interview.

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Although Disney will lose the rights to Mickey Mouse in 2024The company took advantage of this law that assigned many of its animation works to public domain works such as: Cinderella, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland and most recently “The Snow Queen”. Renamed as Frozen.

It also highlights the enormous influence of Disney on copyright law in the United States, which faced the prospect of losing rights to the world’s most famous mouse, and managed to extend the legal term from 75 to 95 years in a matter of signed in 1998.

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