Which of these characters are public domain?

Is there a lawyer in the house?

 

We're not going to bore you with all the legal jargon surrounding intellectual property and the public domain. Obviously, there are a ton of details, loopholes, and qualifications. These are regulations surrounding mass media, so of course there's going to be a lot of discourse and contention. The laws surrounding the public domain are always being rewritten as media companies lobby for their own professional interests. 

The accepted understanding is that intellectual property law is expanded every few years as Mickey Mouse nears lapsing into public ownership. Whether that's true or not, there are a ton of characters who are owned by nobody in particular. That's what this quiz is about.

We'll name a character, you tell us whether they're in the public domain or not. Simple as that!

  1. Godzilla
  2. King Kong
  3. Aladdin
  4. Flash Gordon
  5. Winnie-the-Pooh
  6. Donald Duck
  7. Alice in Wonderland
  8. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
  9. Speedy Gonzalez
  10. Ichabod Crane

Which of these characters are public domain?

Your Result...

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74 Comments

Randall 6 months ago
Question, Would the Disney Winnie The Pooh be Not Public Domain weras the original Winnie The Pooh ( AA Milne?) Be pubic domain?
Tresix 8 months ago
9/10, shocked to learn Winnie-the-Pooh is public domain. I thought Disney held the copyright.
Pacificsun Tresix 8 months ago
Yeah, didn't they just mention that on Collectors Call (11/5/23)
Tresix 8 months ago
This comment has been removed.
HpHoward Tresix 8 months ago
They have to their OWN versions of Winnie... The character itself is now p.d. so whoever wishes to do their own version can, just don't make it a copy of the Disney version.
HpHoward 8 months ago
Surprised Kong is public domain also.
Fact is Disney "maneuvered" ( to phrase it nicely) several times to keep Mickey Mouse under copyright. Apparently though, even they have enough shame not to ask for more than 95 years, and he goes into public domain at year's end, at long last.
LoveMETV22 HpHoward 8 months ago
The 1928 Steamboat Willie version of Mickey Mouse "copyright" is the only thing going into Public Domain. The character itself is "trademarked" (which has no expiration). There's not a lot anyone will be able to do with that version, aside from airing it freely.

Ultimately, Mickey Mouse is still a legally protected "trademarked" Disney product as well as their other characters. Meaning no one can use the likeness of any of their characters without Disney's approval. In essence Disney hasn't lost anything.
HpHoward LoveMETV22 8 months ago
Technically you may be correct. All the same, courts have ruled that trademarks were not meant to REPLACE copyrights. Some companies are doing this, such as with Buck Rogers I believe. So far, the ploy hasn't been terribly successful as I understand it. A certain "Mr. Mouse" has already shown up in a famous ongoing animated series, with more to come if you wish to investigate.
Copyrights are generally 50 to 70 years in most countries I'm told. The 95 year thing badly needs to be reversed in the US. Permanent ownership was never intended, else there wouldn't be any public domain at all. Having it it extended linie this was one of Disney's more greedy financial crimes in my opinion. Most of us aren't going to live to be 95, so it's pretty absurd to start with.
LoveMETV22 HpHoward 8 months ago
I wasn't looking to be technical on it. But they should wrap copyright and trademark protection in to one package and that protection should be perpetual. Extend the amount of time that individuals etc.... need to renew that protection. or make it one and done. There's someone making money off that as well.

As far as Public domain and what you mention I don't agree with that regulation. Not to use Disney as an example (as there are many corporations, etc...) worked hard developing, creating, improving their products. It's their property....No one else's. And as such it should be preserved as theirs.

As the Public Domain Rule seems to have some ambiguity to it, regulators should focus on clarifying/simplifying that rule, as to what is or isn't allowed or remove the rule altogether.

By its definition it seems to be there to encourage new creative works, however in use it looks to be quite the opposite- as the public,individuals ,others are looking to piggy-back of others work. There doesn't seem to be any creativity involved there.
LoveMETV22 HpHoward 7 months ago
PS Add: Disney is also very generous with their " Disney's United States of Frozen! "program for schools nationwide through Music Theatre International and their support on other productions as well. Wouldn't exactly define them as greedy.(jmo).
bmoore4026 8 months ago
9 out of 10. I'm surprised King Kong is in the public domain.
texasluva 8 months ago
8 out of 10. Out of the public domain can be up to 99 years in some cases. The grandchildren of the original owner or of those who purchased the movie/show rights may still reap the benefits. It has to be renewed ever so often or it goes into public domain. Even movies in the 40's are still copyright owned and not PD. Alice In Wonderland (1951), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) or Citizen Kane (1941) not until 2036. Even movies where every actor and director have been long deceased. These laws have changed over time. George Romero by mistake let Night Of the Living Dead (1968) go PD (original distributor Walter Reade neglected to place a copyright on the prints.).
McGillahooala texasluva 8 months ago
Thanks for the detailed info. Very interesting.
HpHoward texasluva 8 months ago
Believe it's 95 in almost every case. I've noted here and there where items technically still under copyright are reissued in some form or other. I suppose so much material put there, mu j from companies with no successors, it's all but impossible to cover everything. Disney's meddling caused a lot of material which should be p.d. now not to be. I have little use firvthem frankly, as greed is not always good. These copyright laws are usually 50 to 70 years in almost all other nations btw.
MalachiCrunch 8 months ago
8/10
I was using the basis of 100 years or older. Flash must be real close!
Snickers 8 months ago
Won't be commenting for a while. Moving into my new digs in Fairbanks starting today.
Irish Snickers 8 months ago
Congratulations and good luck!
frenchman71 8 months ago
10/10, but I'll be honest with you all...every single answer was a guess. I deduced which character was more popular and to be used in other stories and advertisements. This was a hard quiz.
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