Now in the public domain! Mickey Mouse, Winnie-the-Pooh's pal Tigger, and more

Books, movies, characters that come out of copyright restriction in 2024

Scott Chambers (left), who plays Christopher Robin, and director Rhys Frake-Waterfield of 2023 horror film 'Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood & Honey', whose 2024 sequel is set of feature newly out-of-copyright Tigger too (photo courtesy IMDb)
Scott Chambers (left), who plays Christopher Robin, and director Rhys Frake-Waterfield of 2023 horror film 'Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood & Honey', whose 2024 sequel is set of feature newly out-of-copyright Tigger too (photo courtesy IMDb)
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NH Entertainment Bureau

Anticipation of older creative works coming into the public domain and out of the ambit of copyright law restrictions is always rife on Public Domain Day at the beginning of every new year—but 2024's has at least one tiny character that stands head and shoulders above even the giants on this annual list.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie, in their original gloveless avatars from Steamboat Willie, are finally free—to use, while always respecting Disney's standing trademark, of course.

And what better use could they have than a new slasher film based on the original? It's success is of course guaranteed, and evidenced by the mind-boggling popularity of Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, which came out last year and harnered US$ 4.9 million—and is thus ripe for a sequel, including Pooh bear's bouncy pal Tigger, who also emerges from copyright capture this year.

What else is new in the public domain? A lot of poetry and painting...

Books and other literature:

  • Writings of Dylan Thomas

  • Works of W.H. Auden

  • The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (in the US)*

  • Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence (in the US)*

  • Virginia Woolf's Orlando (in the US)*

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque in its original German edition (Im Westen nichts Neues) (in the US)*

  • The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (in the US)*

  • The first 11 Edgar Rice Burroughs books on Tarzan, beginning with Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle

  • André Breton's Nadja (in the US)*

  • W.E.B Du Bois' Dark Princess (in the US)*

  • Siegfried Sassoon's Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man (in the US)*

  • H.G. Wells' The Open Conspiracy (in the US)*

  • Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall (in the US)*

  • J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion, etc — but only in countries with a 'life plus 50 years' copyright limitation

  • Dhan Gopal Mukerji's Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon (in the US)*

  • Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Views the Body

  • Aldous Huxley's Point Counter Point

* These are already in the public domain in countries where copyright law stipulates 50 years from the author's death


Movies & plays:

  • The Fall of the House of Usher, directed by Jean Epstein

  • Cecil Hepworth's Alice in Wonderland (1903)

  • Citizen Kane

  • The Yearling

  • The Grapes of Wrath

  • How Green Was My Valley

  • Charlie Chaplin's The Circus

  • Buster Keaton's The Cameraman

  • The Passion of Joan of Arc

  • Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera (in the US)*

  • Lights of New York

  • Journey's End

  • The first Laurel & Hardy starrer Should Married Men Go Home?

  • Ernst Lubitsch's The Patriot

  • J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan: The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (the play, as opposed to the novel)—but not in the UK, which passed a special exception just for Peter Pan copyright royalties to be used in perpetuity by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children!

Music:

  • Gershwin's An American in Paris

  • The works of Jean 'Django' Reinhardt

  • Everything by Hank Williams

  • Recordings of Bessie Smith, such as Pick Pocket Blues

  • Ditto, Ida Cox

  • Animal Crackers, the Groucho Marx musical

Artworks:

  • Picasso's 'Guernica', amongst others, in countries with a 50-year version of copyright law

  • Chic Young's comic strip Blondie, ditto

  • Edmund Dulac's illustrations, for example those used in The Arabian Nights or The Little Mermaid

  • Rudolf Bauer's paintings

Popular characters:

  • Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their original Steamboat Willie incarnations

  • Mickey's predecessor from Disney, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

  • Tigger, Winnie-the-Pooh's bouncy pal

  • Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer's Felix the Cat (at least the early version, like with Mickey)

  • Max Fleischer's Koko the Clown

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