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Public domain characters



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NoWay

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As of today, Steamboat Willy Mickey is public domain. This got me thinking, which consequences this could mean for future KH entries and the public domain characters.

What do you think which consequences could this have for the KH franchise? Could Square use these characters as they want?
Could we get another iteration of Timeless River without any influence from Disney?

Last year (if I remember correctly) Winnie Pooh also became a public domain character.Maybe we could see more creative ways of integrating these characters?
 
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Luminary

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As of today, Steamboat Willy Mickey is public domain. This got me thinking, which consequences this could mean for future KH entries and the public domain characters.

What do you think which consequences could this have for the KH franchise? Could Square use these characters as they want?
Could we get another iteration of Timeless River without any influence from Disney?

Last year (if I remember correctly) Winnie Pooh also became a public domain character.Maybe we could see more creative ways of integrating these characters?

Technically, Square Enix could use them if they wanted. But actually doing so would probably cost them their license with Disney. Ignoring that, they’d still have to be very careful as the copyrights that expired were only for the original versions of the characters. So it’d be easy to cross a line that would open them up to lawsuits.
 

MATGSY

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What do you think which consequences could this have for the KH franchise? Could Square use these characters as they want?
Could we get another iteration of Timeless River without any influence from Disney?
The short answer is none. Disney still owns trademarks on Mickey Mouse among other things which don't expire so long as the company keeps using and renewing them. Mickey's modern design is off the table and according to what some have been saying, his very name could still be protected.

Any non-Disney person or party that wishes to utilize Mickey in some work would probably be better off using the PD status to create their own alternate take on the character. Like as a hypothetical example a version with brown fur who goes by the name Mickey "The Mischievous Mouse", which I think is distinct enough to get around trademarks.

Of course this doesn't work at all for KH, which is A. Highly dependent on having the Disney versions of classic fairy tale characters, and B. Is itself owned by Disney. I guess if Square really wants to get out of their contract that badly, they could create an original IP featuring new made-up interpretations of Mickey, Aladdin, Pan, Pooh, etc. but what would they gain from that when they already have access to the most famous roster of iconic characters in the world?

If anything, I'd be more intrigued by the prospect of some indie developer making their own KH-inspired-but-legally-distinct action RPG using the PD stories as the basis.
 
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NoWay

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Didn’t think about that. I thought this could have some interesting consequences for KH in general. Thank you for your responses!
 

Squood!

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I love how I once saw a buncha people make a big deal over Mickey going public in 2024 only for it to not only be the oldest one but also that you probably can't even use Mickey's name.

So you basically just got his old design and connection to steamboats and ya can't even give him gloves.
 

Phoenix

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I mean, there's already a Mickey slasher film in production:


I'd be very hesitant in stating what Steamboat Willie in the PD ultimately means, because we don't actually know. Some people are going to push the boundary as far as it goes, Disney is going to push back, and there'll be a middle somewhere in a couple of years. But at the very least, some people feel confident enough in using the name and likeness publicly.
 

KudoTsurugi

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I will never understand the need/want to make slasher movies of characters right after they hit public domain. By this logic, we should’ve had a horror film where Sherlock Holmes is the villain, but nobody has done it and thank goodness they haven’t.

Am I saying there shouldn’t be different genre takes on a character from different creators? Of course not. But my point of view is this: you could make all sorts of things with these public domain characters, the world is your oyster for creativity… and you choose the cheap shock value option? Maybe it could be done well, but I’m not betting on it.
 

Phoenix

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I think it's just easy. I'm grateful for it. Not that I'd actually watch it, but someone is going to take the risk for everyone else and I appreciate that. If the slasher film wins, then more reserved people might be more willing to take the plunge and make actually interesting work.

But somebody has to go first, and a slasher film is a great way of pushing that boundary as far as it goes.
 

Soldier

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I will never understand the need/want to make slasher movies of characters right after they hit public domain. By this logic, we should’ve had a horror film where Sherlock Holmes is the villain, but nobody has done it and thank goodness they haven’t.

Am I saying there shouldn’t be different genre takes on a character from different creators? Of course not. But my point of view is this: you could make all sorts of things with these public domain characters, the world is your oyster for creativity… and you choose the cheap shock value option? Maybe it could be done well, but I’m not betting on it.
I dunno, I went to go see Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey in theaters when it released and I had a good time. Maybe not for the right reasons (I mean, Winnie the Pooh is a serial killer, there's only so much you can watch of it until you laugh) but it was an enjoyable time.
 

SweetYetSalty

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When I heard Mickey went public domain the first thing I thought of was a slasher movie coming in. I can already see them making a movie with a creepy ghost-like ship that resembles Mickey's steamboat that lures children in with their creepy mouse captain. Disney has been dreading this day.
 

Sonofjafar

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my only request for my fellow Disney fans is a Deltarune boss fight against Steamboat Willie with a BIG SHOT remix using Disney songs for leitmotifs
 
D

Deleted member 282472

Guest
The short answer is none. Disney still owns trademarks on Mickey Mouse among other things which don't expire so long as the company keeps using and renewing them. Mickey's modern design is off the table and according to what some have been saying, his very name could still be protected.

Any non-Disney person or party that wishes to utilize Mickey in some work would probably be better off using the PD status to create their own alternate take on the character. Like as a hypothetical example a version with brown fur who goes by the name Mickey "The Mischievous Mouse", which I think is distinct enough to get around trademarks.

Of course this doesn't work at all for KH, which is A. Highly dependent on having the Disney versions of classic fairy tale characters, and B. Is itself owned by Disney. I guess if Square really wants to get out of their contract that badly, they could create an original IP featuring new made-up interpretations of Mickey, Aladdin, Pan, Pooh, etc. but what would they gain from that when they already have access to the most famous roster of iconic characters in the world?

If anything, I'd be more intrigued by the prospect of some indie developer making their own KH-inspired-but-legally-distinct action RPG using the PD stories as the basis.

I saw a teaser for a Kickstarter campaign called Duskfade. It feels very KH-esque so they might do your approach.
 
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