It’s finally happened: after nearly a century, Mickey Mouse has slipped off Disney’s copyright leash. The first versions of the iconic cartoon character, seen in Steamboat Willie and a silent version of Plane Crazy, enter the public domain in the US on January 1st, 2024. (An early version of Minnie Mouse is also fortunately included.) There’s still a complicated mess of protections around Mickey, but today is a moment public domain advocates have awaited for decades — and there are plenty of other exciting new entries as well.
Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, as usual, has a roundup of prominent works whose copyright protections lapse in the US today. The list includes sound recordings from 1923 and works in other media that were published in 1928. Among other things, that covers: