When Exclusive Rights Are Released Into the Public Domain, From Mickey Mouse to Movies in India

When Exclusive Rights Are Released Into the Public Domain, From Mickey Mouse to Movies in India

Under Indian law, an idea is not granted copyrights; rather, the law safeguards it. Dramas, music, books, scripts, computer programs, and lyrics are all examples of literary works protected by copyrights. Artwork, sculpture, and photographs are all examples of creative works for which copyrights are sought. Copyrights are in place until the author dies or for another seventy years. A copyright can be transferred, sold, or licensed during this time. Because of this, most books are now being made into movies. Disney immediately springs to mind when we think of the most beloved characters in history—Mickey and Minnie Mouse. From 1928, when the first image of Mickey Mouse appeared in the short film Steamboat Willie, Disney sought extensive Rights to Fall Into the Public Domain because Mickey Mouse had almost become synonymous with Disney.

However, like all good things, copyright on creative works of art expires. In this post, we examine how Rights Fall Into Public Domain were granted to Mickey Mouse and compare it to India’s copyright situation.

Law of Copyrights in the United States and the Changing Dynamics of Protection On January 1, 2019, every book, film, song, or drama published in the United States after 1923 was removed from copyright protection—something that hasn’t happened in four decades. Works published prior to 1922 were already in the public domain in 1998, and works registered after 1923 were scheduled to expire in 1999. However, it was speculated that the family that benefited from Disney’s exclusive use of Mickey Mouse lobbied Congress at the time, resulting in the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which granted Mickey Mouse exclusive protection until 2024.

This guarantees that anyone, anywhere, will be able to use Mickey Mouse as a character if there is no retrospective (or backdated) extension of copyright. However, Disney’s registered trademark, which can be renewed indefinitely, will ensure that the merchandise remains Disney’s property.

Why aren’t copyrights granted for life?

It is held that the enjoyment of art and artistic forms is necessary for human existence. Copyrights were developed as a delicate compromise between the two objectives of remunerating the author and enhancing Rights Falling Into Public Domain through the accessibility of art. As a result, copyrights were never intended to be instruments for the creator’s indefinite monetization and commercialization. Instead, the creator is given a predetermined number of years to benefit from their work. The development of the Internet has also altered public sentiment and significantly altered the landscape regarding copyright issues. Google and Wikipedia, two of the largest internet companies, are now powerful opponents of expanding copyright protections.

India and its Copyright Law According to Indian law, an idea cannot be protected by copyright; rather, the idea’s expression or manifestation is protected by the law. As a result, literary works like books, plays, scripts, lyrics, computer programs, and song copyrights are protected by copyrights. For those working in the creative arts, copyright can also be sought for photographs, sculptures, and other works of art. The creation’s tangibility is the only additional requirement in addition to originality. This means that the work should be on a medium that can be seen with the naked eye, preventing copyrights from being granted to just ideas.

Click here to know about: Why do you need to register copyright?

Copyright is in place for as long as the author is still alive, plus another seventy years. A copyright can be sold, assigned, or licensed for a specific amount of time during this time. The majority of books made into movies are also made usable in this manner.

Who, whether creator, designer, or producer, would be the author?

There are concerns regarding who would be considered an “author” under copyright law when determining when a particular published work would enter the public domain. It would stand to reason that the creator—the musician, the lyricist, or the singer—would be considered authors. However, the majority of commercial contracts contain a provision requiring the actual creator to give up ownership of the copyright to the producer, publishing, or investing company in the film or book. They can then lease or sell these to other people for profit. This also raises legal questions about the true impact of copyrights, which were originally intended to reward artists and allow the public to re-use published works.

Even though Shakespearian works may have been released into the public domain a long time ago, only films released prior to 1950 are considered to have been made freely accessible to the general public.

In the United States, as of January 1, 2019, all 1923-published books, songs, dramas, or films are no longer protected by copyrights. However, Disney has been using Mickey Mouse exclusively under the Sonny Bono copyright term extension act, which has been extended for an additional 20 years to provide exclusive protection until 2024. As a result, intellectual property rights have always been the subject of heated debate, particularly in regard to copyright.

This is due to the fact that copyright deals with exclusive commercial rights to a creative work or piece of art. Therefore, it raises the question of whether art can truly be original, and if not, how can anyone claim ownership? Given the arbitrariness of Intellectual Property Rights as a whole, it is also possible that copyrights inhibit creativity due to the fear of being sued or breaking the law. Please get in touch with us if you have any additional questions or require assistance with any regulatory or legal matter, and we will ensure that you receive the best possible professional assistance.

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