March 27, 2024
Mickey Mouse NFT Dominates OpenSea

Mickey Mouse NFT Dominates OpenSea

Following the expiration of the copyright for an earlier version of Walt Disney Company’s Mickey Mouse from the 1928 short film “Steamboat Willie,” the mascot has surged to the number one trending nonfungible token (NFT) on the OpenSea marketplace. As of January 1, the copyright on this version of Mickey Mouse, featured in the iconic film, entered the public domain, marking the first time it became publicly available. United States law allows copyright to be held for 95 years, and after almost a century, Disney’s claim to this specific character ended.

The NFT collection named “Steamboat Willie Public Domain 2024” secured the top spot on OpenSea’s 24-hour trending list, generating approximately $1.2 million in trading volume. Two additional collections related to the vintage mascot, “Steamboat Willie” and “Steamboat Willie’s Riverboat,” secured the second and third positions on the trending list, respectively.

Beyond the trending list, the “Steamboat Willie Public Domain 2024” collection also claimed the sixth spot on OpenSea’s 24-hour top charts, alongside popular collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Pudgy Penguins. The “Steamboat Willie” collection secured the eighth position on the same list.

While emphasizing the expiration of copyright for the earlier Mickey Mouse, Disney clarified that modern versions of Mickey would remain unaffected. A Disney spokesperson stated that the company would continue to protect their rights in contemporary iterations of Mickey Mouse and other works still subject to copyright. The spokesperson added that efforts would be made to prevent consumer confusion caused by unauthorized uses of Mickey and other iconic characters.

The surge of interest in NFT collections related to the vintage Mickey Mouse underscores the significance of intellectual property transitions in the digital age, where iconic characters can find new life and value in the world of blockchain and nonfungible tokens.

Photo by Skitterphoto

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