Mickey Mouse's red shorts have entered the public domain

Originally published at: Mickey Mouse's red shorts have entered the public domain - Boing Boing


Does the Mickey in that poster have stigmata on his left hand?


Whoa, we got ourselves a Doubting Donald Duck in the room.



Great! Now I can finally wear yellow gloves with red shorts!


I refuse to palpate any of the wounds though. I bet a Florida swamp mouse carries all kinds of diseases!

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Next northern hemisphere summer fashion trend!

So, you are a believer, unlike that Thomas guy…


Still a doubter but also a germophobe…seeing is believing but poking a finger in there is just gross! Come on Thomas, you’ve got no idea where that messiah has been!

i figure it’s either a ring, or the gloves have been screwed into his palms. :scream_cat: it’s the frank cross school of mouse couture


I got it! its actually an airhole a ventilation hole in the (leather) glove and should look like this;


(someone screwed up the inking 95 years ago)


Mickey breathes through his hands?


Don’t be silly.

He sees through his hands.


This poster is not public domain. It is from 1929, not 1928. You can tell by the Cinephone logo at the bottom, which they did not have until 1929. Some sources got this wrong, most notably an auction house trying to sell an original copy, not be an academic resource.

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I’m not sure where you’re getting that since the same Cinephone logo appears on the title card for the original film.


But even if true, the color red isn’t exactly an idea novel enough to warrant copyright protection. If you gave 100 artists a black-and-white drawing of Mickey Mouse and told them to color it in some number of them would likely give him red shorts even if they had never seen the character before.


The logo you posted was added in 1929, when Cinephone began distributing the film. It even says 1929 in the copyright at the bottom.

Yes, because this title card was added to the original short after it was made. The copyright on it (if you look at it at the bottom) actually says 1929. This title card is ALSO not public domain yet.

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My understanding of how the IP works is that stuff doesn’t pass into the public domain if it was used 95 years ago, but if it hasn’t been used for 95 years. Micky has definitely worn red shorts more recently than 1929, so Mickey in red shorts is copyright, assuming Mickey’s wardrobe is copyrightable.

This is not at all correct about copyright law.


No, that’s not accurate. If anything that is closer to how trademark law works than copyright law.

ummmm no. no that’s not right at all. regardless of when it was published during that time frame you actually had to notate copyright and what was copyrighted. given that having color in any film was still a few years away they wouldn’t have mentioned the red shorts, it would have just been the black and white mickey mouse sans gloves. the red shorts of mickey are considered iconic and most definitely still under copyright for longer than a year. all the poster is copyrightable for is the design of the poster not the image used