We all have a number of beloved cure and friendly characters from our childhoods. But they may not stay quite so kid-friendly later in life, especially if they have been around for a while. Read this IP Conversation to find out!
Hey IP Geek! I was watching a horror movie trailer the other day- imagine my surprise when the villain turned out to be a creepy version of Winnie the Pooh.
How can the copyright owners allow this?
While the owners of a beloved children’s property are not likely to appreciate it being turned into something from our nightmares, they don’t exactly have a choice in this case.
This is because while copyright is given for a very long time (usually the lifetime of the author plus anywhere between 50 to 80 years after their death), it does come in with a built-in expiry date.
The copyright for Winnie the Pooh, which has been around for a long time now, expired back in January 2022 and it entered into the public domain.
And once a property is in the public domain, it’s fair game.
Regardless of how recognizable it is, anyone can then use the characters and the other elements of the work as they please.
This means that great detectives can potentially become comedic relief and silly stuffed bears can become ruthless killers.
Artists and authors can now also publish works involving these characters, or make new additions to the original stories, without having to pay a licensing fee or undergoing negotiations.
I see! So the public domain is why this is possible. I knew it wasn’t likely to be voluntary on the ex-owner’s part.
Thanks for letting me know about this, IP Geek.
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