of threads discussing trademark vs. copyright, etc, but in my searching I did not find the answer to this question: what will happen when Mickey Mouse goes out of copyright?
I've read a couple of items, particularly this on Wikipedia
It says that Mickey Mouse is protected not only by copyright, but also by trademark. I understand the distinction (I think), but what I don't understand is how material in Steamboat Willie
could actually be used.
It feels as if I could not use any material from Steamboat Willie in such a way that would violate Disney's trademark. So, for instance, I couldn't open my own movie studio that used images from Steamboat Willie, because it would cause consumer confusion.
And I couldn't open a theme park based around Steamboat Willie.
Could I put something on a shirt? Could I sell a DVD of Steamboat Willie? Could I sample audio and video from the movie and use it in my own work?
Since Disney produces all manner of consumer products with the mouse featured, it seems almost like there is nothing that could
be done with Steamboat Willie at all
, because of possible consumer confusion.
(one thing, we all probably hate the copyright extension acts, etc, but saying that this question is moot because nothing that Disney has copyrighted will ever expire due to additional extensions... well, that's not a useful answer)