Disney's first Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters entered the public domain on the first day of the year as their copyrights expired.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the characters from the 1928 short film "Steamboat Willie", have entered the public domain as their US copyright expires after 95 years, BBC reported.
With the elimination of copyright, old characters can be used free of charge and without permission in any animation, product or creative work, as long as the resulting product is not shown as Disney property.
Jennifer Jenkins, Director of Public Domain Studies at the Duke Center, said that the characters entering the public domain is a long-awaited symbolic event.
Disney still owns the copyrights to the modern Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters.
In addition to these beloved animated characters, the famous children's book "The House at Pooh Corner", Charlie Chaplin's romantic comedy "The Circus" and Virginia Woolf's "Orlando" have also entered the public domain.