Steamboat Willie Enters Public Domain, Inspires NFT and Meme Coin Craze - Blockchain.News
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Steamboat Willie Enters Public Domain, Inspires NFT and Meme Coin Craze

The public domain's "Steamboat Willie" Mickey Mouse version has sparked the creation of popular NFTs and meme coins, marking a new era in digital art and copyright freedom.


  • Jan 03, 2024 06:01
Steamboat Willie Enters Public Domain, Inspires NFT and Meme Coin Craze

As the calendar turned to 2024, a significant event in the world of digital art and copyright law occurred. The original version of Mickey Mouse, as seen in the 1928 short film "Steamboat Willie," officially entered the public domain. This development marked the end of the Walt Disney Company's copyright claim over this specific version of one of the most iconic characters in animation history. The United States law restricts copyright to a lifespan of 95 years, bringing Steamboat Willie into the public domain after nearly a century.

The Rise of Steamboat Willie NFTs

Following this event, a remarkable surge in the popularity of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) related to Steamboat Willie was observed. Three specific NFT collections, namely "Steamboat Willie Public Domain 2024," "Steamboat Willie," and "Steamboat Willie's Riverboat," quickly ascended to the top spots on OpenSea’s 24-hour trending list. The "Steamboat Willie Public Domain 2024" collection garnered significant attention, achieving around $1.2 million in trading volume and securing the number one position. Furthermore, this collection also ranked sixth on OpenSea's 24-hour top charts, a notable achievement considering the presence of other popular collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Pudgy Penguins​​.

Disney's Response

Disney, in response to the expiration of the copyright for Steamboat Willie, emphasized that modern interpretations of Mickey Mouse remain protected under copyright law. A spokesperson for Disney highlighted their commitment to safeguarding their rights in these modern versions and warned against potential consumer confusion due to unauthorized uses of the character​​.

Mickey Mouse Meme Coins

The entry of Steamboat Willie into the public domain not only sparked a trend in NFTs but also led to the creation of meme coins featuring the character. Crypto enthusiasts swiftly capitalized on this development, minting digital tokens and meme coins to commemorate the occasion. This movement represents a significant shift in the digital representation of cultural icons, as these tokens and coins symbolize a new chapter in the digital art world. Additionally, a dedicated website for "Mickey Token" was launched, offering crypto products related to this famed Disney icon​​.

Image source: Shutterstock