Ryan Reynolds Winnie-the-Screwed ad taunts Disney copyright

Since Disney acquired the rights to Winnie-the-Pooh tales by A.A. Milne again in 1961, the corporate has used them to create content material and merchandise which have since generated billions of {dollars}, and made Pooh and his mates as well-liked as Mickey Mouse. However Ryan Reynolds didn’t need to pay any licensing charges for his latest ad for Mint Cellular and its new mobile bill-based spoof of the kids’s traditional, “Winnie-the -Screwed.”

That’s as a result of this 12 months, the unique Milne tales enter the general public area, which means they’ll legally be freely shared, carried out, repurposed or sampled.

Different well-known works joining the original Pooh book in the public domain this 12 months embrace Felix Salten’s Bambi, Ernest Hemingway’s The Solar Additionally Rises, Langston Hughes’s The Weary Blues, and Dorothy Parker’s Sufficient Rope. It’s essential to notice that not all of Milne’s or Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh works grew to become free to make use of; simply the unique tales. Disney nonetheless retains the rights to Milne’s books and characters created after 1926.


Why 1926? Below American copyright regulation, the Copyright Time period Extension Act of 1998 (also referred to as the Mickey Mouse Safety Act) protects an organization’s copyright for 95 years from a piece’s first publication or 120 years after its creation, whichever ends first.

The brand new Mint Cellular ad is typical Reynolds ad fare, rapidly and creatively tapping right into a broader cultural dialog for considered one of his manufacturers. That cultural dialog, nevertheless, is barely going to get louder, particularly for Disney. Whereas it’s symbolic that the unique Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, is up for public area two years from now, extra urgent are the copyright points dealing with key Marvel characters this 12 months.

As reported final fall, a number of former Marvel creators and their estates are challenging Disney with ongoing copyright termination cases round characters like Thor, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Dr. Unusual. These instances, which may go as excessive because the Supreme Court docket (because it nearly did again in 2014, when the company reached a settlement with the estate of Jack Kirby), stem from the Copyright Revision Act of 1976, which supplied a possibility for authors or their heirs to regain possession of a product after a given variety of years.

If any of these instances are determined or settled this 12 months, relaxation assured, we are able to most likely count on an Aviation Gin ad making enjoyable of it.