Top 10 Things That Will Enter the Public Domain by 2040

The Public Domain is a place where things a free from the evil clutches of copyright. But with 2040 being 20 years away, I think it's time to discuss things that'll enter into the Public Domain by 2040. For something to be on this list, they have to be made earlier than 1945. So if anything was produced before then, it's fair game! Let's go!
The Top Ten
1 Mickey Mouse (2024) Mickey Mouse is a funny animal cartoon character and the official mascot of The Walt Disney Company. He was created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at the Walt Disney Studios in 1928. The first cartoon featuring Mickey Mouse was the iconic "Steamboat Willie" released in the year 1928.

Here's something interesting. Disney is one of those companies that treat copyright as a shield for protection. But little do they know that their mascot, Mickey Mouse, will become free to use in the year 2024. Well, at least the first incarnation made by Disney himself. And that's going to be a serious jab at Disney because once this happens, there's no way of regaining copyrights for him as no one will own him again. I mean look, Mickey's cousin, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's set to arrive in 2023 and Disney's doing nothing about it.

I feel like a better comparison here is Pete. From a modern perspective, Pete's much more important to Disney than Oswald is (the fact that Disney never lost the rights to Pete helps things), and yet Pete entered public domain last year with no issues.

Interesting list, didn't know about many of these!

2 Bugs Bunny (2034) Bugs Bunny is an animated cartoon character, created by the staff of Leon Schlesinger Productions (later Warner Bros.) He is one of (if not) the most famous cartoon characters, and he is in the show Looney Tunes. His famous quote is "What's up doc?". He is a gray colored bunny with big teeth and big feet. His favorite food is carrots.

Taking the silver slot, we have Mickey's mortal rival Bugs Bunny. Bugs Bunny made his first debut in 1938 as the mascot of Warner Bros. But unlike Mickey Mouse, there are a few shorts starring him already in the Public domain. Though I'm pretty sure that unlike Disney, Warner Bros won't have a hissy fit when this happens.

The name of the character will still be copyrighted until 2037 (as it was made up in 1941).

3 Babar the Elephant (2027)

Babar is another children's book series that'll become copyright free in a few years. Babar made his debut in 1931 exactly three years after Mickey took the spotlight. Meaning if we do the math, then Babar will become free to the public in 2027.

4 Madeline (2035)

Next up on the chopping block, we have Madeline. Now unlike the previous two entries, this is actully a children's book revolving around the misadventures of a French girl. Now the book was first published in 1939 and will become uncopyrighted in in the year 2035. This actully wasn't the first time an iconic kids book did this as Whine the Pooh entered the public domain just recently (2022 actully)!

5 The 20th Century Fox Logo (2031) 20th Century Studios is an American film studio which is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company. The studio is located in Los Angeles and was formerly known as 20th Century Fox before Disney bought Fox on March 20th, 2019.

Now were on to another thing that was sadly taken away by the clutches of Disney. This logo, specifically, it's first logo from 1935 and it's variants used untill 1993 will go copyright free.

I would love to see what they do in the future!

6 Tom and Jerry (2036) Tom and Jerry is an American animated series of comedy short films created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Best known for its 161 theatrical short films by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the series centers on a rivalry between the title characters Tom, a cat, and Jerry, a mouse. Many shorts also feature several recurring characters.

Now we're on to an iconic show. Tom and Jerry was first introduced to both kids and adults alike in 1940. And as such, it'll enter into the Public Domain in 2036.

7 Monopoly (2031)

Have you ever feared of going to jail because of Monopoly, well once 2031 hits, you won't have to worry about it at all. This is because that like the previously mention 20th Century Fox logo, Monopoly was first copyrighted in 1935. Hence it breaking free from copyright will take place in 2031.

8 DuMont Television Network (2038)

Next up on the chopping block, we have this super obscure network that tried to compete with the big boys that are ABC, NBC, and CBS (NBC in particular is turning 100 in 2026). The DuMont Network was short lived. Only living from 1942 until 1956 and most of it's affiliates went on to become famous TV networks (on even being KTLA, a station famous for it's news). Though most of the Dumont Library will be free to use in 2038.

9 King Kong (2029) King Kong is a giant movie monster, resembling a colossal ape, that has appeared in various media since 1933. The character first appeared in the 1933 film King Kong, which received universal acclaim upon its initial release and re-releases.
10 Superman (2034) Superman is a comic character. And probably the first powerful superhero in the fictional world. The character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, high school students living in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1933. It was published by DC comics. The first animated superhero movie was superman. The origin story of Superman relates that he was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, before being rocketed to Earth as an infant by his scientist father Jor-El, moments before Krypton's destruction. Discovered and adopted by a Kansas farm couple, the child is raised as Clark Kent and imbued with a strong moral compass. Very early on he started to display various superhuman abilities, which, more.

And finally, we have oh, another 2034er I see. Superman made his debut in 2038 (in a comic book) as DC Comic's mascot and the first thing we saw in Action Comics 1. Much like Bugs Bunny, Superman will go to the Public Domain in 2034.

The Contenders
11 Buck Rogers (2023)
12 The Jazz Singer (2023)

Now we're on to The Jazz Singer. Which was the first ever film to have voice acting! Released by Warner Bros. in 1927, The Jazz Singer will go copyright free in 2023. Wow, come to think about it, movies have gone a long way since this came out in 1927.

13 Gone with the Wind (2035)
14 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (2023)

Before Mickey Mouse, Oswald was the first character, because was created in 1927

15 Batman (2035)
16 Modern Times (2032)
17 The Wizard of Oz (2035)
18 Bambi (2022)
19 Snow White (2033)
20 Popeye (2025)
21 Winnie the Pooh (2022)
22 Woody Woodpecker (2035)
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