Home Live For Live Music Primus Utilizes Public Domain “Steamboat Willie” Mickey Mouse For Concert Poster

Primus Utilizes Public Domain “Steamboat Willie” Mickey Mouse For Concert Poster [Videos]

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primus utilizes public domain steamboat willie mickey mouse for concert poster videos

In case you’re not up to date in the world of copyright law, the United States passed a major milestone at the beginning of this year. On January 1st, 2024, the original 1928 depiction of Mickey Mouse from the Walt Disney cartoon Steamboat Willie entered the public domain, meaning anyone can use it without having to pay or seek permission from Disney. Plenty of creatives have already jumped at the new royalty-free opportunity to utilize one of the world’s most identifiable mascots, including Primus who used Steamboat Willie in the poster for the band’s show in Texas on Friday.

The prog rock trio led by bassist Les Claypool was in Irving on Friday to play a show at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory. Ahead of the concert, the band shared the unique poster for that evening’s show on social media, as is tradition. The poster by artist Daniel Danger depicts an old wooden house in a state of decay, flanked by rotting Romanesque statues. Looming large in the background is a much larger idol as a wooden Steamboat Willie peers over the wreckage. Tucked away in the background is another iconic easter egg, as the Frisch’s “Big Boy” mascot lurks behind the house.

 

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A post shared by Les Ler Tim (@primusville)

The expiration of copyright protections for intellectual property is actually written into the U.S. Constitution. The laws have changed several times over the past century, but anything published or released in the U.S. before 1977 enters the public domain after 95 years. So on January 1st, 2025, everything released in 1929 will become public domain, and so on. Once something is in the public domain, anyone is free to use it without paying fees, acquiring licensing, or even asking for permission, as this recent piece on CBS News Sunday Morning explains.

Public domain, where art lives after copyright

Primus is not the only group taking full advantage of Steamboat Willie’s public domain status. Once the copyright expired, new projects featuring the icon began popping up including a slew of horror films like Mickey’s Mouse Trap which wasted no time releasing its trailer on January 1st. Viewers saw a similar trend last year when A. A. Milne‘s Winnie the Pooh entered the public domain, resulting in the slasher Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey (which already has a sequel coming out this year). Other recognizable works now in the public domain include Peter Pan, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Great Gatsby, and more.

One of the most shameless uses of Steamboat Willie comes from MAX‘s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. The meticulously researched comedy news show has employed the character in the ad campaign for its current season—with the tagline “What are they gonna do, sue us?”—and the titular host has gone so far as to directly antagonize the famously litigious Disney corporation by appearing alongside Steamboat Willie on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, much to his fellow The Daily Show alum’s chagrin.

John Oliver’s Legally Indestructible Scheme To Promote “Last Week Tonight”

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Source: L4LM.com