Winnie the Pooh enters the public domain

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2022 | Trademark & Copyright

Texas creators might be familiar with copyright law, which gets extended every few years and lasts for a long time. However, it’s been a few years since copyright law was extended, which allowed things to start entering the public domain again in 2019.

Once a work enters the public domain, it’s no longer protected by copyright law. This means that people can republish, rewrite and create their own adaptations of the book without having to worry about copyright. Many creatives get their start reimagining works that have entered the public domain, like Disney did with Snow White and other fairy tales.

What should people know about Winnie the Pooh entering public domain?

Winnie the Pooh has now entered the public domain, but it’s not the Disney version. The original character was created by A. A. Mine for his children’s books that came out in 1924, and this is the version that entered the public domain.

The popularized adaptation from Disney, featuring the beloved yellow bear in a red shirt with no pants, is still under copyright by Disney and most likely will be for a long time. This means that any creative works that want to use Winnie the Pooh for inspiration or their own adaptation must specifically base it off of A. A. Milne’s version of the character.

What are you allowed to do with a work that has entered public domain?

Current copyright law means that there must be significant differences between your work and all other works; otherwise, you’re infringing on that work’s copyright. But with public domain, that rule doesn’t exist. “Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies” is an example of what creatives are allowed to do with a work that has entered the public domain.

Before you can put copyright on something, you have to prove that it’s completely unique from other works. It’s possible that copyright law will get extended, but creatives can make use of the works that have entered public domain in recent years.