Steamboat Willie has finally been freed from the dungeons of the Mouse House and his first voyage is very close by.

In case you started living under a rock going into the New Year, you are probably aware that Disney's copyright on one of their most iconic characters in history has expired and is now legally able to be used by anyone. Already the character is appearing in a wide variety of content, including a new horror game and a horror movie.

American animator and producer Walt Disney with one of his creations Mickey Mouse.
Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)
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Steamboat Mickey is, thankfully, not only being used in horror properties. He recently was seen sailing near the Mackinaw Bridge according to a post by the Michigan tourism company Pure Michigan. The Facebook post features Mickey manning the Captain's wheel with a beautiful Michigan sunset in the background. It is a very fun and creative way of using this version of the character, and is perfectly legal.

It is important to note that only the versions of Mickey and Minnie Mouse as they appear in the classic Steamboat Willie cartoon from 1928 are now in the public domain; the modern version of Mickey is still owned by Disney. Disney has worked very hard to keep Steamboat Willie out of the public domain, having lobbied Congress for many years to keep delaying the copyright from expiring.

If you want to rewatch the cartoon, or have never actually seen it in its entirety, it can be viewed below.

 

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Gallery Credit: Angela Brown

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