This page highlights some icons in public culture that
will pass into the public domain in the next couple of
It covers -
As preceding pages of this profile have
indicated, copyright does not last for ever and copyright
protection of drawings, musical compositions, poems, novels,
speeches and other works eventually ceases.
Given that copyright protection is typically based on
the author's life + x years (in Australia and Europe the
formula is life plus 70 years) it is possible to determine
when particular works will enter the public domain, for
example by adding 70 years to the year in which a writer
or other creator died.
That forecasting should be used with care.
One reason is that publishers and other rights owners/representatives
may enjoy copyright protection in a particular edition
of a text or in a reproduction of an image.
Performers and others (notably record companies) may have
rights regarding the performance of a musical score and
lyrics that have passed into the public domain, in the
same way that a reader of this page would have a discrete
copyright in their performance if you were sufficiently
misguided to sing this paragraph and the following words.
Another reason is that some pop culture icons, such as
Mickey Mouse and Popeye the Sailor, have been trademarked.
That protection under the Australian Trade Marks Act
1995 (Cth) is independent of copyright protection.
It does not lapse when copyright protection expires and
- subject to compliance with registration requirements
discussed in the Trade
Marks profile elsewhere on this site - is infinitely
A final reason, as highlighted at the beginning of this
profile, is that copyright terms vary from jurisdiction
to jurisdiction. A work may be out of copyright in one
nation and still protected by copyright in another nation
(eg the US).
Popeye the Sailor, Olive Oyl and Bluto - Elzie Segar (d
first Mickey Mouse cartoons