2021 has been a busy year for the subversive art collective MSCHF, who mere months ago linked up with Lil Nas X for a public saga of sorts focused on so-called “satan shoes.” For their latest project, the team is turning their attention to public domain technicalities of the mouse variety.
“Mickey is the first classic Disney character that’s set to enter the public domain (specifically the Steamboat Willie incarnation),” Kevin Wiesner, CCO of MSCHF, tells Complex. “Disney is notoriously litigious, so they’re the perfect target for this kind of copyright loophole shenanigans.”
As detailed in the latest MSCHF manifesto, the copyright on the earliest iteration of Mickey Mouse (from the aforementioned 1928 cartoon Steamboat Willie) is due to expire in 2024, at which point public domain would, at least in theory, take over. As the Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibberd points out, however, Disney could be able to prevent this outcome.
Elsewhere in the manifesto, the MSCHF team points to what they describe as the lack of need for art to be physical in form in the current landscape. Instead, per MSCHF, “the idea is the art.”
In that spirit, MSCHF launched the “Famous Mouse” collectible project, which consists of 1000 advance tokens sold at $100 each. The tokens can’t be exchanged for a “Famous Mouse” artwork until at least 2024.
“‘Famous Mouse’ object cannot legally be designed yet,” a footnote on the MSCHF site explains. “All images strictly hypothetical.”
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The “Famous Mouse” project represents drop No. 53 for MSCHF. Back in April, the collective followed its Lil Nas X collab with an email capsule collection featuring domains referencing everything from the Heaven’s Gate cult to the Pirate Bay.