Disney Wiki
Disney Wiki
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This page will cover copyright info affecting Disney-related media. Currently, Disney's works are under a 95-year copyright term in the U.S.

Documenting copyright status (U.S.)

Disney's creative works (book, film, etc.) initially had to follow the criteria established by the Copyright Act of 1909 in order to stay under copyright. This would change over time.

Copyright notices

Proper copyright notices had to be present on creative works published before March 1, 1989 (the date the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988 came into force) in order for their copyrights to be valid.[1] The minimum requirements for these notices were:

  • The inclusion of the word "copyright" or an acceptable abbreviation in its place (i.e., a circled C).
  • The year of publication or creation (which could not be more than a year ahead).
  • The name of the entity(s) claiming the copyright.

An improper notice or lack of notice may not have invalidated the copyright to works published between January 1, 1978 and March 1, 1989, if:[2]

  • The improper notice or lack of notice was only in a small number of copies released to the public.
  • The work was registered before or within five years after the improperly-noticed/noticeless publication and a reasonable effort was made to add a proper one to all copies released in the United States after the omission or mistake was discovered.
  • The lack of notice violated a clear written agreement to include a proper notice as a condition of public release of copies.
  • The proper notice was removed without the copyright holders' permission.


Any creative work registered before January 1, 1964[3] with a proper notice had to have its copyright renewed in order for it to still be valid. As a result of the Copyright Renewal Act of 1992 (enacted June 26, 1992), works registered between January 1, 1964 and December 31, 1977 with proper notices do not require renewal to stay under copyright (though renewals would give them additional benefits). Works registered on or after January 1, 1978 do not require renewal.