Ryan Reynolds welcomes public domain titles with “Winnie-the-Screwed”
The Future. Ryan Reynolds and his Maximum Effort banner are celebrating hundreds of thousands of works of art entering the public domain with a Mint Mobile commercial called “Winnie-the-Screwed”) — The ad hilariously shows how beloved titles (like Winnie-the-Pooh) can be remixed and satirized for a new generation, which may open the floodgates to a wave of media that builds upon beloved works.
Per usual, Ryan Reynolds was the first out the gate with a commercial that dives right into the middle of a big cultural conversation.
- On January 1, roughly 400,000 works entered the public domain — one of the largest amounts since the start of copyright law — including Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Felix Salten’s Bambi, and A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.
- To commemorate, Ryan Reynolds created a new Mint Mobile commercial featuring “Winnie-the-Screwed” — a disgruntled Pooh who is paying too much for his wireless bill.
- And, because Winnie-the-Pooh is now in the public domain, Reynolds and his company, Maximum Effort, didn’t have to pay any licensing fees or receive creative approval.
Under lock & title
So why exactly did so many titles enter the public domain all at once? They were all created in 1926, and U.S. Copyright Law stipulates that after 95 years from the work’s first publication, these titles are now free for the public to “copy, share, and build upon” these works. It used to be only 75 years, but the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended copyrights by 20 years.
That Extension Act is also cheekily known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. Disney was one of the driving forces behind passing the bill because it wanted to continue to claim exclusive rights to money-making franchises like Winnie-the-Pooh. And Disney is in Washington once again as it fights to retain its rights to hit Marvel characters like Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and Thor. (Copyright law is complicated.)
The video already has almost 1.7 million views.