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Disney risks losing copyright protection on some very valuable characters

Copyright protection on some of your favorite Disney characters could expire soon.

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Winnie the Pooh and Disney are about to run into a spot of bother, as Christopher Robin's friend would put it.

The copyright protection for Winnie the Pooh will expire in 2022.

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Disney has made billions over the years from author A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh books since the company acquired the rights in 1961.

While others can use the characters after the copyright expires, they can't just copy the Disney trademarks. They will have to make their own versions.

Disney could try to extend the copyright again, but legal experts believe that might be a long shot.

Of greater concern, Disney may also lose the copyright for Steamboat Willie two years from now.

In case that doesn't ring a bell, Steamboat Willie is the earliest version of Mickey Mouse.