A lot of confusion seems to arise when trying to determine how old an item is by looking at the copyright dates. Oddly so, these dates have nothing to do with the age of the item. The copyright date is associated with the creation of 'new work' - this can include a major change to an existing character so that it requires a new copyright. All registration is controlled by the Copyright Office. |
Therefore, one should not assume that the copyright date was the date the item was produced. It is important to remember that the copyright shown for an item is the year the character first came out.
For example, Charlie Brown was copyrighted in 1950 when he first appeared in the comic strip 'Peanuts' (along with Snoopy). And since his appearance has not noticeably changed since then, it is quite possible for a product produced in the year 2000 to carry the 1950 copyright date. The exception to this would be if Charlie Brown appeard as a 3-dimensional figure. If this is the case the copyright date would be 1966.
Some of the more common copyright dates you may find helpful are as follows:
|Lucy ||1952 (2-D)|
|Linus ||1952 (2-D)|
|Schroeder ||1951 (2-D)|
|Peppermint Patty ||1966 (2-D)|
Snoopy is another story. Since his appearance has significantly changed over the years, each change and new character persona were considered 'new work' requiring different copyright dates. Those include the original Snoopy (1950 - walked on all 4's), Snoopy - (1958 - walking on 2-legs), Red Baron/Flying Ace (1965), and Joe Cool (1971).