The classic “silly old bear” from childhood is now owned by the public.
According to Stanford University, the public domain refers to any “creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws.” A.A. Milne’s original Winnie the Pooh book written in 1926, now falls under that category. This means that the book and it’s story and characters are no longer owned by any one person or organization, but rather by the general public. This book includes the iconic characters of Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga, and Roo.
Now that the book is in the public domain, anyone can use the work without needing to get permission, meaning that the original stories of Winnie-the-Pooh can now be rewritten, revamped, or modified by anyone at any time. If anyone has ever had a burning desire to retell the story of Winnie-the-Pooh in a modern light, now is the time.
One important thing to remember is that there is a difference between the original stories by A.A. Milne, and the Disney Winnie-the-Pooh movies. While the 1926 stories are in the public domain, the Disney adapted versions are not. The classic character, Tigger, also remains in copyright for another two years, as the character did not appear until later stories.
With the addition of the Winnie the Pooh stories to the public domain it’s possible that retellings, or new stories featuring the character will be created in the near future. Maybe the “silly old bear” from childhood will reenter the public view.