The public domain needs Mickey Mouse

Kevin Kelley points out the value of the public domain.

It is in the interest of culture to have a large and dynamic public domain. The greatest classics of Disney were all based on stories in the public domain, and Walt Disney showed how public domain ideas and characters could be leveraged by others to bring enjoyment and money. But ironically, after Walt died, the Disney corporation became the major backer of the extended copyright laws, in order to keep the very few original ideas they had — like Mickey Mouse — from going into the public domain. Also ironically, just as Disney was smothering the public domain, their own great fortunes waned because they were strangling the main source of their own creativity, which was public domain material. They were unable to generate their own new material, so they had to buy Pixar.

Just imagine the amazing things that could happen if the copyright on the Star Wars saga, Harry Potter, and the Chronicles or Narnia expired and those works entered the public domain. There are already imaginative remixes of all those works out there, but they ride the fine line between fair use and copyright infringement.

What could artists using modern mediums create without worrying about being sued?