can I set up a mickey mouse cafe here in the UK?

Now in the US you have the the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act which gives Disney a further twenty years protectio on our dear mousie friend. However, I presume that is just a US act, so not binding overseas. Any copyright lawyers out there? I am looking forward to serving mickeyburgers and minniebuns in trafalger square.

I’m not 100% sure on this, but the logo might be covered by one of the many current trademarks registered in the UK. The earliest expiry on the selection I looked at was 2010.

Hmmm, I hadn’t realised that in the UK trademarks appear to be extendible indefinitely. Oh well back to the drawing board

So far as I know, trademarks are indefinitely extendable everywhere in the world, but copyrights only extend for some limited period (what the limit is depends on jurisdiction). So, after the copyright on Steamboat Willie runs out, you could do whatever you want with the movie, making copies, showing it for free in your cafe, etc. But you still can’t produce any new piece of work featuring Mickey Mouse’s name or likeness (or any of the other trademarks owned by Disney) so long as the trademark holds, which can be pretty much expected to be forever. At least, not without the permission of Disney, which you’re not going to get.

Note that this means the US copyrights. Berne Convention signatories respect the duration of copyrights issued in the nation of origin:

Article 14bis

(1) Without prejudice to the copyright in any work which may have been adapted or reproduced, a cinematographic work shall be protected as an original work. The owner of copyright in a cinematographic work shall enjoy the same rights as the author of an original work, including the rights referred to in the preceding Article.

(2) (a) Ownership of copyright in a cinematographic work shall be a matter for legislation in the country where protection is claimed.
(b) However, in the countries of the Union which, by legislation include among the owners of copyright in a cinematographic work authors who have brought contributions to the making of the work, such authors, if they have undertaken to bring such contributions, may not, in the absence of any contrary or special stipulation, object to the reproduction, distribution, public performance, communication to the public by wire, broadcasting or any other communication to the public, or to the subtitling or dubbing of texts, of the work.
© The question whether or not the form of the undertaking referred to above should, for the application of the preceding subparagraph (b), be in a written agreement or a written act of the same effect shall be a matter for the legislation of the country where the maker of the cinematographic work has his headquarters or habitual residence. However, it shall be a matter for the legislation of the country of the Union where protection is claimed to provide that the said undertaking shall be in a written agreement or a written act of the same effect. The countries whose legislation so provides shall notify the Director General by means of a written declaration, which will be immediately communicated by him to all the other countries of the Union.
(d) By “contrary or special stipulation” is meant any restrictive condition which is relevant to the aforesaid undertaking.*