Skip to comments.Itís a Wonderful Copyright Mess
Posted on 12/24/2009 8:22:18 AM PST by AJKauf
the case of Its a Wonderful Life. When the film was released in 1946, it was given a 28-year copyright term which was eligible for a 28-year renewal. For whatever reason, a request wasnt put in for renewal, and it was believed to have fallen into the public domain in 1975. Had it not connected with the American people on its rediscovery, it would have become a resident of dollar DVD bins, like other public domain mainstays such as the Fleischer Superman cartoons or Bill Cosbys TV movie Tell All My Friends on the Shore.
However, the movie studio smelled money. Thus, it fought for a decade until it regained control of the film. The studio argued that while the films pictures had entered the public domain, the story which the studios had bought the rights to had not, and therefore the film could not be shown. Thus, this Christmas Eve, NBC will show a 63-year-old movie based on a 70-year-old short story and will pay out handsome royalties to a company that had nothing to do with the release of the film other than buying the company that released it. How exactly does this contribute to the progress of the useful arts?
The first Copyright Act in 1790 set the term of the federal copyright for 14 years, renewable for 14 additional years. Rufus Pollock, an economist at Cambridge, mathematically concluded in 2007 that 14 years was the ideal length of copyright protection. As with most things, though, America has gone the other way with absurd lengths of copyright protection, with ever-lengthening terms...
(Excerpt) Read more at pajamasmedia.com ...
I must be the only person in the world who has never seen the movie. Looks like it’s going to stay that way.
Any Three Stooges on TV over the next week or so?
It’s much better off with a custodial studio who cleaned the film up rather than the cheap-o public domain versions that were floating around.
You really should see the film at the very least, once. It is quite good. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are just fabulous. If nothing else it brings back memories of an America that once was.
Wonderful, beautiful, fantastic movie. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are great. Watch it every year. Love it!
Innovation in these industries is being stifled through the copyright cartel's litigiousness (just as the same tendency has totally skewed health care). But the trial lawyer group continues to have its politicians--particularly, but not exclusively, democraps) in their hip pocket.
The DMCA should be repealed, and we should go back to the original term limits in force on copyrights at 1920 "after the reset."
And with an excellent message.
I’ve never seen it either, I have not seen Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music etc, but I intend to catch up to the movies that almost all other people have seen.
And what about all of those cheesy sitcoms of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Wonder if the actors can renegotiate their contracts... 30 years later.
A lot of the actors got screwed and are not getting any royalties from syndication.
Probably apples and oranges.
years ago when Saturday Night Live was still funny, they presented - in black & white - the alternate ending that ended up on the cutting room floor. They replicated the final scene in the Bailey’s house when all of his friends and neighbors were coming in to contribute money to help George in his hour of need. In the midst of all the joy and happiness, Mr. Potter’s flunky wheels the warped, frustrated old man into the room. The crowd falls silent as Mr Potter says whatever it is he said...when he finished, there’s a moment of stunned silence, then the crowd dumps Potter from his chair and beats the hell out him..
I almost envy your ignorance! (And I mean that in a nice way.) You have some real treats ahead of you!
As a songwriter,I have run into the jungle of Copyright Law a few times (LOL).
It only seems to be applied when there is money involved, and ignored when it is just a no-name composer or author being screwed over.
Case in point:
A friend of mine attempted to get a school system to CEASE AND DESIST photocopying and selling HIS guitar instruction book. The Federal Government, BMI, and Copyright Lawyers all REFUSED to help him even though he was totally justified because the case was so small.
Meanwhile ASCAP sued the GIRL SCOUTS for singing “God Bless America” in Public.
Well, if you want Three Stooges, turn on the news. Dingy Harry, Lunch-bucket Joe, and Barry from DC will be on in seconds. . .
Buy the DVD... it’s a great, great film. You’ll love it.
I am kind of in the same boat, but with television. I have never watched shows like Taxi, Seinfeld etc. I stopped really watching television 10-15 years ago, and before that, I didn’t watch any sitcoms (except for a few episodes of the Simpsons and Scrubs, but...that is pretty much it)
Of course, by the time I do watch it when I can’t do anything else, all the social framework that made them funny will be completely gone.
At that point, the show of choice will be “Ow, My Balls!”
Glad I missed that ending.
Remember this holiday season: “every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” (loved that one)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I have the basic Netflix account, and am turning into a bit of a junkie, watching old movies.
In the last week, I watched “In Cold Blood”, “The Glenn Miller Story” (GREAT movie!) and “Drums Along The Mohawk”, which are three movies I would never have rented from a video rental store in the usual way, but...when I can stream as many as I want for nine bucks a month...now THAT is great!
I LOVE old movies...:)
You MUST see Seinfeld! Forget those others. Seinfeldisms carry on to this day. :)
As far as copyright. I guess if you bought the copyright it’s yours, no matter if you didn’t make the film.