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LornaHansonForbes

Everything from 1923 is Public Domain Now.

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(sounds of dots and dashes...) THIS IS A CLASSICS FANS NEWS FLASH!

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/bjek4z/a-massive-amount-of-iconic-works-will-enter-the-public-domain-on-new-years-eve

(This link explains the story better than I can.)

Just thought some of you might find it interesting.

(SONNY BONO is involved)

(seriously)

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I read the article and do not agree with several of the main points.

They think releasing films into the public domain will encourage creativity. I'd say there is more chance for creativity when artists have to rely on their own experiences and come up with new material that is not borrowed from previous sources.

Also they act as if there have been no significant works in the public domain for a long time. Shakespeare's stuff has always been in the public domain. Stories from the bible are public domain and have always been accessible to modern writers and filmmakers. 

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It's ridiculous that something has to be that old for it to be in the public domain. Studios and owners of source material should have a much shorter time limit of use it or lose it. Many films have had everybody involved in their creation pass away long ago and yet studios and relatives sit on their rights but do nothing with those rights. Everything that Paramount sold to Universal years ago for TV distribution that sits unrestored and unreleased should go into the public domain. Mickey Mouse is still being used by Disney and generating profits for Disney. That should be enough to keep that material out of the public domain.

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i cheer the expiration of copyrights effective with the New Year in 2019. copyright law protection should never have been expanded to 95 years to begin with and should have been reduced rather than lengthened. (say, 50 years or thereabouts)

one thing of note is the Mouse. i suspect there will be added pressure bought to bear to LENGTHEN protections by the Disney Company, so that their copyright for Mickey Mouse will go on. as a consequence, all copyright holders will enjoy lengthened terms. a better way to handle this is the way English Law protects Peter Pan. there, all Phillip Barrie (he wrote Peter Pan) material is granted copyright protection ad infinitum (forever.) maybe Disney will/should do the same, although in America special laws are frowned upon.

as far as movies go, the movies released in 1923 are now public domain. each year will bring more, until talkies will be public domain. a restoration gets its own copyright (if applied for), and lasts itself for 95 years.

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1 hour ago, allthumbs said:

as far as movies go, the movies released in 1923 are now public domain. each year will bring more, until talkies will be public domain. a restoration gets its own copyright (if applied for), and lasts itself for 95 years.

But can the public force a studio (say Universal), to turn over all the films released before 1923 so they can be converted to a digital format and therefor preserved?

 

 

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Not without just compensation.

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2 hours ago, Fedya said:

Not without just compensation.

Not trying to be snarky towards you Fedya, but towards the studios with the following remark - Not without just compensation? Like the just compensation of precisely zero they've been getting for the last 50-90 years for the material they have just been sitting on?

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2 hours ago, calvinnme said:

Not trying to be snarky towards you Fedya, but towards the studios with the following remark - Not without just compensation? Like the just compensation of precisely zero they've been getting for the last 50-90 years for the material they have just been sitting on?

I had a lengthy post which included this scenario, then decided I was trying to cover too much ground and some genius here would only quote one sentence to pick apart.

Basically it is the companies which have revenue-generating movies out there in circulation which could stand to lose if movies were forced to go PD - as a result of others squatting.  Then there are the companies/individuals sitting there doing the squatting, perhaps the results of MBAs in management or shareholders, or to a lesser extent due to rights issues, they wouldn't see any difference either way (as your point makes).  So I'm keeping in mind those who are contributing to the classic movie ecosystem, and how to continue to support them, not take something away from them.

I do think 95 years is a damn long time though.

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2 hours ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

some genius here would only quote one sentence

 

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6 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

But can the public force a studio (say Universal), to turn over all the films released before 1923 so they can be converted to a digital format and therefor preserved?

 

 

Sad to relate, Universal burned all 5,553 of its silent films in 1949.  

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The government can't just up and take whatever film elements Universal has in their vaults without compensating them for it the same as in any other eminent domain case.  (Of course, we all know eminent domain is abused; ask Susette Kelo.)   If anybody else has film elements in their possession, they can copy and distribute them.

Of course, there are a lot of Joneses out there who don't like what they see the Smiths doing, and think it's virtuous to use the state to force the Smiths to do what the Joneses want. (I only used names because when I tried to use pronouns the reading was clunky.)

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I didn't read the article, but "public domain" is a common topic of conversation in this household. I know about Disney & the Mouse issue, though.

I think "copyrights" of any art (or image, such as Elvis for example) should last 50 years. This way, those directly involved can benefit from their work.

Most agree it silly for descendants who had NOTHING to do with the creation/object/image to benefit from it. Art should belong to the arts, the culture of humanity, like aforementioned Shakespeare. Why not movies?

If the company that holds the rights wants to extend it, like Universal, Disney or like Elvis' estate they should have to PAY for that extended copyright. Eventually, when no one cares to extend their copyright, it slips into public domain.

I can understand estates of a very famous person like Lucille Ball or Michael Jackson wanting some kind of protection against others defacing & profiting from the person's image & reputation. I was appalled by Crispin Glover's poster of Shirley Temple dressed as a dominatrix at his movie screening. He deserved to be sued by her estate.

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6 hours ago, SullivansTravels said:

Sad to relate, Universal burned all 5,553 of its silent films in 1949.   

I don't think that is correct. There were several Universal silents from the 1910's included on one of the "Treasures from the American Film Archives" DVD sets that had Lon Chaney and Lionel Barrymore in them - in different short films of course. Then there are the silent horror films Universal made in the 1920s that are still with us.

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Those films - distribution prints, private holdings, etc - have survived in spite of the fact that Universal destroyed their studio prints and negatives from the silent era.

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1 hour ago, Ray Faiola said:

Those films - distribution prints, private holdings, etc - have survived in spite of the fact that Universal destroyed their studio prints and negatives from the silent era.

So my initial question was valid;  this change in when a film becomes part of the public domain does NOT impact those films held ONLY by Universal (or other studios) that are now 'PD'.    I.e. Universal can continue to withhold them from the public, destroy them,  or sell them and therefor only those films now in the PD that are held by private parties can be made available to the general public.  

 

 

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6 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I can understand estates of a very famous person like Lucille Ball or Michael Jackson wanting some kind of protection against others defacing & profiting from the person's image & reputation. I was appalled by Crispin Glover's poster of Shirley Temple dressed as a dominatrix at his movie screening. He deserved to be sued by her estate.

So Trump should be allowed to sue SLN or films like Vice can't be made?   How about Feud,  and what multiple courts have found with the Olivia DeHavilland lawsuit?   (that she didn't have such rights as a public person).

I can't see were the rights of DEAD people should be more than those granted the living.    (but I could see it the other way around).

 

  

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1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

So my initial question was valid;  this change in when a film becomes part of the public domain does NOT impact those films held ONLY by Universal (or other studios) that are now 'PD'.    I.e. Universal can continue to withhold them from the public, destroy them,  or sell them and therefor only those films now in the PD that are held by private parties can be made available to the general public.  

 

 

That is correct. An entity that has custodianship of official, original or master materials cannot be compelled to make them available. But if other copies are available elsewhere they may be freely distributed, copied or exhibited.

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And then there is the issue of new versions. There has been dispute whether Chaplin's original 1925 version of THE GOLD RUSH is public domain. But in two years it WILL BE. But that does not impact the copyright protection of his 1942 reissue which significantly altered the original by removing inter-titles and adding a synchronous soundtrack. Though I'm sure there will be tests of that claim!!

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9 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

So Trump should be allowed to sue SLN or films like Vice can't be made?   How about Feud,  and what multiple courts have found with the Olivia DeHavilland lawsuit?   (that she didn't have such rights as a public person).

I can't see were the rights of DEAD people should be more than those granted the living.    (but I could see it the other way around).

 

  

This is the area where 'fair use' comes in.  Any number of limited uses of copyrighted material is permitted for purposes including, but not limited to, scholarship, journalism, and entertainment--just so long as a 'significant' amount of the material is not used in profitable undertakings.  Public figures have a difficult time about their treatment in the media, as they are considered, to put it bluntly, 'fair game.'  Movies with characters depicting them in it, or about them are protected from action by the disclaimer every movie carries, and which I am sure you are well familiar with.  The one about none of the characters in the movie being intended to represent anyone who ever existed.  The way anyone can take action is if a copyrighted image (say, Shirley Temple--who I guess is still not public domain), person, or something is used without permission in money making enterprises.

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13 hours ago, slaytonf said:

This is the area where 'fair use' comes in.  Any number of limited uses of copyrighted material is permitted for purposes including, but not limited to, scholarship, journalism, and entertainment--just so long as a 'significant' amount of the material is not used in profitable undertakings.  Public figures have a difficult time about their treatment in the media, as they are considered, to put it bluntly, 'fair game.'  Movies with characters depicting them in it, or about them are protected from action by the disclaimer every movie carries, and which I am sure you are well familiar with.  The one about none of the characters in the movie being intended to represent anyone who ever existed.  The way anyone can take action is if a copyrighted image (say, Shirley Temple--who I guess is still not public domain), person, or something is used without permission in money making enterprises.

I'm very familiar of the concept of 'fair use' since it applies to my job,  but thanks for posting this since it will help others understand the concept.

Sometimes I think people believe 'fair use' (really as you note with public figures 'fair game' especially here in CA with the additional law put in place decades ago by the film studios),   only applies to public figures they like! 

E.g. people that supported the DeHavilland lawsuit against the producers of Feud that wouldn't support one by Trump against SLN.

 

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