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copyright (again)

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seminewbie
copyright (again)
on Aug 27, 2007 at 12:22:54 pm

Hi;

I have client who wishes to use footage from public domain films as part of his sales motivation (internal but wide distribution) package.

Now you would think that the phrase "public domain" would answer that but I know that when people want to use the likenesses of deceased stars in their commercials they need to pay to the estate of that person.

Anyone have any experience here?

Thanks............Dan


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AlexHuber69
Re: copyright (again)
on Aug 27, 2007 at 12:42:25 pm

Hi Dan...

Are you absolutely totally sure that the films in question are completely and totally in the public domain? Can you throw us an example or two? I ask because a film that is completely unincumbered by any rights-holders is a pretty rare thing.


AH



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redmontage
TITLES protected by Trademarks or Copyrights?
on Aug 27, 2007 at 4:08:55 pm

I did a search under the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and it mainly came up with a Logo's Font, form, artwork, design, etc. as the protected item.

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=frlqqe.12.1

I did not find hits on Pulp Fiction, Gladiator, A Clockwork Orange, etc. So my guess is a Trademark in NOT the normal way to protect a film's title??


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Mark Landman
Re: TITLES protected by Trademarks or Copyrights?
on Aug 27, 2007 at 9:58:25 pm

Films, television shows, books, plays, music etc. are protected by copyrights. Trademarks are, as you said, for logos.




Mark Landman
PM Productions
Champaign, IL


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seminewbie
Re: copyright (again)
on Aug 27, 2007 at 6:31:25 pm

Old John Wayne stuff like "Randy Rides Alone" and "The Man From Utah" or "God's Gun" starring Lee Van Cleef.

Interestingly enough the reason you see so much of "It's a Wonderful Life" at Christmas time is that the rights of the original holder were allowed to lapse so there is no fee.

Whether that means that it is public domain is another question.

Dan


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Tim Wilson
Re: copyright (again)
on Aug 27, 2007 at 7:49:34 pm

[seminewbie] "the reason you see so much of "It's a Wonderful Life" at Christmas time is that the rights of the original holder were allowed to lapse so there is no fee.

Whether that means that it is public domain is another question."


It's not anymore, although it was for a while, starting in 1974.

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd look all this up, but here's what I remember....

There's some argument over how it happened -- a clerical error, the studio stopped caring (the movie was a flop), whatever.

When Republic bought the RKO library, they tried to win the rights back. The winning argument is that the film is a derivative work -- based on a short story distributed by a struggling screenwriter as a Christmas card -- and Republic DID own the rights to THAT, and, as such, had a say in what people could do with that derivative work.

So in the mid-90s, Republic licensed exclusive broadcast rights to NBC. Under the terms of THEIR license, they can license it to a local station to air ONCE, but it's theirs to license.

Along the way, Republic got sold to Aaron Spelling, who got bought out by Viacom...who owns CBS. :-) I think that's the progression. Anyway, Viacom also owns Comedy Central, and stopped them from using it a while back, asserting their rights in a way that more or less locked down the ownership argument.

At least enough so that a remastered 60th anniversary edition got released, which closed the door on the argument altogether.

Feel free to correct me on the details, but that's how I remember it....

As a PS, I know this has NOTHING to do with the original questions, but I keep thinking about Mark Twain's argument to Congress. He said if I build a house, I never need to reassert my right to it. My heirs don't have to move out in 75 years or whatever. It's our house until we sell it. Period. Why should anything else I "build" be any different?

Kinda have to agree. I'm not sure I can think of a reason why anything should be in the public domain unless the owner puts it there....

...which again, isn't the point of the original question, but it's what I think about whenever this comes up.....



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seminewbie
Re: copyright (again)
on Aug 28, 2007 at 7:31:25 am

Thanks Tim good story. the truth is always stranger than anything we could make up.

Dan


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Steve Wargo
Re: copyright (again)
on Aug 28, 2007 at 7:10:46 am

http://www.bzrights.com


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seminewbie
Re: copyright (again)
on Aug 28, 2007 at 7:33:18 am

Thanks. Looks interesting.


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