Re: [Videolib] Copyright

MileFilms@aol.com
Wed, 22 Feb 2006 16:18:15 EST

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Dear Michael,

Well, Videolib is obviously a very good start. Many of us have some expertis=
e=20
in it, though in no way would any of our advice stand in a court of law. Onl=
y=20
the LOC search would. And then there are copyright researchers who'll also d=
o=20
this for you.

US Copyright has some simple standards but even they can get complicated.=20

Anything before January 1, 1923 in its original state is definitely in the=20
PD. But if someone adds tinting, new titles or intertitles, and/or new music=
,=20
those can be copyrighted. Same can be done for subtitles of a foreign-langua=
ge=20
PD film.

Anything after that Jan. 1, 1923 date of foreign origin has been=20
retroactively copyrighted by the American signing of the GATT/Uruguay treaty=
. But if the=20
film premieres in the United States, or an American film is produced and=20
directed overseas by someone living outside the US that has a chance of fall=
ing in=20
this category as well, or if the producer/director is a foreign citizen when=
he=20
makes the film, that can make it available for re-registration. For example,=
=20
THE GOLD RUSH has been registered using a GATT form because Chaplin was a=20
British citizen. It probably wouldn't stand up in court, but it's there. Any=
=20
German film before 1945 was technically seized by the US government after th=
e war=20
and declared public domain, but Transit Films in Germany claims these same=20
films as copyrighted under the US agreement with the Uruguay treaty. That's=20=
open=20
for legal debate.

And any American distributor who distributed a PD foreign film before the=20
acceptance of the GATT/Uruguay treaty would have the right to distribute tha=
t=20
film until notified by the legal rights owner that they are in violation.

Even a PD film like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE was put back in copyright by a)=20
claiming the original christmas card that the person wrote with this story w=
as an=20
"unpublished work" and could be considered for copyright and b) the exclusiv=
e=20
recording rights to two of the songs (Buffalo Gals, I believe was one) were=20
purchased by the distribution company so you would have to remove them to sh=
ow=20
the film. This brings up the subject of underlying copyrights so even if a=20
film is PD, the story it's based on or the music in it could still be, keepi=
ng=20
the film protected.

The US copyright law is very much like the English language. There are rules=
,=20
but there are so many exceptions that it's quite maddening.

But any company like LearMedia is not basing PD on any such legal decison.=20
They're just thieves who make something up to fool the public. It's like=20
phishing.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: (800) 603-1104 or (201) 767-3117
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: milefilms@aol.com
Website: http://www.milestonefilms.com

"Welcome to New Jersey.
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Big Hair, Big Heart, Big Fun!"
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0- Amy Heller

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Dear Michael,

Well, Videolib is obviously a very good start. Many of us have some expertis= e in it, though in no way would any of our advice stand in a court of law. O= nly the LOC search would. And then there are copyright researchers who'll al= so do this for you.

US Copyright has some simple standards but even they can get complicated.
Anything before January 1, 1923 in its original state is definitely in the P= D. But if someone adds tinting, new titles or intertitles, and/or new music,= those can be copyrighted. Same can be done for subtitles of a foreign-langu= age PD film.

Anything after that Jan. 1, 1923 date of foreign origin has been retroactive= ly copyrighted by the American signing of the GATT/Uruguay treaty. But if th= e film premieres in the United States, or an American film is produced and d= irected overseas by someone living outside the US that has a chance of falli= ng in this category as well, or if the producer/director is a foreign citize= n when he makes the film, that can make it available for re-registration. Fo= r example, THE GOLD RUSH has been registered using a GATT form because Chapl= in was a British citizen. It probably wouldn't stand up in court, but it's t= here. Any German film before 1945 was technically seized by the US governmen= t after the war and declared public domain, but Transit Films in Germany cla= ims these same films as copyrighted under the US agreement with the Uruguay=20= treaty. That's open for legal debate.

And any American distributor who distributed a PD foreign film before the ac= ceptance of the GATT/Uruguay treaty would have the right to distribute that=20= film until notified by the legal rights owner that they are in violation.
Even a PD film like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE was put back in copyright by a) cl= aiming the original christmas card that the person wrote with this story was= an "unpublished work" and could be considered for copyright and b) the excl= usive recording rights to two of the songs (Buffalo Gals, I believe was one)= were purchased by the distribution company so you would have to remove them= to show the film. This brings up the subject of underlying copyrights so ev= en if a film is PD, the story it's based on or the music in it could still b= e, keeping the film protected.

The US copyright law is very much like the English language. There are rules= , but there are so many exceptions that it's quite maddening.

But any company like LearMedia is not basing PD on any such legal decison. T= hey're just thieves who make something up to fool the public. It's like phis= hing.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: (800) 603-1104 or (201) 767-3117
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: milefilms@aol.com
Website: http://www.milestonefilms.com

"Welcome to New Jersey.
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Big Hair, Big Heart, Big Fun!"
=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0- Amy Heller
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