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Thread: Public domain

  1. #61
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    iOffer don't seem to operate any kind of copyright laws on their site at all !!! just how do they get away with it.

    There is so much stuff on there that can be commercially bought but they are all selling Dvd + Rips and may I add at exorbitant prices as well they really are taking the proverbial its become a bootleggers paradise in a few cases I have noticed its been cheaper to buy the real thing

  2. #62
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    name='Fellwanderer']According to wikipedia [although I'd check an official French source] it appears to be pretty similar to the UK law - 70 years in most cases. I did look at a couple of French sites but my French isn't up to ensuring I picked up on the legal niceties.


    Allowing for a few local oddities (eg Peter Pan in the UK) copyright law is more or less the same across the EC. As has been said before, I'd be suprised if any feature films at all had entered the public domain in Europe.

  3. #63
    Senior Member Country: UK image45's Avatar
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    Its handy for people who have little to trade and wish to obtain an episode that is not available in the shops but is also a magnet for people just rip'in retail copies of DVD's.

  4. #64
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    The absurdity of the current copyright laws as applied to film is that they basically lock films away in vaults never to be seen again. There are literally hundreds of films supposedly still in copyright, held by archives such as the BFI that would appear to have earnt their copyright owners virtually nothing for years - no television screenings, no commercial video or dvd reissues - nothing. What on earth is the point of that? And I am talking here for a period of well over 30 years since I have been a British film enthusiast!



    Copyright of these items would appear to be bordering on selfishness - I own the copyright, I couldn't care less about it, noting you can do about it. It is very hard in these circumstances to fathom the reasons for such a long term, if there is no commercial gain being made by the copyright holder - (Incidentally, remember that UK copyright law was changed in 1996 to harmonise copyright law throughout EU member states - previous to this, film copyright lasted for 50 years not the 70+ years as currently defined in law.)



    Hopefully some sense my yet prevail. Copyright law is under review within the EU and new rules may be applied to "orphan" works - ie. films where the current copyright holder is unknown. If the law is changed the use of orphan works would be allowable, if genuine attempts to trace the copyright holder had failed.



    Of course there is very little commercial value in releasing box sets of 1930s quota quickies. Only film buffs and a few geeks would buy them. But what a tragedy that the result of current law is that no one can even get a chance even to see them (ok, you can, at a price, if you are able to travel to the BFI in London).



    Sorry for the rant but the absurdity of copyright legislation is something I feel very strongly about.



    MrT

  5. #65
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    I just came across that ioffers site. I don't know what is or isn't in the public domain in the United States. All I know is they have stuff there not available on ebay or Amazon. Yesterday I ordered the 1963 television version of Arsenic and Old Lace starring Boris Karloff and Tony Randall, which I thought no longer existed. I hope the print is okay. And it turns out, they have two rare Conrad Veidt movies he made in England, The Wandering Jew and Jew Suss, subject matter Hollywood never would have touched in those days. If the Arsenic purchase is okay, I'll get those next. Maybe after that The Lambeth Walk. Lupino Lane was a very funny, underrated comic in silent shorts.

  6. #66
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    name='will.15']I just came across that ioffers site. I don't know what is or isn't in the public domain in the United States. All I know is they have stuff there not available on ebay or Amazon. Yesterday I ordered the 1963 television version of Arsenic and Old Lace starring Boris Karloff and Tony Randall, which I thought no longer existed. I hope the print is okay. And it turns out, they have two rare Conrad Veidt movies he made in England, The Wandering Jew and Jew Suss, subject matter Hollywood never would have touched in those days. If the Arsenic purchase is okay, I'll get those next. Maybe after that The Lambeth Walk. Lupino Lane was a very funny, underrated comic in silent shorts.


    It is always worth asking in advance about the quality of the copies on sale. The quality varies enormously on ioffer but generally I have found that the sellers will give you an honest answer if you ask them.

  7. #67
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    name='Fellwanderer']Basically, copyright in the UK lasts for 70 years after the death of the rights owner or the year of creation if the rights owner is unknown. Thus, in theory, no film produced in the UK since the outbreak of WWII should be in the PD.



    See:



    P-01: UK Copyright Law fact sheet


    From your link:

    "iii.Films

    70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last principal director, author or composer dies.



    If the work is of unknown authorship: 70 years from end of the calendar year of creation, or if made available to the public in that time, 70 years from the end of the year the film was first made available."



    That seems really odd that they would count the clock on the death of a director or writer who were works for hire and never owned the film rights anyway.



    As I mentioned before, there are hundreds of films that have fallen into public domain in the U.S. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. On the positive side, it makes a lot of obscure films available through retail as anyone who can get a copy of the film can sell it. There are loads of PD retailers but probably the largest is Alpha Video who's website is at oldies.com. I would imagine that 99% of the films they have released would NOT be available from the studios if they weren't public domain. On the negative side, film prints of these PD releases and transfers aren't going to be anywhere near the quality of a studio release. Taking into account that the studios wouldn't bother with the majority of these films anyway that's a small quibble. What is frustrating is that the studios often have the original 35mm source materials for many of these PD films that are being released sourced from 16mm prints but they have no vested interest to release or even preserve them as they no longer hold the copyright.

  8. #68
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='Badfinger']That seems really odd that they would count the clock on the death of a director or writer who were works for hire and never owned the film rights anyway.
    There's a difference between the copyright and having the distribution rights.



    Usually the director (and possibly others like the writer and the composer) get the copyright and the producer or the production company gets the distribution rights



    And with British films, where we don't have such a strong studio system as in America, the director and writer are much less often "workers for hire" than they are in America



    Steve

  9. #69
    Senior Member Country: England
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    If everyone took notice of the copyright/public domain laws there wouldn't be any old film to watch...16mm collectors have been at it for years, even if most of it has gone 'underground'.



    Did you know that 80% of the material in the British Film Institute is nicked or has a copyright belonging to someone else!



    If you found a long lost Laurel and Hardy gem at a boot fair on 35mm...would you ignore it because of the copyright laws?



    Film Man

  10. #70
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
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    name='Film Man']



    If you found a long lost Laurel and Hardy gem at a boot fair on 35mm...would you ignore it because of the copyright laws?



    Film Man


    Of course not, especially if it was Hats Off.

  11. #71
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='Film Man']If everyone took notice of the copyright/public domain laws there wouldn't be any old film to watch...16mm collectors have been at it for years, even if most of it has gone 'underground'.



    Did you know that 80% of the material in the British Film Institute is nicked or has a copyright belonging to someone else!



    If you found a long lost Laurel and Hardy gem at a boot fair on 35mm...would you ignore it because of the copyright laws?



    Film Man


    If nobody took any notice of the copyright laws then nobody would bother making films



    But I know what you mean. It is a difficult balance that must be struck between doing the right thing by the film-maker (or making a decent attempt to do so) and having their work made available



    Steve

  12. #72
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    name='Film Man']Did you know that 80% of the material in the British Film Institute is nicked or has a copyright belonging to someone else?


    I'm not sure I see your point here. Are you saying the BFI are holding stolen property? Surely nobody expects them to be the copyright owners of the films in their collection any more than a library is a copyright owner. It's why they can't produce dvds to order (nice though that would be!)

  13. #73
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    name='will.15']It's all very confusing. There are some 1980 TV movies that are readily available here from multiple different distributors here at cheap prices, like George C. Scott's sequel to Patton, which suggests they've somehow lapsed into the public domain.


    At one time there was a requirement in the US for a film to serve a copyright notice and US films made beyond 1977 that are in the public domain up until 1989 are in the public domain for that reason. From 1978 such films were entitled to have copyright asserted if it was done within five years but, remarkably, that did not always happen.

  14. #74
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    name='torinfan']Details from Amazon:



    Format: NTSC

    Language: English

    Region: All Regions

    Studio: Televista

    DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008

    Run Time: 74 minutes

    ASIN: B001DM3QJ6


    This is a bootleg.



    That film is a bootleg. UK based distributor S. Gold set up a website briefly and it contained a catalogue consisting of Blackhorse Entertainment, Orbit Media, Jef Films and Televista, all bootleg labels.



    Gasbags will be in copyright in the US until at least 2035.

  15. #75
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    name='WesternFan']This seems to have generated a bit of interest. Thanks to all who have replied.

    Presume this means that a film first released in 1937 in USA is now in public domain.

    But one released in UK in 1939 is not.


    Hi WesternFan. A US film released before 1923 will be in the public domain. Only if a copyright notice was never issued for US films released between 1923 and 1989 or copyright was not renewed after 28 years for US films made between 1923 and 1963 could a US film be in the public domain.



    The copyright for films released before 1978 was increased to 95 years in 1998. In effect US films stopped falling in to the public domain in the US in 1998 but US films will begin rolling in to the public domain in 2017.



    I hope that helps.

  16. #76
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain GoggleboxUK's Avatar
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    As far as I'm concerned this is the criteria ob which I will buy a copy:



    1. If the work isn't available elsewhere.

    2. If there have been significant cuts to the official release and the bootleg is intact.

    3. If I only require a single episode whereby the whole series is available officially.

    4. If the work is exorbitantly priced after years of availability. For example A Touch of Frost series 1-5 boxset is �110 (or was until afew weeks ago) whereas other series from the same year or older (such as The Professionals) is being sold for �17.99.



    [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B000ERVFXA/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new"]http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B000ERVFXA/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new[/ame]





    To sum up, if they play fair then so do I. Do unto others and all that.

  17. #77
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    name='Badfinger']

    That seems really odd that they would count the clock on the death of a director or writer who were works for hire and never owned the film rights anyway.


    I agree Badfinger, it is very odd. The same is true for US films published since 1978. The rule that applies also applies to authors of literary and musical works where the copyright is usually retained by the author(s). In the case of film, authors are almost always commissioned and copyright is immediately assigned to the producer yet the provision that extends the copyright in relation to the lifetime of authors is hardly ever of benefit to the author on whose lifespan the extension of copyright exists.



    Due to the virtue of having employed Roy Douglas to compose the music for Dick Turpin (1933), the owners have at least another 70 years of copyright protection to go in the UK.

  18. #78
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    name='CaptainWaggett;354617]
    name='Film Man'']Did you know that 80% of the material in the British Film Institute is nicked or has a copyright belonging to someone else?
    I'm not sure I see your point here. Are you saying the BFI are holding stolen property? Surely nobody expects them to be the copyright owners of the films in their collection any more than a library is a copyright owner. It's why they can't produce dvds to order (nice though that would be!)


    I think Film Man might saying that the BFI have acquired some titles in their collection that at one time should not have existed legally. I understand that where copies of films were made for distribution by a distributor who had a limited license to distribute a film, there was a legal requirement (Copyright Act 1956) to destroy such copies within 28 days of the distribution license expiring. Where that never happened and original material had been destroyed, retainers of such material have come to the rescue of some film titles before now.



    Film Man's point about copyright seems to me to be irrelevant though.

  19. #79
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    name='JamesM']I think Film Man might saying that the BFI have acquired some titles in their collection that at one time should not have existed legally. I understand that where copies of films were made for distribution by a distributor who had a limited license to distribute a film, there was a legal requirement (Copyright Act 1956) to destroy such copies within 28 days of the distribution license. Where that never happened and original material had been destroyed, retainers of such material have come to the rescue of some film titles before now.



    Film Man's point about copyright seems to me to be irrelevant though.


    Didn't know about that. Lucky that archivists are a bunch of thieving b***ards

  20. #80
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    name='CaptainWaggett']Didn't know about that. Lucky that archivists are a bunch of thieving b***ards




    b***ards ........are they like p***oets ??

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