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July 1993


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 22 Jul 1993 18:19:34 EDT
text/plain (33 lines)
The impetus for the following was a post in CNI-COPY a list concerned
with copyright matters.  Since WONDERFUL LIFE has emerged as a topic
perhaps it will be of interest to SCREEN-L.  cal
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
My understanding of the situation around IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is slightly
different from the post you forwarded.  As I understand it WONDERFUL LIFE
was never registered for copyright.  Given the situation under the old law
it fell into public domain and was bootlegged all around.
As a side-note, its popularity stems from the repeated showings around
Republic is apparently now claiming all rights on the basis of having
purchased the music rights to the film.  This claim is dubious but
supportable in some interpretations.  Music rights (especially for films)
is a legal nightmare.  My guess is that Republic is trying the 800 pound
gorilla tactic.  By making the claim maybe they can intimidate all of the
independent stations into paying some kind of graft.
My further guess is that we haven't heard the last of this since there is
a relatively substantial investment in the colorized version and I can't
foresee this investment being allowed to lapse.  Besides, the state of
the law is such that a colorized version can be (likely was) copyright
as a new product.  This latter copyright, though, depends on the underlying
copyright which in this case didn't exist.
I know nothing directly about the music rights.
Cal Pryluck, Radio-Television-Film, Temple University, Philadelphia
<[log in to unmask]>  <PRYLUCK@TEMPLEVM>