*** Reply to note of 07/21/93 15:03
Martha and Jeff: it's important to be careful before assuming a film is in the
public domain merely because it appears on published list. The new copyright
laws passed in 1991 and 1992 changed many of the rules for filmed works
created prior to 1977. Film Comment has had several articles covering some of
the changes: the citations can be found in periodical databases that include
Film Comment by searching on the keyword "copyright."
Another important point is that a film formerly in the public domain can be
removed from it, if certain conditions are met--so at any given moment one
can't be completely sure about a picture's status without investing in legal
research. Example: Republic Home Video recently purchased the rights to the
story and music used in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE--and now claims legal ownership
of this once-PD film. --Don