The New Year always begins with the International Public Domain Day!
Name a lawyer who hasn’t watched the movie The Devil’s Advocate and we will have a one-month break from writing blogs on IP!
This is not a post on filmmaking, but since the legal profession has strings attached (probably!) to any other field – and as a lawyer, you can bet on this – in this blog we will talk #movies from the legal perspective.
However, what you (probably) might not know is that an IP claim caused a delay in Devil’s Advocate release in theatres back in 1997.
Shortly summarised: A judge ruled on the movie’s delay for two days because a sculptor claimed his art was used in the background of one of the scenes, without him giving his consent.
This incident didn’t stop the movie’s release, nor its universal greatness! Yet, it paved the way for lawyers to lead the movie-making process.
No, lawyers don’t create characters, they don’t choose lenses, and for sure they have nothing to do with the subjects’ framing. However, if you want to have a clean slate of your creative work, we advise you to contact an IP lawyer. She will legally check your creativity, so minor inconveniences such as the one with the Devils’ Advocate won’t happen to you.
Even if you are not at all involved in the creative process, we find it impossible not to be a fan of Disney or Warner Bros. And if our presumption is right, you are reading the right blog!
Why do we commemorate it?
Because Copyright protection is for a limited time only. In Albania, authors’ economic rights on a copyrighted work last for 70 years after his death, whereas, moral rights pass on to his heirs. However, once the copyrighted term expires, the work enters the public domain and anyone is free to use it – respecting the legal limitations of moral rights.
What is Public Domain?
Public domain is a clean slate of copyright restrictions. For example, if you want to use a copyrighted work, ideally you should ask for authors’ permission, or ultimately – you should pay for it. In any scenario, it’s up to the authors’ to decide.
Whereas, a work which has entered the public domain, you are free to use it without any a priori permission, ad hoc contracts or payments involved.
Why is Public Domain important?
We will answer this by quoting Lawrence Lessig – an advocate of copyright terms extensions: “Creativity builds upon the public domain.”
Here lies its importance: the boost it gives to the creative process, and the foster to innovation.
What’s got to do with Disney and Warner Bros?
In 2003, Disney almost lost its copyrights on the Mouse and other characters, because they were set to expire. The Congress came to the rescue by passing the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) and expanding the term of protection by 20 years to the maximum of 70 years after the author’s death.
It’s all good! Mickey and co belong to Disney, Superman will be providing royalties for Warner Bros – at least until 2033 – just in case the Congress will not opt for additional extensions.
Anyhow, if you want to (legally) use them, have a call with an attorney specialized in IP!
Here at Legit we will make it easier for you. We are creating a #legit database with attorneys who will offer their legal services in a click. You can register here.
Choosing an attorney has never been this easy!