question about copyrighting a version of a public domain book

Reply Fri 28 Jul, 2017 04:25 pm
I am producing a 25 minute animated feature about Peter Pan for kids. The book PETER PAN is public domain. But I think that I need to copyright my version in the USA. How do I do that. My story is based on the original book and will be my own version. Fair Use is happening in this instance.
Reply Fri 28 Jul, 2017 06:06 pm
Not so fast.

For the story, which you say is in the public domain, you don't need to make a fair use argument. For other versions, say, the Disney animated classic, you may need to, if your work is derivative of theirs. And fair use is generally not going to happen when your work is being produced for a commercial purpose.

Furthermore, your information on Peter Pan being in the public domain is incomplete - because parts of it definitely are not.

You'd best contact an attorney who specializes in copyright before you proceed.
Reply Fri 28 Jul, 2017 08:14 pm
Well, my goodness. Who knew?
Reply Sat 29 Jul, 2017 04:13 am
I've been hip-deep in copyright law for the past year (with reference to Star Trek fan films). Fair use is not some magic guarantee people can hide behind, and public domain in the US is not the same as public domain elsewhere. Plus with the internet making pretty much every business an international one, content creators have to be aware of these things.
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Reply Sun 30 Jul, 2017 07:15 am
JM Barrie bequeathed the rights to Great Ormond's Street Hospital. Although pantomimes no longer have to give money to GOSH almost all of them do because it's seen as the right thing to do and not doing so would be a PR disaster.

Even Disney donates to GOSH. The copyright ended about the same time Disney partnered GOSH.

Since Disney partnered with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity in 2008, they have raised more than £10 million towards the hospital’s vital redevelopment programme.


Bad publicity could be worse than legal action.
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