August 27, 2010
n 1900, L. Frank Baum wrote the famous children's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It's easy to assume that since the book was published more than 110 years ago, the characters of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the rest are safely in the public domain.
Or so Hollywood hopes. Many movie studios are in the midst of re-adapting the classic. But the truth about what's in the public domain and what's not may be a little murky, thanks to a decision on Tuesday by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Warner Bros. owns the rights to the 1939 MGM movie, The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland.
Five years ago, the studio sued AVELA, which specializes in nostalgia merchandise. The defendant had acquired restored versions of the movie posters and lobby cards for Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind and several Tom & Jerry short films. AVELA extracted images of the famous characters from the films and put them on shirts, lunch boxes, music box lids, playing cards and more. Warners claimed copyright infringement.
At the district court level, Warners won summary judgment and got an injunction. This hard-fought case eventually landed at the Eighth Circuit, whose job it was to figure out what was copyrighted and what was in the public domain.
On certain elements, Warner loses. The justices agree with AVELA that because the publicity materials were made available some 70 years ago without copyright notice and without instructions to return or destroy, they were injected into the public domain. The Eighth Circuit thus lifts an injunction on certain items, such as any faithful reproduction of Tom & Jerry posters.
However, Warners may have won a much bigger point, and the decision has the potential to impact everything we think we know about the public domain, as well as several Wizard of Oz remakes currently in development.
We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm
April 9, 2009
April 9, 2009
We sold some gift items to Disneyland in the late 1970's that went into a store in Frontierland. they were sold in the little store right next to the shooting galery. they only ordered a test market to try them, and they never took off, so thats was the end of that.
Point is the order form from Disneyland, had very specific language and agreements about the use of their name, characters, mentioning we sell to them, and named a ton of resticted names we were not allowed to use whatsoever. It named every charater from Mickey Mouse to Snow White, Disney, Disneyland, any name or character connected with them, movies, the park. They defend their copyrites to the death.
All the estates of famous people go one practically forever. The 3 stooges forinstance, Abbot and Costello, all of them have estates that continue after death, just like Elvis and Michael Jackson. I'm sure many of them will be going far past all of our lifetimes.
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