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RiffTrax Discussion => Individual RiffTrax Discussion => Plan 9 from Outer Space => Topic started by: shortstack on November 19, 2006, 12:14:08 PM

Title: Public Domain?
Post by: shortstack on November 19, 2006, 12:14:08 PM
I notice that this movie used to be public domain, but isn't any longer.  Anybody know why? I apologize if this has already been answered somewhere else.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Minnesota on November 19, 2006, 12:35:30 PM
Where did you here that, I was of the opinion that once things enter public domain they stay there.

My best guess is that: America's public domain laws give 'copyright' for life of creater and product doesn't enter public domain until 75 years after their death. This law went into effect in the 70's, prior to that the artist needed to renew copyright every 45 years. My guess is that nobody filed an initial copyright in the 60's causing NotLD to go public domain, but recently someone was able to claim rights to it, with good lawyers this shouldn't be too hard seeing as the law is on their side.

Edit: I zoned for a minute and thought you were talking about Night of the Living Dead. Never realized that Plan 9 was ever public domain?
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Winterkid on November 19, 2006, 12:58:33 PM
The original black and white Plan 9 from Outer Space is still in the Public Domain (almost typed it PUBIC domain, EWWW!), the (colorized?) version with the commentary is a commercial product now available for sale, so it is NOT in the public domain.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: shortstack on November 19, 2006, 01:02:57 PM
I found dead bittorrent files on both archive.org and publicdomaintorrents, so I assume it was public domain for a while, but for some reason it's no longer available as a 'public domain' download.  It's still on Google video, and I downloaded it from there, but I'm still curious as to what happened. I read a rumour somewhere that someone wanted to do a remake, but so far I can't substantiate it.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Winterkid on November 19, 2006, 01:09:54 PM
They already made a remake of it...  A 1990 version.  No idea who's in it, but it's pretty much the same story as the original.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Petey Wheatstraw on November 19, 2006, 01:24:54 PM
Plan 9 from Outer Space is public domain, despite what Wade Williams would like to have you believe. The only version of the film that currently has a copyright on it is Legend Films' excellent colorized version.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: mkiker on November 20, 2006, 12:34:20 AM
You can claim copyright on your work. Plan 9 colorized by Legend is copyrighted but the movie is still PD.

NOTLD and It's a Wonderful Life are in the grey area because both have had recent copyrights on elements of the movie. In that respect the remake of NOTLD copyrighted the original in some ways. It makes no sense to me, but Romero has lawyers that understand it.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Petey Wheatstraw on November 20, 2006, 04:21:18 AM
No element of Night of the Living Dead has a copyright on it - they recently did a remake that had absolutely no affiliation with the makers of the original.

It's A Wonderful Life was never public domain.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Msampo on November 20, 2006, 05:42:27 AM
No element of "Night of the Living Dead" has a copyright on it - they recently did a remake that had absolutely no affiliation with the makers of the original.

"It's A Wonderful Life" was never public domain.
As Wikipedia notes:
"...a clerical error at National Telefilm Associates prevented the copyright from being renewed properly in 1974. Around this time, ... a popular fallacy began that it entered the public domain and many television stations began airing the film without paying royalties. ...
For several years, it became expected that the movie would be shown multiple times on at least one station and on multiple stations in the same day, often at the same or overlapping times. ... In 1993, Republic Pictures, which was the successor to NTA, relied on the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Stewart v. Abend (which involved the movie Rear Window) to enforce its claim of copyright; while the film's copyright had not been renewed, it was a derivative work of various works that were still copyrighted. As a result, the film is no longer shown as much on television (NBC is currently licensed to show the film on U.S. network television...), the colorized versions have been withdrawn, and Republic now has exclusive ancillary rights to the film. Artisan Entertainment (under license from Republic) took over home video rights in the mid-1990's, Artisan was later sold to Lions Gate Entertainment, which continued to hold home video rights until late 2005 when they reverted to Republic's sister studio Paramount, whose parent is Viacom."
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Tarantulas on November 20, 2006, 06:25:04 AM
Yeah... waged pretty hard over on another thread for a while.

The bottom line is that most "public domain" movies are really just in a gray area till thousands of pounds of lawyers swing into action to prove the issue one way or another.

Corman has said for years (and even took out a full page ad in Variety in the 80's) that he still owns the rights to Little Shop of Horrors.  Now wither he has the means to prove that or not, has yet to be seen.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: mkiker on November 20, 2006, 12:12:45 PM
No element of "Night of the Living Dead" has a copyright on it - they recently did a remake that had absolutely no affiliation with the makers of the original.

"It's A Wonderful Life" was never public domain.

George Romero would disagree with you. Tom Savini directed the remake and it is copyrighted, so the script and other elements are protected. The dvd of the remake touches on that, but I don't know enough about copyright laws to clearly understand it other than the basic fact that Romero produced a remake to "shore up the rights of the original."
I'm not saying you can't still copy and sell the original, but some rights have been enforced, hence the new "remake" not using anything close to the original story.

There is a movie trying to walk on the coat tails of NOTLD that was made this year, but it isn't affiliated at all and has a different story.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: shortstack on November 23, 2006, 06:41:52 AM
Well, as for Plan 9, when I go to Archive.org, the page that the film was originally on now says this:

The item is not available due to issues with the item's content.

They also appear to be having the same debate:
http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=45916

I'm currently sifting through information over at US Copyright office website, even though most of the info makes no sense to me.

Why? Well, because now I'm just insanely curious.

EDIT: I emailed both archive.org and publicdomaintorrents.com and pestered them about it.  Should be interesting.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: shortstack on November 26, 2006, 11:08:37 AM
Hmm, well I haven't heard back from Archive.org yet, but here's what publicdomaintorrents had to say:

"There is  some question as to if its public domain or not and nobody
feels
like gettin sued to find out."


I'm getting the impression that he might have taken it down when he saw that archive.org took theirs down.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: DeadlyCinema on March 02, 2007, 05:32:04 PM
I believe that "Night of the Living Dead", as well as others like "The Last Man on Earth" and "Hollywood After Dark", fall into the Unregistered category. This essentially means that, in the United States, registration, both federal or state, is not required to obtain rights in a trademark. Had to do my homework on this for obvious reasons. As for "Plan 9", I'm pretty sure it's registered under the Wade Williams name.

Matthew
myspace.com/deadlycinema
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Petey Wheatstraw on March 02, 2007, 11:52:17 PM
As for "Plan 9", I'm pretty sure it's registered under the Wade Williams name.

No, it isn't. Once a movie becomes public domain, it can't be copyrighted. Although Williams claims copyright on this one, he has never, and will never own the film.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: DeadlyCinema on March 03, 2007, 11:06:20 PM
No, it isn't. Once a movie becomes public domain, it can't be copyrighted. Although Williams claims copyright on this one, he has never, and will never own the film.

Sorry, you're right, then. That's refreshing to hear.

Matthew
myspace.com/deadlycinema

Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Plastic Self-Cleaning Duck on July 15, 2007, 12:38:43 AM
As for "Plan 9", I'm pretty sure it's registered under the Wade Williams name.

No, it isn't. Once a movie becomes public domain, it can't be copyrighted. Although Williams claims copyright on this one, he has never, and will never own the film.
Then how did Godzilla vs. Megalon go from being PD (when The Brains used it in the show) to copywrited again (so that Toho could threaten Rhino and get Vol. 10 pulled)?

I mean, Yahoo Movies used to stream G vs. M once upon a time along with White Zombieand NOTLD....

And as far as Williams' claim....according to the book "Nightmare of Ecstacy", Williams bought the rights for all of Wood's films from Kathy Wood after Ed's death.  All the people they interviewed for the book were really pissed that he took advantage of her.   Unless of course she didn't really own them either....
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: Petey Wheatstraw on August 08, 2007, 12:43:45 PM
how did Godzilla vs. Megalon go from being PD (when The Brains used it in the show) to copywrited again (so that Toho could threaten Rhino and get Vol. 10 pulled)?

It was never PD. It was believed to be PD. But, as was the case with It's a Wonderful Life, the film was still under copyright, but nobody bothered to check on it.
Title: Re: Public Domain?
Post by: tohoscope on July 17, 2009, 02:10:32 PM
It's A Wonderful Life was never public domain.

Actually, it was.  Sort of.  Originally the copyright for the movie wasn't renewed in 1974 and the film slipped into public domain were the film found a resurgence of interest being played over and over on local TV stations.   However, it turned out the soundtrack was still in copyright.   Technically the visual half of It's a Wonderful Life is in public domain, it's specifically the music that's not in the public domain.

Also, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_a_Wonderful_Life), the movie is protected as a "derivative work" that is based on published story that happens to still be in copyright.  Which is a pretty messed up legal argument if you ask me, but I'm not a big time city lawyer working for a big Hollywood studio with deep pockets and big bank accounts so what do I know?