General Question

Ria777's avatar

Easy way to tell if a work has entered into the public domain?

Asked by Ria777 (2687points) November 28th, 2008

specifically of a film released in 1946. I think that the copyright holders may have renewed the copyright. I would like to make certain either way.

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4 Answers

laureth's avatar

First off, here’s a handy chart for reference.

For something from 1946, you’d have to research the copyright to that specific film to find out if it’s been renewed. You could check with the company that released it, and that address can probably be found just by Googling the name of the company. If you don’t know the company, and can’t locate a legit copy of the movie to look at the box it’s in, it may be possible to find that information on AllMovie or IMDB.

Hope this helps. :)

Vincentt's avatar

You could check whether the authors have passed away, how long ago that was and which country they came from. Then check Wikipedia for the copyright policy in that country.

As far as I can remember, copyright in the Netherlands and most other countries is gained automatically (no need to “renew” or “apply” for it) and expires a certain while either after the death of the author. (Just looked it up in Wikipedia – in the EU it’s 70 years after the author’s death)

Authors can also explicitly place their work in the public domain.

Ria777's avatar

@laureth, the film has come out in a DVD made by Paramount. so I assume Paramount owns the rights. I wanted to make sure that it does, though. they may have just put out a public domain film for all I know. (they put it out in a cheapie pack with another film from the same era.)

Ria777's avatar

@Vincentt, I know about Creative Commons. didn’t exist back in 1946, though, and certainly not for studio movies!

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