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 Posted: Sun Jan 17th, 2010 11:06 pm
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bobbichukran
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Joined: Wed Jan 31st, 2007
Location: Texas USA
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Mana: 
Hi all,

Does anybody know what the legalities are if I wanted to loosely adapt a public domain movie from 1933 into a play?  It wasn't a book or story first.   There are free copies of the movie all over the place, but that doesn't mean that the screenplay wasn't copyrighted.

Anybody know for sure? 

thanks!

bobbi c.
http://www.bobbichukran.blogspot.com

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 Posted: Mon Apr 12th, 2010 05:05 pm
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tolston
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Mana: 
Hm, assuming that these are legal free copies of course, it seems to me that you couldn't distribute free copies of the movie if the screenplay was still under copyright (where did you see it listed as public domain?).  As for how to know for sure, perhaps you could contact whatever company is distributing it?  They presumably could tell you if they're having to pay royalties on it in any way.  But if it does turn out to truly be in the public domain then it's fair game!  Just my thoughts, and in no way should it be considered sound legal advice. :-)

-T. James Belich-

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 Posted: Mon Apr 12th, 2010 11:01 pm
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bobbichukran
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Mana: 
tolston wrote: Hm, assuming that these are legal free copies of course, it seems to me that you couldn't distribute free copies of the movie if the screenplay was still under copyright (where did you see it listed as public domain?).  As for how to know for sure, perhaps you could contact whatever company is distributing it?  They presumably could tell you if they're having to pay royalties on it in any way.  But if it does turn out to truly be in the public domain then it's fair game!  Just my thoughts, and in no way should it be considered sound legal advice. :-)

-T. James Belich-
Hi James...I didn't want to distribute copies of the movie. I was thinking of taking the story in the movie and turning it into a play.  I did do a little sleuthing and turned up nothing, except that it's one of those old movies you see everywhere, on cheap DVDs, in collections, etc.  Since then, I've decided to use the basic premise of the story and adapt it with my own characters, situation, etc.  Which makes it perfectly legal, since basic plots aren't protected.

bobbi c.

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