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koots
01-14-2005, 09:00 PM
back in December, I bought the book the lorax. by dr. suess. It was one of my favorite childhood books. Now that I am learning LW I would like to take the book and turn it into a 10 or 15 min movie. I know this will take a long time! before I get too deeply involved I wanted to know if it were against any copy laws to turn the book into a movie for me, Not to be sold. just a project for me. the book was writen in 1904, and the last copy write date was 1971, by Suess Enterprises, L.p. Am i breaking any laws by doing this??? Thanks

I do not think so, because I have seen a few things like this before with different books, I just wanted to make sure before investing 1,000's of hours more into this.

Thanks
-Jonn

tonsofpcs
01-14-2005, 09:56 PM
Hmmm... I know that works copyrighted before a certain date had some sort of extension, I don't know what the copyright end date is on that, but from what I understand, you can use it for things that are just for YOU or educational purposes.

WizCraker
01-15-2005, 12:46 AM
Usually the life of the author plus 50 years. So it would be a copyright violation if you used it outside of personal use. If you published it on the Web, Video, or any other means of distribution for others to see it would be illegal. If you want to post it for others to see call the publisher to ask permission to use it or else you might find yourself in hot water.

JCG
01-15-2005, 01:06 AM
As I understand it, for published works, it doesn't matter too much when it was written. It only matters when it was published.

If it was published before 1923, then it's in the public domain and you can do anything you want with it, for profit or not.

If it was published between 1923 and 1963, it would be protected for 28 years and, after that, it would be public domain. BUT! the copyright could then be renewed for a maximum of 67 years, so you'd have to find if it has been renewed and for how long.

If published between 1964 and 1977, same as above but the renovation is automatic.

If published after 1978, life of the author+70 years or if the work belongs to a company, 95 years from publicatin or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

If it hasn't been published, it would be protected the life of the author+70 years or until 12-31-2002, whichever is greater.

...I think

So if it was really written in 1904, you're in luck, just make sure you know the publication date because if it was published in 1971....

That's the US, of course. In Europe it's life+70 In Canada and Australia it's life+50, which is why you can read Tarzan for free there.

If it's still under copyright, then it would probably be considered fan-art

Fan art is not illegal in the US. It is only unlawful. That means that the state cannot prosecute you for it, but the copyright owner can sue you for it, if he wants to.

Since most owners of pretty much everything don't want to prosecute anyone for making fan-art, and pretty much all of them like it that fan art is made of their products, it is generally considered that they implicitly have given permission to do it.

It is usually all-right with them even to sell the fan-art, as long as it's the original piece. Now, if you make copies of your fan-art, then some owners can consider it publishing, and that's not all-right with them. When they find out about this, they will send a cease and desist letter. If you don't comply, they'd probably send you to court.

Once in court, it doesn't matter if you made money from it or not, except for the amount you'll be fined. If you didn't make money, fines go from $500 to $20,000
If you did make money, the sky's the limit :)

If you make electronic copies, as you'd probably have to in this case, the owner could see it as a fan showing his friends how he made a fan art of their work, or they could interpret it as publishing. It depends on the impression that they get. If you look innocent, they'll probably consider you innocent. If you present it like you're the next John Huston, they'll probably see you as an illegal competitor.

If you put your fan art on the web and they take you to court for it, a judge could rule that you didn't make copies; only the ones who downloaded it did and therefore, you didn't publish. The judge could also say that the spirit of the law indicates that you did make copies. It depends on what judge you get.

Asking for permission is a bit tricky since, while most copyright owners are OK with it being known that they give implicit permission to make fan art, they are more wary of giving explicit permission for it, and if you ask and they say "no", you can't use their implicit premission either...

....I think....

Karmacop
01-15-2005, 06:59 AM
I think that is a fine piece of writing, and shows that US copyright laws (including satire and fan-art) have been changed to conform to what big buisness wants.

Life + 50 years is too long. Copyright isn't natural, you can't find it in nature, it has been created in law to give people an incentive to make more works, and to make a living from it. So as soon as the author dies there's no money going to the author, only their family and the publisher. Now I'm sure even giving the family 20 years of royalties is enough for them to start making their own living. The micky mouse laws to extend copyright is even stupider. It goes against copyright law, as there is no end to the copyright protection. :(

spec24
01-15-2005, 08:39 AM
I think that is a fine piece of writing, and shows that US copyright laws (including satire and fan-art) have been changed to conform to what big buisness wants.

Life + 50 years is too long. Copyright isn't natural, you can't find it in nature, it has been created in law to give people an incentive to make more works, and to make a living from it. So as soon as the author dies there's no money going to the author, only their family and the publisher. Now I'm sure even giving the family 20 years of royalties is enough for them to start making their own living. The micky mouse laws to extend copyright is even stupider. It goes against copyright law, as there is no end to the copyright protection. :(


As well there shouldn't be. You create something, it's yours - should be, no doubt about it. If you die it should go to whomever wants it?? I don't think so. If I create something and then die I want my family to have control of it - not some punk kid who takes my creation and makes a drawing of my character peeing on a Ford/Chevy symbol (not that he died, but you get my meaning).

koots
01-15-2005, 09:01 AM
Wow, thanks guys. Some of you put a lot of effort into helping. I guess I will call random house publishing and see what they have to say... If I find out anything I will post it and let you guys know...

Karmacop
01-16-2005, 05:44 AM
Of course it's yours, and of course your family/estate should look after your creation. All I'm saying is that after the author is dead, they don't need money from their creation, so it should enter the public domain. Should people be allowed to make mickey mouse porn? No, That is destroying a character. Should they be allowed to make and distribute copies of mickey mouse movies without paying royalties(i don't know what the case is with this)? I believe so.

koots
01-16-2005, 09:03 AM
I would say Karmacop I would have to agree with you. If Random House will not let me, I think that will be pretty dumb. I called them on Sat morning, and left a msg to have them call me back. I will probably not find anything out for about a month, Anyhow I will keep you guys updated...

Karmacop
01-16-2005, 10:13 PM
Maybe they wont reply to your phone call, but after you've spent time and effort creatin it THEN they'll contact you and ask you to remove it. Aren't some companys great? ;)

Adrian Lopez
01-17-2005, 02:46 PM
As well there shouldn't be. You create something, it's yours - should be, no doubt about it. If you die it should go to whomever wants it?? I don't think so. If I create something and then die I want my family to have control of it - not some punk kid who takes my creation and makes a drawing of my character peeing on a Ford/Chevy symbol (not that he died, but you get my meaning).Sorry spec24, but that's just silly. Contrary to what you're suggesting the works that you publish are not really yours. Copyright gives you a limited-time monopoly over distribution of your work and its derivatives, but such is not a natural right, for copying does not deprive you of anything that you had before the copying took place. Copyright's primary purpose isn't to benefit you, the author, its purpose is to benefit us, the public. Like it says in the US constitution, copyright shall be granted to authors "for limited times" in order to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts". Your work does not belong to you, it belongs to those who look at it, read it or listen to it.

Can you imagine if Homer's Odyssey was still under copyright and nobody could create a movie that's based upon it? Can you imagine if Mozart's works were still under copyright and nobody could play his compositions without the copyright holder's permission? If you answer these questions honestly it is easy to see that treating creative works as property makes absolutely no sense.

As far as I'm concerned we all have the right to build upon the works of others. Where copyright law prevents this it should only be for limited times, and only in order to reward authors for helping increase the number of works available to the public domain. In fact, unlike Karmacop I do not believe it should matter whether a character is being "destroyed" or not when preparing a derivative work (provided the new work is not attributed to the original author), because for every "brilliant" re-interpretation of a work there is always somebody who claims the original work has been "destroyed".

Karmacop
01-17-2005, 03:01 PM
Here's a question then. Can you make a character a trademark or something similar?

Adrian Lopez
01-17-2005, 03:15 PM
Here's a question then. Can you make a character a trademark or something similar?I'm sure you can (in fact, I think Mickey Mouse is a tradmark), but my personal opinion is that trademark protection should be limited to using the character in the context of a "brand" or other symbol used to identify a particular product in trade. It should not apply to the actual contents of a work, derivative or otherwise.

Karmacop
01-17-2005, 11:47 PM
In that case, I agree with you.

harlan
01-17-2005, 11:58 PM
If memory serves me correctly, Steven Spielberg bought the rights to the Dr. Seuss collection after Dr. Seuss passed away. Spielberg has done things like that in the past to insure the protection of the family and more often than not to prevent some "a s s" (aka. Michael Jackson) from purchasing them like the Beatles catalog for example. :)

Seriously though, I think Steven secured the rights a few years back to make sure the 'Seuss' family could keep it.

I could be wrong though - it's just very rare that I am however. :)

spec24
02-16-2006, 12:28 PM
Sorry spec24, but that's just silly. Contrary to what you're suggesting the works that you publish are not really yours. Copyright gives you a limited-time monopoly over distribution of your work and its derivatives, but such is not a natural right, for copying does not deprive you of anything that you had before the copying took place. Copyright's primary purpose isn't to benefit you, the author, its purpose is to benefit us, the public. Like it says in the US constitution, copyright shall be granted to authors "for limited times" in order to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts". Your work does not belong to you, it belongs to those who look at it, read it or listen to it.

Can you imagine if Homer's Odyssey was still under copyright and nobody could create a movie that's based upon it? Can you imagine if Mozart's works were still under copyright and nobody could play his compositions without the copyright holder's permission? If you answer these questions honestly it is easy to see that treating creative works as property makes absolutely no sense.

As far as I'm concerned we all have the right to build upon the works of others. Where copyright law prevents this it should only be for limited times, and only in order to reward authors for helping increase the number of works available to the public domain. In fact, unlike Karmacop I do not believe it should matter whether a character is being "destroyed" or not when preparing a derivative work (provided the new work is not attributed to the original author), because for every "brilliant" re-interpretation of a work there is always somebody who claims the original work has been "destroyed".

sorry to bring back this thread after such a long time but I jsut ran across this reply. Adrian you may want to read up on copyright laws because the laws have been changed since the us constitution was written. Here's a link: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-duration.html#duration You're just dead wrong.

My point was just in addition to the current laws - which pretty much do what I said. However, imo, in the absense of a family member, or at the discretion of, the copyright may be sold or turned over to public domain. Copyrights are intended to protect authors, not the public who's viewing the work.

spec24
02-16-2006, 12:39 PM
Of course it's yours, and of course your family/estate should look after your creation. All I'm saying is that after the author is dead, they don't need money from their creation, so it should enter the public domain.

Should inheritances also enter into public domain. Because a copyright shifting hands to the family could be argued is an inheritance with all its monitary value. Entering into public domain deny the family of royalties because they no longer have exclusive rights to the copyright. And who would police what is good taste in using a copyrighted characer (your reference to porn) and not good taste. Public domain means public domain.