Re: Bow-maniacs / video availability

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: alt.movies.silent
Date: Sunday, February 08, 1998 7:42 AM

ChaneyFan wrote in message <> in response to me…
>>>>I just received a catalog from Video Specialists International, and they
>have "Mantrap," "Hula," "Primrose Path," "Saturday Night Kid" … . I don't know the legal
>status of these tapes, but I do recall that Foothill Video had them, but then
>removed them from their catalog…>>

>Foothill obviously figured out the legal status before Video Specialists did.
>All those listed above, including all the Bow talkies are still copyrighted,
>hence these were all bootlegged copies that they were/are selling. It usually
>takes only one letter from the Paramount legal department to bring these sales
>to a screeching halt.

From my original post, it should have been apparent that I considered these tapes most likely to be bootlegs, but every so often a film that seems to be still copyrighted, turns out not to be, due to a hard-to-detect flaw in copyright registration. The copyright office may have a renewal registration, but 1) the renewal was submitted too late to be valid, 2) an improper copyright notice was always on the film itself, 3) the original copyright registration was made more than a year after the film was first exhibited to paying audiences (if that provision was applicable when the film came out), 4) the renewal was taken out by a party that did not at the time have a valid ownership interest in the original copyright, and no true proprietors, assignees or successors did take out a renewal. It can be surprising just how brazenly the so-called pd distributors will issue a copyrighted film, but it happens as well that the films they issue as pd truly are pd, even though they appear at first glance not to be.

David Hayes


Return to Table of Contents

Go to next article