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Star Wars enters the Public Domain in 2072

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by dolphin, Apr 18, 2020.

  1. dolphin

    dolphin Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 5, 1999
    Created works (books, media, etc) are fair game and will be free for all to use and build upon, without permission or fee 95 years after its creation. Per current US Copyright law. That means in 2072 or thereabouts anyone can make a Star Wars movie, novel, action figure without recrimination (even if LFL is still around).

    Source:

    https://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2020/#fn2text


    1998 Copyright Term Extension Act gave works published from 1923 through 1977 a 95-year term. They enter the public domain on January 1 after the conclusion of the 95th year. Works published from 1923-1977 had to meet certain requirements to be eligible for the 95-year term—they all had to be published with a copyright notice, and works from 1923–1963 also had to have their copyrights renewed after the initial 28-year term. Foreign works from 1924 are still copyrighted in the US until 2020 if 1) they complied with US notice and renewal formalities, 2) they were published in the US within 30 days of publication abroad, or 3) if neither of these are true, they were still copyrighted in their home country as of 1/1/96. Note that the copyright term for older works is different in other countries: in the EU, works from authors who died in 1949 will go into the public domain in 2020 after a life plus 70 year term, and in Canada, works of authors who died in 1969 will enter the public domain after a life plus 50 year term.
     
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  2. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    Pretty sure I won't be around to see it.
    However I'd question how that works with a film series spanning years. Technically ANH would be out of copyright but not the other films.
     
  3. dolphin

    dolphin Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 5, 1999
    Correct. It’s based on the year of a particular work of art. No matter if a character or story continues in subsequent works. For example, some of Agatha Christie’s novels are in the public domain but not all...yet. That’s despite Poirot’s adventures spanning several books.

    You would be in violation if that 2072 ANH remake or remix contained story elements from the later SW films.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
  4. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    So you could use Vader as he was in ANH but not, say, Anakin or Padme? How are the later versions of ANH treated? For example, Jabba isn't in the original but he's in a later version, as is Boba Fett.
     
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  5. R3belTech

    R3belTech Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Apr 23, 2020
    Interesting thought experiment, but I doubt anything like this would ever occur. Disney would move to maintain their ownership via legislative means, just as they would do with Mickey Mouse etc.
     
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  6. StarYogi

    StarYogi Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 18, 2005
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  7. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2012
    yah, this. Mickey is almost 100 years old now from Steamboat Willie and Mickey (at least Steamboat Willie version) should be in public domain and it sure as heck isn't due to Disney. (anyone else notice that Disney still trots out the Steamboat Willie design/version, even incorporating into it's animated studios logo to keep it viable) I wouldn't be surprised if no IP in the US pretty much ever enters public domain again, at least with Disney holding the reins.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
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  8. dolphin

    dolphin Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 5, 1999
    Mickey Mouse is different because he is a trademark and it can be argued that he is unquestionably tied to the corporate image of Disney. In other words, Mickey = Disney. But if you wanna make a Bambi tv series? Have at it. A Felix the Cat romcom? Go for it. You can even make your own version of Frozen since the source material is in the public domain (you can’t include the Disney characters though). :)



     
  9. R3belTech

    R3belTech Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Apr 23, 2020
    Technically speaking, yes, you're correct. I doubt, however, that Disney would take anything like that lying down and would bury the creator in court.
     
  10. Outsourced

    Outsourced Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2017
    if anyone honestly things the Disney corporation will let one of their most valuable properties go into the public domain, then I have a bridge to sell you.
     
  11. DarthPhilosopher

    DarthPhilosopher Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Well Mickey Mouse will be in the public domain in a few years, so I'm not so sure Disney has the ability to stop it.

    I think the OP may be taking a simplistic view of this though. Firstly, I think that it's when it's 'published', not when it was first created, so that would make it 2077. Secondly, it won't be all SW. It would only be ANH, and you'd have to be careful to avoid anything else that wasn't out of copyright to do with the series. Thirdly, I assume by then that we'll have amore comprehensive global copyright framework by then since the world is getting more global - you're unlikely to get anything before 2077 at the earliest.
     
  12. Outsourced

    Outsourced Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2017
    They already did, at least once. Here's a good article about it.
     
  13. DarthPhilosopher

    DarthPhilosopher Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Yeah I know. I mean they are leaving it pretty late comparatively.
     
  14. Adrian the Cool

    Adrian the Cool Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
    I bet that as long as Disney is around, we'll never see anything get into public domain ever again. Disney will just bribe enough politicians to extend the timespan of copyright indefinitely.

    Intellectual property is an outdated social construct invented by genocidal imperial-colonial capitalist slaveholders to keep the means of education and entertainment artificially out of reach of working class people of colour.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
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  15. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 I Am Speaking in Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    I’ll be 101. I plan to still be around. :p

    I’d bet copyright gets renewed between now and then though.
     
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  16. starfish

    starfish Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 9, 2003
    hmm, I would be 86

    I kind of doubt that I’ll live that long but if I do I’ll definitely be at the opening day release of whatever movie is out
     
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  17. dolphin

    dolphin Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 5, 1999
    I’ll be 93.

    I better eat more almonds and wheaties with almond milk. Oh, and smoke a cigar a day like George Burns who lived to be 100+. :)
     
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  18. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett PT Interview Host/All-Around Good Guy star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2014
    This is how it works. You can use say Luke from ANH but if you include anything from say Luke in TLJ that would infringe on copyright. You can only use the characters as they appear in that movie or work and not any of the following. Plus if you don’t think Disney will try to extend the protection again you’d be mistaken.
     
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  19. dolphin

    dolphin Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 5, 1999
    :r2::r2:
    Here’s a thinking exercise: In the ANH non-Disney remake, could you modify Obi-Wan’s line to say yes he does remember owning droids? Is that PT material technically? :c3po: :r2:
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  20. Jedi Knight Fett

    Jedi Knight Fett PT Interview Host/All-Around Good Guy star 10 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Yes and no. So long as you say he owns complete different droids
     
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  21. dolphin

    dolphin Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 5, 1999
    In the scene R2 and C3PO are in the vicinity. That would need to be changed to avoid it being implied. :)
     
  22. DarthPhilosopher

    DarthPhilosopher Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 23, 2011
    This is the problem - there are so many grey areas in a franchise as broad as this, and given how litigious Disney is, I'm not sure any production company would dare.
     
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  23. Helloothere

    Helloothere Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2020
    Disney will just change the law. That what these Megacorps do if a pesky law gets in their way, change it.
     
  24. Oissan

    Oissan Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Yeah, no. That's just not how any of that works.

    Large companies love grey areas, ignoring rules that don't have strict enforcement, and lobbying for changes that are beneficial to them, but they don't set the rules. Especially not on matters where other important players can have differing interests. This will hardly be the first case of something of high value being on the path to entering the public domain. It's something that has been debated time and time again.
     
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  25. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    52 years...

    I'll be 85.

    Handy.
     
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