If I understand the law right, and I think I do, then in the situation you describe below, the only thing that could be copyrighted (if that!) is the reformatting. Even if the company still has the copyright to the original content, it isn't renewed or updated.
Reformatting aspect ratio is such a superficial change that I wonder if that could even be copyrighted. A moving image copyright examiner/specialist would know. For recordings, things like sonicly significant remasterings can earn new copyrights for those remasterings only, i.e. the work of re-transferring the master tapes receives a new copyright, the master tapes and original releases do not. Also. a compilation can be copyrighted, but it only covers that specific sequence of those recordings, nothing else.
IMO the copyright issue is by far the most important issue facing sound and other archives right now. It seems that others are thinking this too. I hope this discussion continues, even to the point of concerted action.
>>> [log in to unmask] 06/20/05 4:20 PM >>>
If the cartoons have been reformatted at 1:75 or 1: 85 /1 widescreen
aspect ratio from the originally copyrighted format of 1:33/1 flat,
does that change the picture as far as copyright is concerned ?
Does it renew the copyright on ALL versions of a particular title made
by that particular studio ?
Asked by one who worries about such things , I hope not
Belfer Audio Archive
222 Waverly Ave .
Syracuse N.Y. 13244-2010
>>> [log in to unmask] 6/20/2005 2:03:14 PM >>>
If Jeff and dl are right, then the ONLY copyrightable element is that
stereo mix. Not the cartoons and not the original soundtracks. Those
weasels try to be tricky. But, if the cartoons really fell into the
Public Domain, anybody has the same right to manipulate the original
cartoons and/or soundtracks in any way they want, even to issue
competeing DVDs if they can find the sources.
Steve mentioned some copyrights being retrieved, but that was in
Europe. I've never heard of a legitamate PD item being
retrieved/recaptured in the US.
My opinions only, not official LOC, blah blah blah.
>>> [log in to unmask] 06/20/05 11:58 AM >>>
Jeff Willens wrote:
> Hope this doesn't sound TOO strange, but didn't Warner Bros.
let several of their Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons lapse into
public domain? And didn't they re-copyright them all in the 90s? Notice
how you don't see them on cheapo videotapes and DVDs anymore, or running
on independent TV stations as they did in the 70s. I seem to remember at
the end of the re-copyrighted versions (the ones on their new DVDs),
there's a notice that says something like "Dubbed Version c. 1995 Warner
Brothers". Would these just pertain to the films being remastered and
the remaster itself being copyrighted?
Could this refer to a new audio mix? Seems to me that if a soundtrack
is now in stereo, that would definitely constitute a new copyrightable
element. (Speaking of which, MGM's "Band Wagon" sounds fantastic on the
new DVD, and all the numbers are in well-balanced new stereo.)