Which Of These Christmas Films Became A Classic Due To A Copyright Filing Error?

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Reply: It’s a Great Life

Launched in 1946, It’s a Great Life wasn’t precisely a field workplace hearth starter. Whereas removed from a whole failure, the response to the movie was lukewarm and it didn’t even recoup the manufacturing prices throughout its preliminary theatrical run. As we speak, nevertheless, the movie is likely one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time and it enjoys each excessive reward from excessive forehead movie critics and adoration from followers in love with the healthful vacation theme.

So what modified between the lukewarm audiences of 1946 and as we speak? A minor copyright submitting error that had a significant impact on the general public consumption of the movie. The problem was that the copyright of the movie was ruled by the 1909 Copyright Act, which covers all inventive works created earlier than 1964 when additional revisions to copyright legal guidelines within the U.S. have been enacted. Particularly, the phrases of copyright underneath the act allowed for one 28 yr interval and one renewal interval of a further 28 years. When the copyright for It’s a Great Life got here up for renewal in 1974, a clerical mistake led to the failure of renewal and the film entered the general public area.

Tv stations jumped on the chance to run a public area Christmas movie across the holidays and the film went into heavy rotation on many alternative channels each vacation season. This sample continued, yr after yr, till almost 20 years later when a authorized battle over the underlying story (which didn’t have a lapsed copyright) allowed the then present holder of the mental property surrounding the movie to take management of it—bringing the run of wall-to-wall It’s a Great Life free airings to a detailed.

At that time, although, the movie was cemented within the minds of hundreds of thousands of People as a traditional conventional vacation movie and it nonetheless enjoys common rotation (albeit with compensation to the copyright holders) each vacation season.

Picture courtesy of Liberty Films/RKO Radio Footage.

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