Talk:Flash Gordon (1954 TV series)
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Flash Gordon, from 1954, is in the public domain? That sounds kind of fishy. I'm reading the Copyright Office's circular 38a, and it says that BRD joined Berne in 1887, UCC Geneva in 1955, and UCC Paris in 1974. Unless there were some deficiency in the copyright registration, it sounds like it should be inder copyright. Anybody know more? --superlusertc 22:10, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
As I understand the U.S. copyright laws, for something published in 1954, under the copyright laws of the time, the copyright lasted for 28 years and could be renewed for another 28 years the renewal term was further extended by the 1976 copyright law). That meant that it had to be renewed in 1982. Under the 1976 law, if it was not renewed in 1982, its copyright expired and it passed into the public domain. U.S. copyright laws were amended to provide for automatic renewal, without registration requirements, when the U.S. joined the Berne convention. But if the Flash Gordon TV series was in the public domain by that time, its copyright was not revived thereby.
But it gets more complicated. There is some question as to whether the TV show was actually published in 1954. There is some caselaw to the effect that performance or broadcast is not publication, at least under US copyright law in effect prior to 1972. A number of old-time radio shows are still claimed to be under copyright on the strength of that doctrine, because the scripts were never actually published. That would place copyright ownership in the script writers or the persons for whom they wrote for hire, under common-law copyright. In 1972 the copyright law was amended to provide for federal copyright of sound recordings or "phonorecords" for the first time. Prior to that, phonorecords could not be copyrighted separately from the written script from which they were performed. Under the 1976 act, unpublished works created on or after 1 January 1978 are protected by federal, rather than common-law copyrights.
None of this is to be considered legal advice. If you are contemplating doing anything regarding this TV show, you should consult a competent intellectual property lawyer and follow his/her advice. --GrouchoRoss (talk) 05:41, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
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