Home movies and copyright duration

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Home movies and copyright duration

Post by Stumpy »

I recently acquired some home movies from a car boot sale. They appear to have been filmed in the mid 1930s and I know who shot the films (the camera woman died in the 1970s). I was going to have them scanned and potentially put them online or reuse them in one of my films. I can't imagine they were published/exhibited in any other context than at home since they were created nearly 90s years ago. They have no sound.

My understanding is that these would have been protected as a series of photographs under the 1911 Copyright Act and would be afforded a 50 year copyright span from when they were shot (expiring in the mid 1980s). I don't believe the copyright act of 1956 changes the situation, but I'm unsure if the 1988 CDPA reignites copyright in the films? Any advice would be appreciated as I would not want to infringe copyright.
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Re: Home movies and copyright duration

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Stumpy,

You are absolutely correct that a film made before the 1956 Copyright Act would only be protected as a series of individual still images, and since there is no sound track that keeps things simple. And yes the copyright would have ended 50 years from the end of the year in which the films were made, and would not have been revived by any provision in either the 1956 or 1988 Acts.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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