Donna Wentworth
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile)

Ernest Miller
( Archive | Home )

Elizabeth Rader
( Archive | Home )

Jason Schultz
( Archive | Home )

Wendy Seltzer
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile )

Aaron Swartz
( Archive | Home )

Alan Wexelblat
( Archive | Home )

About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

a Typical Joe
Academic Copyright
Jack Balkin
John Perry Barlow
Blogbook IP
David Bollier
James Boyle
Robert Boynton
Brad Ideas
Ren Bucholz
Cabalamat: Digital Rights
Cinema Minima
Consensus @ Lawyerpoint
Copyfighter's Musings
Copyright Readings
CopyrightWatch Canada
Susan Crawford
Walt Crawford
Creative Commons
Cruelty to Analog
Culture Cat
Deep Links
Derivative Work
Julian Dibbell
Digital Copyright Canada
Displacement of Concepts
Downhill Battle
Exploded Library
Bret Fausett
Edward Felten - Freedom to Tinker
Edward Felten - Dashlog
Frank Field
Seth Finkelstein
Brian Flemming
Frankston, Reed
Free Culture
Free Range Librarian
Michael Froomkin
Michael Geist
Michael Geist's BNA News
Dan Gillmor
Mike Godwin
Joe Gratz
James Grimmelmann
Groklaw News
Matt Haughey
Erik J. Heels
Induce Act blog
Inter Alia
IP & Social Justice
IPac blog
Joi Ito
Jon Johansen
JD Lasica
Legal Theory Blog
Lenz Blog
Larry Lessig
Jessica Litman
James Love
Alex Macgillivray
Madisonian Theory
Maison Bisson
Kevin Marks
Tim Marman
Matt Rolls a Hoover
Mary Minow
Declan McCullagh
Eben Moglen
Dan Moniz
Danny O'Brien
Open Access
Open Codex
John Palfrey
Chris Palmer
Promote the Progress
PK News
PVR Blog
Eric Raymond
Joseph Reagle
Recording Industry vs. the People
Lisa Rein
Thomas Roessler
Seth Schoen
Doc Searls
Seb's Open Research
Shifted Librarian
Doug Simpson
Stay Free! Daily
Sarah Stirland
Swarthmore Coalition
Tech Law Advisor
Technology Liberation Front
Siva Vaidhyanathan
Vertical Hold
Kim Weatherall
David Weinberger
Matthew Yglesias

Timothy Armstrong
Bag and Baggage
Charles Bailey
Beltway Blogroll
Between Lawyers
Blawg Channel
Chief Blogging Officer
Drew Clark
Chris Cohen
Crooked Timber
Daily Whirl
Dead Parrots Society
Delaware Law Office
J. Bradford DeLong
Betsy Devine
Ben Edelman
Ernie the Attorney
How Appealing
Industry Standard
IP Democracy
IP Watch
Dennis Kennedy
Rick Klau
Wendy Koslow
Elizabeth L. Lawley
Jerry Lawson
Legal Reader
Likelihood of Confusion
Chris Locke
Derek Lowe
MIT Tech Review
Paper Chase
Frank Paynter
Scott Rosenberg
Scrivener's Error
Jeneane Sessum
Silent Lucidity
Smart Mobs
Trademark Blog
Eugene Volokh
Kevin Werbach

Berkman @ Harvard
Chilling Effects
CIS @ Stanford
Copyright Reform
Creative Commons
Global Internet Proj.
Info Commons
IP Justice
ISP @ Yale
NY for Fair Use
Open Content
Public Knowledge
Shidler Center @ UW
Tech Center @ GMU
U. Maine Tech Law Center
US Copyright Office
US Dept. of Justice
US Patent Office

In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline


« Goodbye, PyMusique | Main | How Does the US Justice Department Do Legal IP Analysis? »

March 22, 2005

Penning new Pan

Email This Entry

Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Last year I wrote about the UK's Great Ormond Street Hospital possibly suing Disney. Ormond Street are the holders of the Peter Pan copyright and were miffed that they got nothing for the Peter Pan "prequel" book Peter and the Starcatchers.

Now, British author Geraldine McCaughrean has been selected to write the authorized sequel. The apparent motivation for this is to keep money flowing in as the original Europe copyright expires in in 2007 (US copyright runs until 2023).

McCaughrean is no novice though she's not well-known in the US - she has over 130 publication credits (primarily children's books and plays) and is the only writer to be given the Whitbread Children's Book Award three times.

I'm somewhat conflicted about this. On the one hand I'd be glad to see a copyright owner using that right to keep beloved material alive and vital. On the other hand, a one-shot contest seemingly sparked only by an imminent expiration of a long-held mark hardly seems to be the kind of creative flourishing that I'd like copyright to promote. Peter Pan is one of those few works that has remained in the public eye over a long period, and the monies collected do seem to go to a good cause. But somehow it feels to me like there's a great deal of potential here that isn't being made available to a wider range of creative talent.

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


1. Timothy Phillips on March 22, 2005 10:54 AM writes...

Just what copyright is this that "expires in 2023" in the U.S. ?

Barrie's Peter and Wendy had a copyright date of 1911. The U.S. copyright expired on January 1st, 1987.

Barrie's A Little White Bird which first introduced a character named "Peter Pan" had a copyright date of 1902. This U.S. copyright expired sometime in 1958.

Presumably the U.S. copyright that expires in 2023 is the copyright in the latest published version of the play. (The play itself premiered in London on December 27th, 1904, but it was not immediately published.) In cases like this, where a name applies to more than one work, we copyfighters should be careful to specify which one we mean.

Permalink to Comment

2. Donna Wentworth on March 22, 2005 11:27 AM writes...

Quite right!

Here's a bit more discussion on that point:

Permalink to Comment

3. Dr. wex on March 22, 2005 12:38 PM writes...

True, but somewhat beside the issue I want to point at, which is something along the lines of: How do we relate works like Peter Pan or Bambi, which have unusually long popular lives to questions such as how should we handle orphan works? This is, I think, an issue of some concern at the moment and I'm not even clear in my own head on how I'd like to see it handled. Then there's the whole "revival" notion...

Permalink to Comment

4. Donna Wentworth on March 22, 2005 3:05 PM writes...

Far be it for me to pull that conversation askew!

Permalink to Comment

5. Branko Collin on March 23, 2005 4:46 PM writes...

"Ormond Street are the holders of the Peter Pan copyright"

I think Ormond Street do not need your help in misrepresenting the copyright status of Peter Pan, thank you very much.

BTW, should it be illegal to misrepresent copyright status? One of the things that threatens orphan works is having people falsely claim ownership over works. There is nothing forcing a publisher to prove such a claim, and with statutory damages and assorted legal costs being what they are in the US, it takes courage to try and find out the hard way whether such claims are true or not.

The way I see it, somebody who copies an MP3 for personal use is at the worst merely an infringer. But somebody who withholds works from the public steals that work: those thieves should be punished much harsher, but instead are being ignored.

Permalink to Comment

6. Neo on March 24, 2005 1:26 PM writes...

Bravo. The real "theft" of "intellectual property" occurs when it is not returned to the public domain after a reasonably short term.

Permalink to Comment


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Sherlock Holmes as Classical Fairytale
Trademark Law Includes False Endorsement
Kickstarter Math
IP Without Scarcity
Crash Patents
Why Create?
Facebook Admits it Might Have a Video Piracy Problem
A Natural Superfood, and Intellectual Property