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Copyright law on Classic Cinema character?



9:13 am on May 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

Apologies in advance if this is a really stupid question, but I have been searching the web for some information and am hoping someone here can point me in the right direction for a definitive answer.

Can I use several characters from a 1945 classic motion picture in a book I am currently writing? In a nutshell, my main character has a couple of classic cinema icons living in her head and commenting on her life. These are not the actors that played the parts, but the actual written characters themselves.

Can I use them?

Thank you in advance for any help you might be able to give me!


9:50 pm on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Through alot of research I am pretty sure I do need to get permission to use these characters. I have discovered that the author renewed the copyright to his novel in 1968, and then he died in 1977.

My question now is how do I go about finding out who owns the copyright now? I was thinking I should write to the publisher. Does that sound like a good start?


10:52 pm on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Welcome, Mellz67.

Yep, the publisher would be the way to go. It would/should know who the current copyright owner is.


11:28 am on May 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Failing the publisher, you would need to go to the agent, if there is one. A lot of those manage the estates of deceased creators.


6:00 pm on May 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks very much for the suggestions. I have just mailed a letter in to the publisher and will wait with baited breath for a response!

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