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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old January 14th, 2010, 06:57 AM   #1
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Public Domain Films

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone had any advice or useful info on using public domain films in your own productions. To be honest, I'm coming from a level of very little understanding of this area.

What age constitutes a film available for public domain use, and how easy is it to get your hands on it, and more importantly how can you be sure you're not going to be sued for infringement!?

I'm more specifically thinking about silent films at the moment, I'd like to use a couple in a commercial music video.

Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

Thank You.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 02:17 PM   #2
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I am certainly not qualified to offer any legal advice! But have you visited archive.org? They have a collection of public domain films and I believe you will find copyright/usage info there as well: Internet Archive: Free Downloads: Moving Image Archive

The Prelinger archives on that site have some very interesting war films which I've used in a project myself. They are sort of low resolution, but this actually gave them sort of a gritty look that we liked for our application.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 11:47 AM   #3
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Thanks Boyd,
I'd come across that site before but never really found my way around it well. This time I knew what film I was looking for and they had it!

Thanks,

Ryan
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Old January 20th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #4
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Be very careful. Things might be different in England but here in the US public domain laws changed over the past 20 years so that many films that were in the public domain have been re-copyrighted. Including some silent films. Sometimes it's the restoration that's been copyrighted not the film itself so theoretically old prints are still open for use but I would be very, very, careful.
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