note about the public domain…
domain work is a creative work [like a movie] that is not
protected by copyright and which may be freely used by everyone."
Copyright laws have continued to become stricter over the last century.
does a great job
explaining how the year of publication of the movie controls when the
work is no longer controlled by the creator and passes into the public
domain. All copyrights expire eventually, just maybe not in our
If a movie
was published after 1964, you can pretty much forget about
acquiring it legally for free.
That pretty much rules out
any movie you
wanted to watch, right? Bummer!
If a movie was published before 1963, it might
be part of
domain (if a copyright extension was not filed).
It's also interesting to note that before 1923 there was no copyright
law. Any movie produced before 1923 is automatically part of the public
domain. Unfortunately there were hardly any movies produced before 1923
either. And even fewer that you'd care for watching!
Lolly Gasaway, University of North Carolina