Message to the editor of Public Domain Report
Date: 26-JAN-1995 12:11 GMT
Subject: "Peter Pan" Copyright
I've just read your Digest announcement on the New Journals list and I thought you might be interested in a copyright problem that is of concern to me.
J.M. Barrie assigned the royalties from his play Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street (London) Hospital for Sick Children, a long-established and much-loved charity in this country. I think his Will confirmed this, assigning all rights to the Hospital.

The copyright was due to expire 50 years after his death - 1989.

In 1988 Parliament was processing an updated Copyright Bill (subsequently the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988). Lord Callaghan, the former Prime Minister, successfully amended it to assign the copyright in perpetuity to the Hospital (no expiration).

A sign of this was the credit (and presumably royalties) associated with the recent film Hook.

Project Gutenberg was founded in 1971 to make available works of literature, historical documents and the like in electronic form, the presumption being that the works are out of copyright. The Project includes Peter Pan. I expect the people involved acted in good faith and found Peter Pan was out of copyright in U.S. Law.

My reason for raising this matter is my concern that a worthy, popular and needy charity is potentially losing out on its rightful income.

Ian Kitching

Articles : "Peter Pan" Copyright