Friday, January 30, 2004

Arrested development: The Associated Press (via marks the 100th anniversary of Peter Pan with a look at J.M. Barrie's life and legacy -- and the tangled web of copyright laws that surrounds Neverland:

"But much good has also come from Peter Pan. In 1929, Barrie donated the copyright to the story and characters to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, which used the royalties to pay for research and equipment. Barrie's will prevents the hospital from disclosing how much it earns from Peter Pan royalties.

"Last year, however, Canadian author Emily Somma filed a lawsuit in San Francisco claiming the hospital's Peter Pan copyright had expired in the United States. She sued preemptively after the hospital warned her to halt publication of her book, After the Rain, a New Adventure for Peter Pan.

"... U.S. copyright protection for Barrie's works featuring Peter Pan normally would have expired in 1987, a half-century after the author's death. Lawyers acting for the hospital contend that a 1976 U.S. law extended the copyright protection for Peter Pan until the year 2023, but Somma's legal team disputes this."