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'Peter Pan' copyright set to expire putting property in public domain

UPI News Service, 12/28/2007 

The copyright on Scottish author J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" expires Tuesday, meaning the classic story and its characters will soon enter the public domain.

This is bad news for Britain's Great Ormond Street children's hospital, which has held the rights for decades and depends on the revenues it generates, The Guardian reported Friday.

Barrie bequeathed all rights to "Peter Pan" to the hospital in 1929. However, with the 70th year after Barrie's death in 1937 coming to an end, the copyright is set to expire and the institution faces the loss of a major source of income.

Mark Owen, head of intellectual property at the law firm Harbottle & Lewis, told The Guardian there is some debate regarding what copyright terms should be, given the current media environment.

"Expiry of the Peter Pan copyright is likely therefore to provide further fuel for the ongoing debate about how long copyright should last, and whether term of protection currently afforded by copyright law is long enough both to reward fairly the author's creativity and to enable adequate control of the work's legacy," Owen said.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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