The ever-reliable Dark Horizons is reporting this morning on something that could mean a seismic change in Hollywood. They are highlighting a new THR report into recent copyright law change. This change seems to forever switch up the situation around films and TV series with long-running existing intellectual property rights belonging to third parties.
At the moment many rights exist in perpetuity as long as the rights are serviced. i.e. a studio has to make a movie every few years based on those rights, or the rights revert to the original rights owner.
The new law allows copyright holders to terminate the rights agreements for any and all properties after 35 years – as long as they serve termination notices at the appropriate time.
According to the reports, this rule has already meant the rights holders to The Terminator, Beetlejuice and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, among others, have already been informed that the party is over in two years. Notices have been served and the rights are reverting back to the original owners.
Many of the franchises from the 1980s and 1990s are now in line for similar treatment. This means studios will be forced to not rely on old IP anymore.
U.S. termination law doesn’t apply overseas, and usual US efforts to impose domestic law on foreign territories are generally ignored, so it remains to be seen if overseas will provide a loophole for Hollywood.