Jamaican filmmaker and entrepreneur Bruce Hart set out to make a low-budget box office hit called “Ching Pow: Far East Yardies!!,” a satirical redubbing of a kung fu movie that appeared to be in the public domain. However, with sponsorship secured and production underway, Hart discovered that there existed a copyright holder to the original film. This case follows Hart’s international quest to find the copyright holder and secure permissions to release his movie. Readers will take the stance of Bruce Hart’s lawyers and parse out the distinctions of derivative and orphan works in intellectual property law.
Educators may want to pair this case study with a discussion of the United States’ unique policy of statutory damages in copyright infringement cases.
- Identify a systematic approach to problem solving when faced with an unresolved issue or new situation.
- Understand the implications of copyright and public domain statutes for the creation of derivative works.
- Consider what constitutes derivative works and orphan works.
- Explore the legal options for creating derivative works when rightsholders are unreachable.
- Consider how to craft a public realm registry of orphan digital works, with the Creative Commons framework as a potential model.
Intellectual property, copyright law, public domain, orphan works, derivative works, film
Geographic: Jamaica; United States
Event Start Date: 2010
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