May 31, 2017 News

Publication of Derivative use of public domain content study - Film industry focus

An EU-wide study carried out by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, is one of the first studies focusing on usage of the pre-existing creative content for new derivative projects. The objective of the research is to document the way previous creative content, both still under the copyright protection and already in the public domain, is being used by film producers for new creative projects in this sector.
The main findings are :
  •  Public domain content can be an attractive base material for film adaptations. Between 2000 and 2010 it attracted over 330 million viewers to the European cinemas (4% of overall audience);
  • Public domain content is being adapted by a wide range of film producers and there are examples of high budget, successful film productions based on public domain content; 
However, potential attractiveness of public domain content as a base for adaptation is weakened by the rapid decline of the economic value of creative content with time, as
  • attendance for cinematographic adaptations based on copyright protected content was higher than attendance to film adaptations based on public domain content and corresponded to 35 % of the total cinematographic audience;
  • expected number of viewers and box office revenue is higher for film adaptations of creative content still under the copyright protection than adaptations of public domain content. 
The full study in English and the Executive Summaries in the 23 languages are also available on our website.