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This article explores an international aspect of the current debate over colorized motion pictures. Under the present U.S. copyright law, most film directors and other creative contributors to an audiovisual work are unlikely to obtain injunctive relief from a U.S. court against the exhibition or dissemination of color-encoded versions of black and white originals. The difficulty is not simply that the U.S. copyright law does not recognize a specific moral right of integrity independent of economic rights. The director's poor domestic prospects are largely due to U.S. copyright law's work-made-for-hire doctrine. Most contributors to an audiovisual work are employees for hire under the Act; the "author" and initial copyright holder in such circumstances is the producer. As a result, the director has no domestic copyright interest to enforce against the producer or its grantee. Moreover, to the extent that state common law or legislation might afford rights in audiovisual works equivalent to the continental moral right of integrity, these prerogatives, if not preempted, are probably waivable. Indeed, contracts in the film industry often include a generalized surrender of moral rights.


Film and Media Studies | Intellectual Property Law | Law