July 24, 2012 12:22:57pm
A Movie In Question: Starship Invasions
I have a question about an out-of-print and hard to obtain video.
I am currently working on an iRiff (user created commentary track) that would be sold on both my private riffing site and on RiffTrax.com for the movie "Starship Invasions" Which was a 1977 made-for-tv movie that was produced by Hal Roach Studios.
No DVD for this has ever been made available and it seems the only way to obtain this movie for sale is via some used VHS tapes (realeased in 1987 by Warner Bros. Entertainment) on eBay and a few other auction sites.
I checked on the current ownership of Hal Roach Studios (the company that originally made the film) and found this on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_Roach_Studios
"In the years that followed, the Roach company changed hands several more times. Independent television producer Robert Halmi bought the company in the early 1990s, and it became RHI Entertainment. A short time later, this successor company was acquired by Hallmark Entertainment in 1994, but Halmi, Robert Halmi Jr. and affiliates of Kelso & Company reacquired the company in 2006. Hallmark Entertainment was absorbed into RHI Entertainment (with Vivendi as the current home video output partner).
In that same decade, a new incarnation of Hal Roach Studios (operated by the Roach Trust) was established, and today this new version of the company has released classic films on DVD, many of which are from Roach's own archival prints of his films, while others are public domain titles mastered from the best available 35 mm elements."
Vivendi's Wiki entry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivendi
- makes no mention of Hal Roach Studios.
I have also checked a few other places and it seems that if all U.S. copyright compliances are met (this movie was made in Canada), then it falls under copyright and maintains that copyright until 95 years after date of publication. The movie does have a copyright notice at the very beginning saying "Copyright Hal Roach Studios International Ltd. MCMLXXVII - All Rights Reserved" underneath the title.
However, seeing that it is very hard to obtain aside from the very limited VHS release 25 years ago, I am wondering if this movie is still owned by Hal Roach Studios or by any of the companies that subsequently purchased them. And if this title was subject to copyright renewal procedures or was ever renewed, that was the case.
I am fairly conversant with copyright law, but this one seems a little murky. Any thoughts are welcome.