search tips | sign in

Can I use Trailers without being concerned over Copyright? Within certain limits, yes. Here's the story...

Trailers for movies released before 1964 are in the Public Domain because they were never separately copyrighted. The law at the time granted the owner 28 years to file a copyright registration.

1963 + 28 = 1991

Clearly, time has run out to register this material. Some might argue that since the trailers frequently contain the same material that's in the movie, and the movie is presumably copyrighted, that this would cover the trailer as well. However, the trailer is published (run in a theater) before the movie itself is published. Thus, the trailer requires a separate copyright, and the scenes contained in the trailer are in Public Domain.

Note that all trailers, regardless of year, until the late 80's, are O.K. to use if they contain no copyright notice. This does occur, although infrequently. For example, the trailer for "The Shootist" (John Wayne, 1976) contains no notice. It is therefore O.K. to use.

Contact us for information on specific titles and/or trailers released after 1963.

Are trailers usable in documentaries? Find out here!

Contact Info: 800.538.7228(toll free) / 661.538.9395 / fax: 661.538.1745 / via email
Copyright 2007 SabuCat Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.