Dealing with the finer points of copyright law is about as fun as sitting on your own balls (ladies you’ll just have to trust me on this). It isn’t fun at all!
As boring and tedious as copyright law may be, it’s no different than filing taxes: the process is painful but absolutely necessary.
Making sure one’s copyright is on the up and up is ESPECIALLY important when investing millions of dollars into a project, such as … I dunno … a big-budget feature film starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn?
Well the folks who made the 1963 film “Charade” surely had some splainin’ to do, because they botched the copyright notice in such a way that the film was instantly thrust into the public domain.
Check out the below title card image (apologies for the quality but it’s literally the best I can find):
The blurry stuff down at the bottom reads, “MCMLXIII BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES COMPANY, INC. and STANLEY DONEN FILMS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED”.
Seems like a normal copyright notice, right? Nope! They accidentally omitted the word “Copyright”, “Copr.”, or the symbol “©”, and copyright law at the time (prior to 1978) required works to include the word, abbreviation, or symbol in order to be copyrighted.
In hindsight, it seems silly and rather draconian that a word, a 4-letter abbreviation, or a little symbol must be put on a major work in order for it to actually be copyrighted. This is why the law was eventually changed, no doubt. But rules are rules.
Boy I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.