Top 40 best free legal movies you can download right now

August 11, 2010

Top 40 best free legal movies you can download right nowWhile you constantly hear about how downloading movies is illegal, there are numerous free legal movies you can download.  Sure we aren’t talking about the latest summer blockbusters here, but there are some great films out there on the Internet that can be had for free.

The Internet Archive works to bring together anything and everything that resides in the public domain, and that includes movies.  We’ve gathered together 40 of the best ones that will keep you entertained for hours on end, all without costing you a dime outside of using some of your bandwidth.  Enjoy!

You may also be interested in David Cassel’s compilation of the top 40 best  free comedy  movies you can watch right  now compiled in 2011.


A Star Is Born: This 1937 version of a story of a rising star in Hollywood was remade twice, once in 1954 with Judy Garland and again in 1976 with Barbara Streisand.

Bronenosets Potyomkin (Battleship Potemkin): A major turning point in the production of silent movies that took the camera out of being something that didn’t move to actually being involved in the story.

Captain Kidd: Charles Laughton and John Carradine star in this film of suspense on the high seas from 1945.

Child Bride: A controversial film from 1938 about a schoolteacher trying to end the practice of older men taking child brides in the Ozark mountains.

Cyrano De Bergerac: This 1950 adaptation of the story is widely regarded as the best version by many people.

Farwell to Arms: Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway, this 1932 film stars Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes.

Great Guy: James Cagney stars in this 1936 film about one mans efforts to clean up corruption in the Weights And Measures Department.

Iron Mask: A 1952 re-release of the 1929 silent film with added narration by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as his father had starred in the movie.

Last of the Mohicans: A 1920 silent film adaptation of the novel.  Keep an eye out for Boris Karloff in his first role as an uncredited Native American.

Mambo: A 1954 film about the rising star of a female dancer who’s past comes back to haunt her when she returns to her home city of Venice.

Meet John Doe: A Frank Capra film starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck about a journalist who makes up a story about a John Doe, and then sees the story take on a life of its own, even launching a political movement.

Shame: Produced by Roger Corman and starring a pre-Star Trek William Shatner, this film tells the story of a man sent into a southern town to stir up race riots.  Roger Corman claims this is the only film of the over 300 he’s produced to lose money.

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble: A 1976 television movie based on the real life story of a boy who could not come into contact with unfiltered air, causing him to live his life in a bubble.  It was notable for starring John Travolta and Robert Reed, best known as Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.  For some odd reason this film became a pop culture phenomenon, being referenced many times on That 70′s Show, spawning the term “in the bubble” in politics and so on.

The Contender: A 1944 version of the story of a prizefighter that loses sight of what is most important in his life.  Stars Buster Crabbe, best known for his role as Tarzan.

The Stranger: Starring Edward G. Robinson and Orson Welles, this 1946 film tells the story of a Nazi who hides in the United States after the war and is hunted by a member of the Allied War Crimes Commission.

The Time of Your Life: A 1948 adaptation of William Saroyan’s award-winning play, this version starred James Cagney.


Beyond Tomorrow: A Christmas classic about three ghosts that attempt to help two young lovers that they knew in life to finally get together.

Little Lord Fauntleroy: A 1936 film adaptation of the classic 19th century novel of the same name.  Great movie with an A-list cast of the day and age.

Rescue from Gilligan’s Island: The first of three TV films that followed the original series.  Yes, the castaways do indeed get off the island.  This film was also notable for Tina Louise, the original Ginger, not returning for the production, but the rest of the original cast returned.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: A 1964 film that probably would have been forgotten if it wasn’t for Mystery Science Theater 3000 making fun of it.  Yes, it involves Santa Claus and Martians … and it just gets weirder from there.

Scrooge: The 1935 version of the classic A Christmas Carol from Carles Dickens starring Seymour Hicks.


The 39 Steps: A 1935 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is loosely based on the novel The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan.

Blackmail: Directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1929, not only was this the first film he directed with sound, but it was the first British “talkie”.  It was also released as a silent film, so the talking is a bit sparse.

Dick Tracy: This is the original 15 chapter film serial combined into one film which runs over four and a half hours.

Dick Tracy Detective: Based on the Dick Tracy comic strip, this 1945 film was the first full-length feature film adaptation of the character as opposed to the numerous serials that had been down up to this point.  Tracy must solve a series of murders that appear to have no connection.

Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome: Another Dick Tracy film from 1947, this one is notable for starring Boris Karloff as Gruesome.  A gang of bank robbers discover a nerve gas that will freeze people in place.

Five Minutes To Live: A movie about bank robbers that is most notable for starring Vic Tayback (Mel on the TV series Alice), Johnny Cash and a six-year-old Ron Howard that is credited as “Ronnie Howard”.

Murder!: A 1930 film by Alfred Hitchcock based on the novel Enter Sir John by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson. It revolves around a murder in an acting troupe and the member who is found standing over the body suffering from amnesia.

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog: A 1927 silent film by Alfred Hitchcock about a landlady who suspects her lodger is a murder killing women around London.

The Phantom of the Opera: A 1925 film adaptation of the novel by Gaston Leroux, this silent film version stars the infamous Lon Chaney as the Phantom.


Hercules Against the Moon Men: Poor Hercules, he has had more bad movies made about him than probably any other mythical character.  This one ended up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 if that’s any indication of how bad it was.

House on Haunted Hill: The 1959 version of the story of a man who invites people into his home full of ghosts to spend the night, and if they make it, they will earn money.

Night of the Living Dead: The first of the “Living Dead” films by George A. Romero. Even though it was made in 1968, it fell into the public domain immediately because the copyright notice was inadvertently left off the finished film.

Plan 9 from Outer Space: Considered by many to be one of the worst films ever made, Ed Wood’s “classic” has to be seen to be believed.

Rocketship X-M: A 1950′s sci-fi “classic” starring Lloyd Bridges about a spaceship that misses the target of landing on the moon and somehow ends up on Mars where it discovers an ancient city.

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die: A 1962 film that is probably best remembered for being mocked on Mystery Science Theater 3000 more than its own merits.

The Brother from Another Planet: A cult classic film that was released in 1984, but sadly another example of a copyright notice being left off the print, so it immediately fell into the public domain.  A mute alien lands in Harlem and is chased by intergalactic bounty hunters.

The Last Man on Earth: Starring Vincent Price, this was the first film adaptation of the novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.  This version was made in 1964, and then followed by The Omega Man in 1971 and I Am Legend in 2007.

The Phantom Planet: A 1961 film that also has the dubious honor of being remembered mostly for having been on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  A rocketship ends up on a planet full of mini-people, and the astronauts get shrunk down to their size … it just gets stranger from there.

White Zombie: A 1932 horror film starring the infamous Bela Lugosi about a man who turns to a witch doctor to win the love of a young woman, but she instead gets turned into a zombie.  This was the film that inspired the name of the band White Zombie.

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303 Responses to “Top 40 best free legal movies you can download right now”

  1. var0sha:

    The link for “Beyond Tomorrow” is broken, should be

    Great list! =)

  2. Sean P. Aune:

    Link fixed, thanks for the catch!

  3. Silent Lamb:

    Well, Internet Archive has no copyright-checking department, it is riff with Copyright material. Old films in particular are a real problem – all it takes is one person to say “XYZ film is in the public domain” and upload it to an ad-laden page somewhere, where everyone in the world downloads it thinking it actually is in the PD (it’s not), and pretty soon the rights holder has to play wack-a-mole all over the world trying to remove it from sites like Internet Archive where it gets replicated. Of course many of these films are no longer profitable and so the rights holder doesn’t bother protecting their property.

    Look, anything published after 1923 in the USA is Copyright, unless some certain conditions apply. Don’t you find it weird that some of these films are public domain? In fact probably most of them are NOT public domain, except in the Internet fantasy world known as “don’t ask, I want my free movies”.

  4. metoo:

    What, no D.O.A.?

  5. Duncan Hill:

    @Silent Lamb, “probably most of them are NOT public domain”.

    Err… yes they are. Do your research.

    Stop trolling.

  6. blackbelt_jones:

    All it takes for something to fall into the public domain is for the copyright holder to not renew the copyright. Corporations routinely renew everything, but if the copyright is held by a private owner or a defunct company, it might easily fall into the public doman. Many of these movies were circulating around for years before the internet on VHS tapes.

  7. Soosooloo:

    Silent Lamb is an idiot. Nobody owns these movies anymore. Anyone can download, watch, and use them. Companies make budget DVD’s and sell them for $1 at dollar stores. When a right holder doesn’t renew their stuff it goes PD. You need to do some research…

  8. Rick Dearman:

    Actually copyright laws differ in every country. In the USA you have to apply for a copyright but in the UK copyright is automatically granted normally for 70 years after the death of the creator. Quoting from the copyright office website:


    70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last principal director, author or composer dies.

    If the work is of unknown authorship: 70 years from end of the calendar year of creation, or if made available to the public in that time, 70 years from the end of the year the film was first made available.

    Therefore like Project Gutenberg says:

    “Our ebooks are free in the United States because their copyright has expired. They may not be free of copyright in other countries. Readers outside of the United States must check the copyright laws of their countries before downloading or redistributing our ebooks.”

  9. JNagarya:

    As the post says, nothing after circa 1923 is in the public domain. As for those who falsely claim otherwise, and say, “Do your research”: instead of doing “research” in reading self-justifying criminal rationales, go to the Library of Congress website and read the Copyright Act, beginning with the definitions, such as “fair use”.

    And, no: “failure” to include a copyright notice does not mean the work is therefore in the public domain; the provision of law on that point says it is advisable to include such notice, but it is not essential. It is especially not essential when the work was made before that provision of law.

    Nor is it necessary to renew copyright before the passage of a stipulated period of time. That doesn’t coincidentlly coincide with your desire to steal a film.

    Nor does the fact that “companies” issue these films on DVD and sell them for $1.00 prove anything, as they are BOOTLEGS, as you well know.

    So stop the lying — the misrepresentations of the law — behind pseudonymns, in order to justify stealing.

  10. GnoLogic:

    Right, anything not renewed older than 1923 falls into public domain. And yes, archive holds plenty of footage that is not in public domain.

    But the accusation that people are stealing these films is ridiculous, they exist for entertainment and historical purposes, to which I’m absolutely sure their creators would be perfectly happy that their works of art were being circulated.

    We don’t care about your copywrite laws, because the love of the moving picture has nothing to do with money.

    And as for fair use, this pretty much means anything goes once you start chopping things up.

  11. JW:

    JNagarya: is Lamb under another name. You are an idiot by any name. Night of the Living Dead for example, made in 1968, is in the public domain whether you like it or not. So for you to say any movie isn’t makes you a buffoon. I really didn’t think it was possible NOT to know this. Amazing, simply amazing, always the idiots who scream the loudest.

  12. GnoLogic:

    And we will take Night of the Living Dead and blow into a thousand transcendental fragments, leaving the living to feast on the brains of the deceased.

  13. iv:

    I quote this from imdb, regarding Night of the Living Dead:
    ‘At the time of the film’s release, any work that did not include a copyright notice was assumed to be public domain. Since the film makers forgot to include this notice, the film slipped into the public domain. In was not until 1 March 1989 that a copyright notice was no longer required.’
    We might have to study each case individually, it seems, especially since laws about copyright have kept changing, as it seems.

  14. UncleG:

    Check Library of Congress. ANY copyrighted material may be released into public domain by the current copyright holder.

  15. Eric S. Smith:

    “We don’t care about your copywrite laws, because the love of the moving picture has nothing to do with money.”

    Funny, my landlord doesn’t accept rent in the form of “love of the moving picture.”

    “And as for fair use, this pretty much means anything goes once you start chopping things up.”

    And here’s some legal advice that’s about as good as you’d expect advice from someone who can’t spell “copyright” to be.

  16. Ace of Sevens:

    Under current US law, works are automatically copyrighted and don’t have to be renewed, but this wasn’t always the case. Plenty of films are public domain because the rights holder went under (most of them) or because they were never copyrighted in the first place (Night of the Living Dead, by accident in this case). While I’m sure some non-PD stuff sneaks onto, this isn’t just Internet hooligans distributing this stuff. There are plenty of DVD companies that specialize in making cheap copies of PD movies and selling them for a couple dollars (Arrow Video and Madacy, for instance). If there were a copyright, the holder would have someone to sue for damages, not just run around play Internet whack-a-mole. does remove things if people complain that it’s not PD. For instance, M is no longer available.

  17. honeywolf1:

    i love these movies and love this site

  18. Kim:

    Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
    You are here:1988 c. 48Part IChapter IDuration of copyrightSection 12

    (6)Where the country of origin of the work is not an EEA state and the author of the work is not a national of an EEA state, the duration of copyright is that to which the work is entitled in the country of origin, provided that does not exceed the period which would apply under subsections (2) to (5)..

    That is for the UK. So films would normally get life & 70 years for US films. But as the work is not entitled to anything currently and it is not an EEA state, the work is in the public domain in the UK too.

  19. duck:

    Since DRM was initiated, the copyright laws of the US has been extended to 99 years and can be renewed for $1.00. Many old movie that were in the public domain reverted back to being under copyright.

    It is nice for Hollywood to have the politicians in their pockets….

  20. Dan Brickley:

    Hi. Useful list! Is it OK to re-use the list and descriptions elsewhere, eg. in databases? I’m working on ways to get better navigation of and have been collecting incoming links eg. from wikipedia as a way of providing more info. Would you consider contributing these (or at least the link selection if not your descriptions) under CCZero?

  21. Phil c:

    Silent lamb/nagarya, your behavior brings to mind two quotes that seem to be apropos:

    “Thou doth protest too much” (specifically your pseudonym hypocrisy) &
    “At times it is best to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool, then to open it and remove all doubt!”
    As stated above: “STOP TROLLING!”
    You sir, are little more than a two bit Napoleon!
    Peace and Blessings from Seattle! (Yeah, you too Nappy!!)

  22. TheJohnwade:

    Link to Scrooge (1935) broke, thanks.

  23. Paule:

    Nice List, but you forget so many very good Movies.
    For example Metropolis, Gold-Rush, The General, ….
    Good Movies (PD and free)you find unter:

  24. porno:

    Sarışın Esmer Videoları

  25. Ohsnap!:

    Definitely recommend ‘Mambo’…not the best acting but ahead of its time AND you have the wonderful Katherine Dunham. Also, ‘The Brother from Another Planet’ which I saw in its original theater release and it well deserves its cult status. Amazing film! ‘House on Haunted Hill’…it’s VINCENT PRICE…what’s not to love? And ‘A Star is Born’…the best release with Judy Garland’s version coming in at a close second! Enjoy!

  26. Carl Fillmore:

    Bless you for posting, excellent read, are you likely to be performing any kind of follow up about the idea.

  27. jet russell:

    these movies suck. fucking weirdos need girlfriends man, seriously.

  28. Milk:

    The copyright FUD posters sound like MPAA shills trying to make people frightened of sharing such content. If you want to avoid people seeing you as a troll, do some bloody research and cite references here as to what films on this list should not be freely distributed! Put up or shut up.

  29. OldKazooMaker:

    I seriously doubt any of use viewing these films are making a dime and that would seem to be the key to copyright infringment as is stated in the following copyright disclaimer. I believe most of us view these film on an educational basis for discussion of cinema history and techniques. I love making music videos just for fun and learn so much from watching these beautiful old films. Thanks to everyone for sharing these classic works.

    “Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

    Silent Lamb you poor soul, just…. welll… be silent and sit down, take a breath and watch a classic flick. You might just learn something creative to add to the discussion of these works. Which the above copyright disclaimer encourages each of us to do.

  30. OldKazooMaker:

    Whoops, almost forgot LOL, there is so much for the hobbist video maker to learn from the flick Night of the Living Dead. What a brilliant low budget flick.

  31. LSwaim:

    I was disappointed to see that two movies were not included in this list: “Beat The Devil” and “Vessel Of Wrath.”

  32. dwight simmons:

    The movies mentioned (Public domain or not) are an excellent collection. By viewing them, doing a little web research, one could actually sound intelligent when discussing cinema.

    By the way – the best way to defang trolls (suspected or confirmed) is to simply ignore them.

    To engage them lets the drag you down to their level, where they beat you with experience.

    Note that Hitchcock appears on the list with Lodger and 39 steps. Many folks don’t know that his first films were silents. His body of work is a must view –
    however you get them.

  33. aizikace:

    all these movies are outdated stuff, come on… make this interesting people!

  34. DADjargenson:

    these movies are all listed on the Internet Archive and HAVE been researched for standing Copyrights for every single movie in the list provided here at least 90 days of research in to owner and Copyright holder was done and NONE was found also they notify the Federal Copyright Office in Washington DC to confirm there findings and clear it with there lawyers they are aided by the library of congress in determining there facts prior to posting any film book photo or information on there site

  35. awaycaboose:

    Myself and a bunch of other misfits from all across the world recently recorded an original soundtrack to The Battleship Potemkin. As part of the process we also cleaned up the print a bit and it can be viewed or downloaded from here >

  36. Ike Nishi:

    I hope you like also this one!

    It is free movie in HD published by the end of 2008!

    I found it exciting!

  37. David Weinstock:

    My daughter Sue emailed the list. Brought back fond memories of the movies I enjoyed in the mid 20s and 30s. I’m pushing 96 years now and looking forward to
    watching some again. Thanks very, David

  38. Mike:

    I think Buster Crabbe was more well known for FLASH GORDON not Tarzan.

  39. p309:

    I just watched “The Stranger” recently. It was on television, forget which channel. Maybe Turner Classic Movies, as I receive that channel.
    IN any regard, highly recommended! Very good movie.
    Thanks for this list, there are many on here that I will be watching. In my opinion, the older movies, and I mean right thru to the 1990s, are the best movies. The newest movies, save for a few, are mostly trash! Again, just my opinion, no flame war is necessary.

  40. zanadoo:

    Beautiful article, truly a treat, wish you feel all fuzzy inside Sean P. Aune, thank you.

  41. Smokinbonez:

    Watching these old films is like studying art history. Why were the old masters so good at what they did at the time. You can’t compare modern times to the past.Theres a progression of learning involved. In all forms of art this is true and it takes some insite to understand this.Some people would accept a Van Gogh painting because its worth money not because its a master piece. Even though thier totally in the dark as to why. By the way are the old trailers also in the PD?

  42. Dave Trevni Surot:

    Should anyone actually give a sheet about the copyright issue? Only people who try to sell it who don’t own it. Let’s not get our breeches in such a bindle.
    I wish the Internet Archive had Colossus: The Forbin Project.

  43. marcus thorinson:

    Would any of you willingly work for your employer or customers for free, other than voluntary philanthropic endeavors such as donations to a cause of your choosing ?

    Obviously, the answer would be no.

    Anyone elses intellectual property is no different that you and your work you demand payment for. Your time versus adequate legal and rightful compensation. Does not matter if you make widgets, build houses or furniture, or service someone with your time.

    This is what I never understood about the irrational attempts at justifying blatant theft that ocurrs with intellectual property infringement.

    When someone creates an intellectual work, it is their property. Period. If they wish to allow others free access and/or distribution rights, hey, that’s fine and dandy, however anything less than that should be criminal theft – forever. It’s theirs. They created it jsut like you created what you made and invested your time.

    As an independent software developer, I live this situation daily. As income decreases, your hard work is stolen and distributed at a higher rate, ending up on the torrent sites and black market sites for free or at greatly reduced rates (pirated and bootlegged), usually at sites and services hosted in countries where the Intellecual Property laws and treaties are non-existent or still in the dark ages.

    Sure we all like free stuff, but unless you want to be stolen from, think twice before stealing from others.

    Personally, I believe there should be a world-wide law giving copyrights automatically and forever.

  44. lorain:

    has anyone bothered to make sure that all these “quotes” are not being copy and pasted from a protected website? It is like trying to make a Native American understand the concept of land ownership. I have the ability to hold it in my hand but its not mine the land is completely out of grasp.

  45. Keith:

    With all of the people who use this site we should have at least one lawyer, schooled in English Common Law, that could interpret copyright law and provide a valid legal opinion for english-speaking countries. Until now this thread has been nothing but meaingless speculation.

  46. James:

    Why isn’t “Charade” on the list?

    that’s a great film

    and lets just drop all the hoopla with copyright

  47. artes marciais:

    Nice list.
    thanks for the scifi/horror movies, I watched only one.

  48. Sam:

    Is this for real? Can I really use these movies in a short film that I’m making? I don’t have to pay anyone?

  49. David Starner:

    Marcus, you can want eternal copyright all you want, but that doesn’t make it real. I personally find the concept a bit appalling; we the people would be paying a fortune in royalties to teach our kids Shakespeare and Twain, money that would probably be going to some company not producing anything but money for its shareholders. It would be a terrible expensive loss to society. Already we’ve lost films permanently because those groups that could and would restore them couldn’t find the copyright holder, or couldn’t reach an agreement with the copyright holder.

    Sam: Yes, these movies are believed to be in the public domain in the US. As always, you should double check yourself, and things may vary abroad; I suspect the Hitchcock and Hercules, at the least, are still copyrighted in the EU.

  50. May O'Naise:

    “As the post says, nothing after circa 1923 is in the public domain.”

    Um…so that’s why at one time “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946) was played on television by everyone and anyone and released on DVD multiple times….until some company went to court and reclaimed it as theirs (which I still don’t understand how THAT’s legal)?

    And that’s why Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” (1927) can be released or shown by anyone (not the reconstructed version with the Buenos Aries footage – Kino has the copyright to that)?

    Dear God, how can there be so many brain dead people out there alive and walking around?

  51. John:

    Blackmail and Brother From Another Planet look to have been removed. Blackmail is claimed by Canal+, although the fact it’s over 70 years old is the argument against. Brother I don’t know about, although apparently all films made after 1976 had retrospective copyright added to them.

  52. Peter L:

    PD movies can be easily re-copyrighted. If I was to find an old version of a 1925 classic currently found in PD and was to upgrade it to digital video or make any change at all, say add a new soundtrack, then that new version now becomes mine and is legally re-copyrighted to me the day I release it.
    So, that’s why some people can claim copyright on an old movie. Make any change and it’s now yours.
    Many of the companies are doing exactly that, putting a menu system onto a DVD around the movie and these are all newly copyrighted. It means you can’t go the dollar shop & simply copy & sell their disk legally but you can go to, download the movie, put your own menu system and then legally have copyright to your own version.

  53. John:

    I’m glad Shame’s available. Shatner seemed pretty proud of it, if I remember rightly from his book.

  54. AL:

    The case of Frank Capra should be mentioned,he forgot to contact his lawyers to renew the copyright of,It’s a Wonderful Life,so it fell into public domain,costing Capra millions,So, he borrowed money,colorized it,and because he owned the original copyright was allowed to copyright the colorized version.The black and white version remains in public domain,that’s why TV people usually show the b&w version.

  55. Gary:

    Dear All,

    concerning “It’a Wonderful Life”, there was an underlying copyright for the book or screenplay that was used to make the movie. The writer or his family
    reclaimed their copyright.

  56. John:

    History of US Copyrights
    Copyright Act of 1790 – established U.S. copyright with term of 14 years with 14-year renewal
    Copyright Act of 1831 – extended the term to 28 years with 14-year renewal
    Copyright Act of 1909 – extended term to 28 years with 28-year renewal
    Universal Copyright Convention – ratified by the U.S. in 1954, and again in 1971, this treaty was developed by UNESCO as an alternative to the Berne Convention
    Copyright Act of 1976 – extended term to either 75 years or life of author plus 50 years; extended federal copyright to unpublished works; preempted state copyright laws; codified much copyright doctrine that had originated in case law
    Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988 – established copyrights of U.S. works in Berne Convention countries
    Copyright Renewal Act of 1992 – removed the requirement for renewal
    Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) of 1994 – restored U.S. copyright for certain foreign works
    Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 – extended terms to 95/120 years or life plus 70 years
    Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 – criminalized some cases of copyright infringement

    Just tell me again who is stealing from whom?

  57. ZENmud:

    The US avoided signing the Berne Convention for 102 years, mainly because the rest of the world retains ‘moral rights’ in copyright (think ‘colorizing’ B&W films! Would be a violation (unless permitted) of the original production’s print), and the ‘formalities’, such as registration.
    Most of the posters here seem to know about 1/3rd of the situation with copyright.
    For any work, whether it is PD or not, should be readily available with due diligence.
    One of the prime sources for US promotion of extended periods of protection, comes from Disney… they don’t want to allow Mickey Mouse and all their animations to go into the public domain. Thank you, Mickey…

  58. brad:

    Brother from another planet is not a public domain movie. It is own by MGM. I am certain that John Sayles would not have over looked this issue.

  59. gonoplace:

    of course you have to copy them right, if you did’nt then that would be……wait for it………copywrong

  60. Sid:

    It’s a wonderful life owes it’s success to not being copyrighted. It was a total flop when released, but then when it went out of copyright, TV stations just started showing it to fill in gaps in schedules cos it was free, and so it gained a following. So it didn’t cost Frank Capra million, cos if he renewed the copyright, the ststions would not have shown the film and it would have been forgotten.

  61. ConceptComm II:

    public domain n. 1) in copyright law, the right of anyone to use literature, music or other previously copyrighted materials, after the copyright period has expired. Although the copyright laws have changed several times, a rule of thumb would be that the last possible date for copyright protection would be 50 years after the death of the author. Thus, the works of William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Jack London, and other classic writers are in the public domain and may be published by anyone without payment of a royalty.

  62. ConceptComm II:

    The data below will let you know when you can safely use a piece of art or music without permission because it is now in public domain after copyright protection expiration, or how long the copyright protection will last.

    * Published before 1923 – now in public domain

    * Published from 1923 to 1963 – When published with a copyright notice © or “Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]” – copyright protection lasts 28 years and could be renewed for an additional 67 years for a total of 95 years. If not renewed, now in public domain.

    * Published from 1923 to 1963 – When published with no notice – now in public domain

    * Published from 1964 to 1977 – When published with notice – copyright protection lasts 28 years for first term; automatic extension of 67 years for second term for a total of 95 years.

    * Created before 1/1/1978 but not published – copyright notice is irrelevant – copyright protection lasts for the life of author and 70 years or 12/31/2002, whichever is greater

    * Created before 1/1/1978 and published between 1/1/1978 and 12/31/2002 – notice is irrelevant – copyright protecion lasts the life of author and 70 years or 12/31/2047, whichever is greater

    * Created 1/1/1978 or after – When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression – notice is irrelevant – copyright protecion lasts for the life of author and 70 years based on the the longest living author if jointly created or if work of corporate authorship, works for hire, or anonymous and pseudonymous works, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation.

  63. max:

    to hell with hollywood and to hell with record companies. there has been no end of people made rich by fans pooring billions upon trillions of dollars into their industry and what do the fans get? for instance hasn’t all the executives made enough fucking profit off elvis and the original star wars. we made them movies because of all the money we paid for them. what kind of laws can the blue collar man make to keep on making profits on something .I meanit makes no legal sense but it makes fair sense that when those greedy execs make enough millions of dollars to go around we should be able to say this stuff falls under fan domain. we dang well bought the rights to enjoy that art. let them companies all get jipped and go out of buisness we have enough art to last the living world forever. we dont need those companies anymore they need to stop ripping off the poor and middle class.
    i mean if we gave them stuff and they didnt need us anymore. theyd sure as corporate law rip us off too. who the hell can whine “oh poor record company moguls their not making 900% profit. also dont insult my typing and spelling i’m smart in other ways

  64. max:

    I cant believe any man would whine about licensed art being stolen. have you heard about the entertainment industrys standard of living. where the hell does somebody get off thinking thats fair. those peckers are only rich because of their fans money. everytime we buy a ticket in their pyramid scheme they make another million damn dollars. and we wind up going back home poorer and with only memories. but they can buy a broadcasting station and do it all over again in a repetative cycle forever. oh but they lost alot of money cause everybodies downloading. yeah then they go home poorer and with only memories too. you know I dont think what I’m saying makes any legal sense whatsoever. but you know when you only obey legal and monetary principals you might ignore moral and ethical principals and think im ridiculous. well im not ridiculous im a low income blue collar man who just cant do like the beatles. so being poor I believe in the value of being good and fair and sharing for free some of the crap I do. im not hell bent on suing college kids who have enough on their plates for copyright infringement because im plenty rich but my profit margin just aint up to par. and God FORBID SOMEBODY GOT A TWENTY DOLLAR DREAM COME TRUE FOR FREE. I bET SOME OF YOU REALLY HOPE THAT WALL STREET AND BANKERS HAVE A GOOD YEAR AND MAKE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROFIT OFF THE WORKING CLASS BECAUSE THE LAW SAYS THEY CAN. TO YOU PEOPLE WHO i DONT UNDERSTAND BUT WHO ARE SO IN THE KNOW ABOUT PUBLIC DOMAIN LAWS ITS ALL ABOUT SCREWIN A DUDE OVER SO THAT dONALD TRUMP CAN SPEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON ANOTHER GOLF COURSE IN SCOTLAND. BOY WOULDNT IT BE A TRAGEDY IF THE ROCKEFELLERS AND GEORGE LUCAS ONLY BROKE EVEN FOR ONCE YOU TWISTED CORRUPT BANKERS AND CRY BABIES ABOUT MICHAEL JACKSONS HEIRS ROYALTIES. AND I DONT GIVE A DAMN ABOUT MU CRAPPY TYPING IM SMART IN OYHERWAYS LOL

  65. Eric:

    After that confusing diatribe (is max “poor” or “plenty rich”?), I need to jump in.
    I decided to dig through all these comments looking for some hidden gems available at The Internet Archive. Instead, I find too much discussion of copyrights, etc.
    I like to think that max may be on the right track above. Just before he found the “Caps Lock” key, max states, “I believe in the value of being good and sharing for free some of the crap I do.”
    Although, by NO means, do I view his movies as “crap”, my mind went to Roger Corman. I am not aware of any details, but I understand that Mr. Corman did not renew the copyrights on many of his movies. That allowed me to pick up ten of his movies in a (nice) set for less than a dollar each. To my understanding, if Mr. Corman wanted to take these movies out of “public domain”, he probably could. But, as far as I know, he has not.
    So, if I wanted to make a few bucks on copies of “Dementia 13″ (my personal favorite), I probably could. Would that bother Mr. Corman? I do not know. Would that change the fact that it is HIS movie? No, not at all. I praise Roger Corman for making so many movies and letting some slip into “public domain”.
    Finally, thank you, Sean, for providing this list.

  66. Heather:

    I really wish people would’ve kept their big mouths shut about all the copyright crap. I really wanted to see Hitchcock’s Murder! as it just so happens the plot matches a book I’ve been writing (and almost have finished–so I swear I’m not stealing the idea). Still, with the similarity, I thought it would be interesting. That makes the second one I’ve clicked on that has been pulled. All you copyright criers suck! For movies this old, I don’t feel bad watching them on a site like this. Can’t imagine there’s a bunch of kids clamoring to watch a 1930′s movie like me. For new movies, new books, etc., fine, you’ve got a point. Movie stars and the studios make tons of cash. But I hear it is different for small time players in the movie biz. I know it is a different story for writers–even those who hit the NY times best seller list are far from rich by and large–a few Steven Kings, Dean Koontz, etc. notwithstanding. But a 1930′s Hitchcock film–I don’t see the harm. I don’t see the harm at all!

  67. Kevin:

    Whether the films are public domain or not… you don’t HAVE TO FOLLOW THE LAW. WAKE UP. People break laws everyday because they don’t agree with them.

    Don’t fear the government. That is what gives it power.

    Peace and love and good flicks

    I’m going to watch Five Minutes To Live

  68. Essayist:

    I hope no one spoils The Internet Archive by taking this copyright issue further, it is a treasure trove of information and one I have been using for years. I have a keen interest in old movies and know of no other site that has such a large portfolio of films that allows me to study the thing I love.

    In saying that I do find some of the above comments unreasonable, some seem to think the movie makers of today should make films and charge nothing for their viewing. This is a preposterous proposition, how are the film companies supposed to get the money to enable them to produce the films we love if they are not getting income to invest.

    No the real reason for these tight individuals to say they want to get things for free but don’t want to pay, is they don’t like to part with their money. In my opinion they are no better than thieves and I have no time for them and their illegal pirating of contemporary movies off the net.

    They are the type that will kill the industry if they continue to infringe the copyright laws, I hope the people who do it are tracked down and prosecuted.

  69. Stevethelogical:

    You talk of copy right, what about ownership? If you purchase something, it means you own it. If you own it, that means you can move it, modify it, give it away or what ever you want. So if you purchase, say a movie, you own it. Period. You can do what ever you want with it. If this is not true, then we would only pay a small “rental” fee at wal-mart or where ever we buyt movies. Ownership overrides copyright.

  70. phil harrington:

    This is awesome!!! I don’t know jack about copyright law and I don’t care-this is amazing. Thank you and good night!!!

  71. Tiny Tim:

    Copyright law is a dinosaur looking for a meteor.

    Kill it with bittorrent!

  72. movie lover:

    came accross this by accident. WOW, people will fight over anything! If there is a copyright infringement on this site, I bet if you emailed they would check into it and take it off. Problem solved. Now all you people who are so passionate about the law, why don’t you go out and save someone’s life today or make a difference in the world! Oh, and since there are so many who don’t break the law, make sure your parking and speeding tickets are paid!

  73. Cad Zookz:

    To Silent Lamb: S.T.F.U. If i find it on the internet, I download it.

  74. sangey:

    Thank you very much for very informative and interesting movie collection.

  75. sangey:

    Thank you very much for the informative and meaningful movies. I loved the movies and easy to access.

  76. Annamaria Ayalla:


  77. Juis:

    Glad to know this place is full of idiots just like anywhere else.

  78. Kacper:


  79. Paul:

    Who cares if these old movies are still under copyright? The stars are dead. The filmmakers are dead. The financiers are dead. Everyone is dead. Anyone/any company of today who profits off owning a copyright in a film like that, whose copyright they simply inherited without working or paying anything, is a thief much more so than we are.

    But yea, intellectual property is a pretty tricky, morally gray area at the best of times. When the artists involved are all dead, it’s really morally indefensible. The art is free.

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  82. raymond:

    Where are the Great Movies Like Wallage Berry Sr, Grand Hotel and Viva Villa?

  83. Did My Research:

    The “it’s all copyrighted” posts above show a lack of knowledge about copyright laws, and fail to recognize copyright laws have been changed in recent years in ways that don’t reach back for all films.
    Back in the day, before the large media companies lobbied governments worldwide for extremely long copyright terms, copyright was neither automatic nor virtually forever. In the US, works were not automatically copyrighted, and even when they were copyrighted the copyright had to be renewed or it lapsed. This made sense because in a pre-digital world there was little to no value in ephemeral works, and there is a cultural benefit to letting materials enter the public domain. In a digital world, it all changed, and the media companies successfully lobbied for a change in the laws that made copyright automatic and that greatly extended the term of copyright. This change in the law did not reach back and sweep in materials for which the copyright had expired, which includes items where copyright was never properly obtained or where the copyright was allowed to lapse. A statement like “everything since 1923 is copyrighted” just reveals ignorance; a truer statement would be “nothing before” the operative date is copyrighted, and for everything after that date a case by case examination is required. It’s not always easy to tell if old materials are copyrighted, an issue that is bedeviling Google’s attempt to digitize everything in a way that, more or less, complies with copyright. Even determining if there is a copyright and finding the current copyright holder is a very expensive process, and as a result the shadow of today’s punitive copyright laws keep many public domain works out of circulation because it is too hard to prove that they are really public domain. There is a cost to this – reflected here – because these very broad laws that benefit none of the original creators keep out of circulation works of art that are part of our common heritage.

  84. Lily:

    Digg this! Thanks for the valid, legal links. Sure could watch some of these films here, some look interesting. Even the Phantom links here.

    Wholesale Beads

  85. Not the Whole Story:

    The problem with the copyright discussions here is that it doesn’t cover the whole story regarding movie copyrights. A film’s copyright applies only to the rights of reproduction of the film itself. However, within the film are elements which are covered under separate copyrights, most notably music. While the rights to copy and distribute a movie may have fallen into public domain, the elements within the movie, i.e., music, popular songs, the script itself, the material on which the script is based, even costume designs, could still be under their own separate copyrights. Internet Archive states this very thing on their website. That said, while the distribution and exhibition rights to the film of “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” may be in the public domain, the musical score most certainly is not, as it would have it’s own copyright via the composer and/or the music publisher. Exhibiting this movie, or distributing it in any form would violate the rights of the music’s copyright holders, not to mention any other separate rights, such as the the rights of the celebrity images in the movie (John Travolta, Robert Reed’s Estate, etc.) So, it’s a misnomer to make a blanket statement that a movie is in the public domain. Specifically, a the rights to a movie’s exhibition or distribution are in the public domain, but other rights (music, celebrity likeness, etc.) are mostly likely still retained by the composer, the actor, or their estate. I’ve asked IA about this repeatedly, and they finally placed the disclaimer on their site that movies in the PD are not necessarily “rights free.”

  86. Not the Whole Story:

    PART TWO: An example of copyright violation on Internet Archive are the Tarzan movies, and any audio books based on original Tarzan books. Why? Aren’t the movies and books now in the public domain? Yes, they are. But guess what isn’t? The CHARACTER of Tarzan himself. The name Tarzan is still a live trademark owned by the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Did Disney have to pay for the right to use the name when producing it’s Saturday morning Tarzan cartoons? You betcha. Even though they could have used the text from the books verbatim for the story, any use of the name “Tarzan” without permission from the estate of the author, would have violate their trademark of the name, and placed Disney at risk to be sued. (A case they would have lost.) Check out the Disney Tarzan cartoons… they carry a trademark notice regarding the name of Tarzan, with used by permission of the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Whether Disney paid the estate or not (what do YOU think?) they still had to gain permission. This type of scenario is played out time and time again on IA, and I’m surprised they haven’t been shut down.

  87. Not the Whole Story:

    PART THREE: Another example of misunderstanding public domain status on Internet Archive, are the Betty Boop cartoons. While the RIGHTS to distribute the film have fallen into the public domain, the character of Betty Boop is copyrighted and owned by Fleischer Studios, Inc. (still a viable California corporation) and Hearst Holdings. The US Trademark Office shows the name Betty Boop as a LIVE trademark. Additionally, for example, one of the Betty Boop cartoons contains musical performances by Cab Calloway. The songs he sings in those cartoons are still under copyright by the music publisher. So, any exhibition or distribution of any Betty Boop cartoon would be violating the trademark of the Betty Boop name, and in the Cab Calloway instance, the music copyrights still in effect. So, could you distribute the Betty Boop cartoons commercially for profit without paying the original producers, directors, animators, etc.? Yes, because THOSE rights have fallen into the public domain because they are tied to the production of the FILM; however, you would need to strike a deal with the owners of the trademark of the Betty Boop name, and the copyright holders of any music appearing in those films.

  88. Thoreau-2012:

    I deal with the lawyers from Hollywood invading our halls of justice in a very simple way. It’s called social disobedience. When I find a good movie I make many many copies and give them away on DVD. I tell the people that I give them to to do the same. There is no digital trail and I accomplish my purpose. What is my purpose you ask. It’s to take bake the freedom this country was founded on. Why is a patent only good for 20 years but copyright good for 100? Because the lawyers from Hollywood has subverted our legal system. Fight back. Don’t be a mindless drone and say Oh it’s the law I have to do that regardless whether it’s right or not.

  89. geminisblue79:

    I know it may not be public property or what it is called actually. It is a little too early for brain to get specifics correct, but anyway… One movie i think should be on your list is ” 12 ANGRY MEN”. It is a great movie with Henry Fonda and some more great actors that i can’t remember but there are some very good ones.

  90. antonio garcia:

    Silent Lamb Is an IDIOT! What is your problem, you MUST be a TEA PARTY MEMBER. GOD, what a piece of work!!

  91. Sick of Thieves:

    Fucking thieves don’t seem to grasp that stealing other peoples’ work will result in those people ceasing to produce.

  92. Organic Skin Care tips:

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  93. Seeking Info:

    I appreciate all the debate of copyright and trademark because I’m hoping to use movie clips in a public manner that could lead to at least minimal profit. The last thing I want is to make the wrong decision and jeopardize my enterprise. My search on the very subject sent me here. Thank you to everyone who does care about copyrighting.

  94. Oliver Dinan:

    Sit back and watch full movie films totally free

  95. Aleksis:

    heres a dumb idea… lets kill holly wood… no im pretty serious.. .lets be honost, we need to destroy holly wood and start from scratch with fresh people and no business people, we can have a federatio nstyle hollywood where people actualy care about everyone, poor and those who have proven themselves in tests

    or atleast we could go full out and create a revolutionary new industry of film writers working with people that want to act, im not saying i hate the actors in hollywood reguardless of thier beliefs, its just a simple truth holly wood holds alota power in our culture and its the nexus of media, which makes it a danger in alot of ways, it can be a force of good, or of obnoxiousness :/

    lets at the very least craft a new law system, people get loans from banks for low costs that are insured off thier films, if hte films do good they pay off the loans if they do bad government splits the cost with the bank, if the people geting the loan and their script writer have provenly been bad investments limit thier credit for thier next film, and have a new system wihtout that hastle, create a new hollywood, cleansed of law issues, ownership issues, banks get money from the government caus we have a ridiculous system, lets actualy spread the wealth from the government cheaply to the banks and again cheaply and safely to the people that need it to provide worthwhile enrichment and expression to everyone.

    just eliminate all the crap that everyones always argueing about, i mean it would cripple the government at first caus hollywood is like americas last real export besides drugs, which is why thier tolerated and invested in so heavily, and i dont mind that we dont have the industry we used to hopefuly were building it up but capitalism isnt flawless we need to go to socialism, not communist socialism, but true democracy in action socialism, where we vote for hwo the money system works

  96. Carella Ross:

    i’ve curated a variety of films at my website. hover over the CTV link in the menu.

  97. davebooks:

    This is all very intelligent – I think. What happened to the existentialist in the conversation? He didn’t say anything, therefore he never existed. ha.ha.ha. Whatever happened to art for art. Be free, the future holds more individual expression than anyone could ever take in…enjoy the past, while it lasts.

  98. Robert:

    Copy right in it self is theft! After all in what aspect of life and society does one get paid for work produced decades ago?

    Copyrights along with unproductive patents should have a life span of at most five years, beyond that is no more then legalized theft no one else would get away is, it is immoral , unethical. end copyright!!

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  109. practice test:

    I remember when old black and white movies were $2 for 3-nights at Major Video.

    We got a VCR for Christmas and drove to the store before lunch. The line was long but everyone wanted movies for their new machine.

    We rented about 5 black and white Horror Films and stayed up all night!

    A couple of the were in this list. Wow does this bring back memories

  110. Refrigerant:

    I must have at least 5 of these on my DVR. I bought a dedicated DVR instead of a tivo. It has a lot more storage for a movie nut like me.

  111. ME:

    I’ll sell these movies for a buck a piece and let everyone know if I get sued.Word to da wise, make a buck where and when you can, if you are already poor, they can’t take anything from you.

  112. fahad:

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  116. Spam Man:


  117. Andréas:

    Haha, I love reading all these crazy excuses for stealing movies. “Actors are dead”, “people break laws all the time”. Independant film-makers are being killed by pirates like you guys. That’s why small-time gems like Halloween or Eraserhead and rarities in modern times. You steal all the movies you want and then complain about how crap movies these days are. You people have no-one to blame but yourself.

    @ME: No, but they can throw you in jail.

  118. djmasturbeat:

    some artists now release under Creative Commons.
    See “Sita Sings the Blues.”
    Independent Animation made for public usage. I do suggest a donation to her if you like her flick ;)

    Down with Copywrong, support the artists, not some CEOs and executive douchebags who STEAL from the artists (see the whole history of the music industry for details).

  119. Xanax:

    Wonderful blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

  120. trollmaster:

    Don’t you love the Movie Industry trolls on here? They can’t stand it that 1 person may see a 80 year old movie on here without them getting a nickel or dime from it.
    Copyright should be 10-15 years max, not eternity!

  121. truth:


  122. Patricio Vallejos:

    Is there a chance to get some subtitles in english, spanish or french?

  123. Harri int:

    Dont tell this to fahad he makes music from the dulcian, bassong and sordun all day long to amuse his girlfriend jane and she likes where it hits you , if you break the law the law comes after you and breaks you sooner or later. dont be an idiot some movies are in public domain and others are not.

  124. Matthew Smith:

    @ Silent Lamb

    Copyright IS different everywhere, and in the cases of the copyright notice being left off of the U.S. film print, that means PD in the states, but other countries may have had the copyright notice on the film, and not had that mistake. You as the consumer are liable if you illegally download the content.
    Example: Project Gutenberg Australia has many books that are PD there, but under copyright in the US. You can download them, but outside in the US, it’s a violation of copyright law.

    @ Paul
    You would care if you were in control of an estate that would see profits from the copyrights being violated.

    @ Truth
    Please Keep a civil tongue in your head… ranting like that only makes you sound like a child who knows nothing, regardless the truth of your statement.

  125. Martin:

    who is @ Truth ? Is he a zombieversion of Truman Capote?? I thought he was dead? What have you been sucking on lately? Who the hell are you talking to?

  126. uniongulf:

    I agree who the f-k is this kid. If you try to copy, sell and distribute the movie AWAKENINGS free of charge chances are that youll be thrown in Jail…..

  127. Matthew Smith:

    @ Martin
    The “at” sign (@) is used to indicate to whom I’m talking, the word “Truth” was to indicate the user named truth that I was directing the comment to, similar to what I did here.

  128. uniongulf:

    Obviously martin is speaking to the user “truth”, and he is saying that there could be somekind of identityfraud or so in the working!! “truth” could be a lesbian or a whore trying steal an identity.

  129. martin:

    Did i say that?

  130. uniongulf:

    Im trying to reveal that the users discussing most likely is whores and a few lesbians , i did a ip-tracking

  131. robapacl:

    It would have been really interesting to see the results of what would have happened if the originators of the alphabet and grammar rules had copyrighted their creations. Imagine having to develop your own!!! One would think, listening to all the blather about copyright, that any of this was really original. Basically, it’s all just cut and paste. If you want to spend the time, you can always find precedents for any contemporary work. The nature of the beast is to be stimulated by something and try to expand on it. Original thought? Hah!!!!

  132. Erikunion:

    No , you are missing the point copyrighted works are protected against being cut and manipulated with. Its not legal. An example you can not steal a sasha grey movie just like that. And the users are not whores…..

  133. Holistic Retreats:

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  134. Movietime:

    Copyright exists to avert damages or collect when damages are incurred.

    The following concerns individual (leech) viewers, whom Hollywood seems bent on frightening as much as the big-time bootleg/piracy operators — via legal prosecution, not horror flicks.

    Most viewers who want to view a title for free are not going to pay to rent or purchase that title anyway, for one or more reasons, e.g.:
    1) They want something for nothing.
    2) They dislike Hollywood to begin with, and are not interested in lining the pockets of greedy publishers (or artists or middlemen).

    Do you really believe making a title utterly unavailable for free will annoy leeches enough that they will then pay to view it?
    How many something-for-nothing’s do you know who have said, “Damn! There aren’t any free views/downloads of anywhere! That sucks, but ok, I guess I’ll go buy a copy at then.” Get real.
    1) just won’t see it
    2) MAY pay a buck at a red-box to rent it, but if it’s not available for rent anywhere, they aren’t going to purchase a new, factory copy for a premium
    3) may purchase an illegal bootleg

    The publisher is not profiting from the individual freeloader/leech viewer, to be sure, but the publisher is also not directly incurring loss due to that viewer, whether the title is viewed illegally or simply not viewed.
    The results of making titles unavailable for free viewing are that the leeching masses simply won’t see the title — or, alternatively, a massive amount of copyright violation (bootlegs) is being encouraged.

    I’d love to see one of the many lawyer wannabes or Hollyweird shills explain the damages incurred as a result of an illegal view by any individual and then try to collect in court.
    Any argument of “We lost money from that sale because s/he watched it for free.” can be instantly destroyed by the counter, “I wouldn’t have paid to see it. I just wouldn’t have watched it.” Now prove damages.

    Of course, the leech viewer may earn a conviction and be imprisoned (most likely a small fine), but the publisher’s overpaid legal eagles would have done little more than waste their time.
    This is the primary reason Hollywood almost never goes after freeloading individuals/leeches. They realize damages are virtually non-existent, impossible to prove in court and collect on.

    Yabbut.. but.. prosecution sets an example! Yeah, that’s why the RIAA gave up taking Grandma to court for what her brat grandson (or prick script-kiddie down the street) managed to download on her unsecured pc. The only thing that served to illustrate as example is how stupid and greedy the RIAA/industry is.

    I’m not encouraging illegal activity. I’m not a broke college student and I purchase titles I’m truly interested in. Store bought copies are generally of much higher quality and extras are often on disc (I enjoy these, often as much if not more than the movie itself).

    As for much older titles, even the big publishers tend to produce these in sets, so multiple flicks can often be had for peanuts, legally.

    The purpose of this post was to point out what an exercise in futility it is to attempt to intimidate or alter the mindset of individuals/leeches — and it’s a direct challenge to the legal eagle wannabes in here.

  135. Kerry Larry:

    Most people work for a living but another group has mastered how to live off of the producers. They push paper all day and produce nothing. They want to live affluent lives off of the remnants of someone elses past. A wise person might want to learn how to push paper and live off of others since that has become the most politically correct and acceptable option. There is little reward in working hard when the lawyers and the parisites know how to work the system and they will almost always prevail. A blind man lets nothing block his vision. When I was young, I spent all my money on alcohol and women and then I wasted the rest. Learn a lesson from the greedy and emulate their ways!

  136. unit:

    it’s just one big mindfuck.. they make this shit full of propaganda for the purposes of guiding our thinking.. and we’re expected to pay for it? hmmm, that makes sense.. only if you fall for it.. they like the idea of paying where it’s due? wtf? ..but they’re all in bed together pillaging the planet and its peoples.. and who do they pay credit to? ..these hollywood rich fucks think THEY are god.. wahahahaha

  137. nobody cares:

    Instead of everything always being under copyright, I believe the world needs to realize that with digital distribution comes the ability for anyone to share anything with anyone else. If corporations and artists cannot figure out a way to profit within the paradigms of this new system, then they will simply not make money. With this new paradigm, I believe we should go back to the time before copyrights existed…before recording devices existed.

    In the past, when someone created a story, or hummed a tune, it’s success was based on it’s own merits. If it was a good story, or a good tune, it was repeated by others around a campfire. There was no way to profit from it, other than in the telling of it. If you told it, or sang or hummed it in a very good way, you might get your dinner for free at the tavern.

    Point being, you watched the bard perform, and then if you were entertained, you paid something. There was no Barnum-and-Bailey up front charge before you even knew what you were going to see.

    Copyrights and the current form of buying tickets before you even see a worked performed is simply nothing more than a system designed to separate a chump from his money. This system has essentially caused the creative works to suffer greatly, as someone’s success is no longer linked to their actual ability to perform, but instead on their ability to market their work.

    Because of this system, our creative works consist largely of crap that is marketed as gold. It’s no wonder the new generations are jaded about paying money for entertainment. They have been ripped off too many times, and now they are striking back. I can’t blame them.

    Of course any capitalist worth their salt would reel in shock at the suggestion of making all media free. But there are ways to succeed and make a living from your art while still allowing people to share it openly. Just take a look at how The Grateful Dead used to operate their shows.

  138. Frank:

    If a law is broken to many times by the majority of people, it is then time to change that law.

    Criminalizing the majority of people to make a few people rich is both ethically and morally wrong.

    For what it is worth, I believe copyright should only be for fifty years, if by then the films,goods, whatever has not earned the owner of the copyright enough money in that time…tough.

    They can’t take all those millions with them when they die, they should count it as a gift to the public for giving them a lifestyle way beyond the likes of joe public could ever dream of.

    Stop taking and start giving something back and I don’t mean to greedy corrupt politicians

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  142. Free Movies:

    Download free movies,learn acting,browse from thousands of choice of hollywood or bollywood and also dubbed movies of hollywood.

  143. jobe:

    No one has mentioned in all of these legallity arguments that works can benefit and earn more by becoming better known as a result of the so called criminals…especially works no longer in mainstream advertising and distribution??

    I don’t condone stealing “per-se” but how many people would actually get to know of these masterpieces if it were not for sites like this?

    Most works of the age people are complaining about copyright on here would fall by the wayside and never be heard of again. Don’t you think that the world owes it to their children to keep the history / artist works alive?

    I am not saying forget copyrights or the dues people should earn for their works (thats a given), but also remember that without sites like this many of these works would no longer be appreciated or earn much more than a token amount of money.

    There comes a time (and who is to define it) that it becomes necessary by people choice to revive a memory of the past.

    I don’t see governments profittering over the story of Nelson etc… so why should it be different for movies that have “come of age”

    I would not even know of some of these actors if the films were not “in” the public domain and freely avaliable…. I am too young for that.

    The world has a duty that the legacy of our elders is passed on, isn’t that the way it has always been??

    I don’t mind paying a small token for these films IF it went to the author …. any of them still around?

    The argument that artists/creditors are not getting paid is only valid for more recent works. There has to be an element of “get yourself in the real world” here … come on guys – its about entertainment … its not all about profitteering

  144. Jon Doe:

    marcus thorinson: wrote on March 19th, 2011

    Would any of you willingly work for your employer or customers for free,

    Obviously, the answer would be no.

    Anyone elses intellectual property is no different that you and your work you demand payment for.

    This is what I never understood about the irrational attempts at justifying blatant theft that ocurrs with intellectual property infringement.

    When someone creates an intellectual work, it is their property. Period. If they wish to allow others free access and/or distribution rights, hey, that’s fine and dandy, however anything less than that should be criminal theft – forever.

    Personally, I believe there should be a world-wide law giving copyrights automatically and forever.

    Marcus: you are Wrong. Artists put their work for public display, NOT for money…. only Modern Painters, Film Producers, Musicians, et al DEMAND payment…. They are NOT ARTISTS!

    if you do not want your work seen, Do NOT paint it on a Wall!

    the ODG’s created Art to be SEEN and HEARD. NOT for money.

    Do you send a Dollar to the estate of Every Artist whose painting you view in the Gallery????

    if not, you are a hypocrite

  145. Albert Piscene:

    How about a nice little earner… Make something that most people don’t want, but keep on making money for the rest of your life and beyond, from those few who do want it. What other industry on the planet can boast that you can make money without extra work apart from copyrighted industries such as films, books, music and TV? House builders? Car makers? No way, they are too unimportant, along with teachers, emergency services workers, and every other useful part of society.

  146. musrat jerin:

    While you constantly hear about how downloading movies is illegal, there are numerous free legal movies you can download. Sure we aren’t talking about the latest summer blockbusters here, but there are some great films out there on the Internet that can be had for free.

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  148. Malcolm B:

    Everything is covered under copyright protection from the moment it is created until 70 years after the death of the creator. You don’t need to copyright it or put a notice on it or renew it. Things are only in the public domain if the holder of the copyright says it is or if sufficient time has past.

  149. Randy:

    I have been reading many many commands and would like to try to put it in a nutshell.

    Copyright, ahh “right” the legal smell of claims. There are several perspectives. Assuming piracy destroys entertainment companies would mean nothing new would be made. Copyright, the right to claim that another author reproduced parts of your work. The right to say someone else is a pirate, has stolen income, has ruined your life and laws must extend with that vision. How would that eventually look like?

    - Everyone is a potential criminal.
    - All forms of storage-media has a high potential to store copyrighted things.
    - All forms of data transfer methods have a high potential to transfer copyrighted things.
    - All recording devices have a high potential to copy copyrighted things.

    So what can be done about it?
    - Get the legal rights to take down websites in its entire, even if they also or mostly contain legal things. Even taking down sites that link to another site that contains a file with hash-codes that allows dowloading copyrighted things from many people. Even though the websites and servers don’t facilitate the material.
    - Get the legal rights to drag any downloader to court with guilty by default result.
    - Prohibit the use of encryptions.
    - Prohibit the use of tunnels, vpn’s and proxies.
    - Prohibit the use of peer to peer connections.
    - Prohibit users to freely uploading anything.
    - Force users to use a virus scanner and firewall
    - Force developers to develop unhackable operating systems and programs.
    - Force ISP’s to create blacklists.
    - Force ISP’s to use deep packet inspection.
    - Force ISP’s to share private customers information.

    en short :
    - Make internet into TV 2.0. No one may upload anything without permissions from the entertainment industry. No one may connect to any other system besides predesignated servers appointed by the entertainment industry. No one may produce and publish anything without the permission from them. Besides that, everyone is free to use internet.

    Last time i bought a dvd for $40 it was like horror. I inserted the dvd, pressed play……a 30sec unskipable fbi warning, 5 years in jail and $250,000 fine if i copy it. alright, i bought it, its fine.. then 5-6 commercials start and consume another 10mins. finally in the menu i press play (cause that’s what i want). Another fbi copyright statement pops up telling me shouldn’t copy, record, reproduce, show, rent it out, show it in school, in clubs, on oil rigs(yes i’m not kidding) or in hotels. or they will send out helicopters, some K9′s and a special op to track me down like a dog! (last part is a joke, but they will sue me). then finally the movie started and i trashed it because i felt like a criminal even before watching it.

    Now where does it go wrong? It goes wrong at the most basic simple logical thought : you simply need to buy it so the makers get money for it. Else they wont get any.
    Well, nothing wrong with that right? Its the most fundamental part that keeps an economy run. However, it switched from “please give us money for our work” to “buy or die” to even “you are a criminal, we will sue you”. There are different cases and different views like : Poor people just don’t have the money (then don’t watch them right?), average people sometimes have money and do buy but also download (because its faster and wont need to walk to a store) and rich people who either just buy it all or get it as a gift from someone else. However, there are people who download everything and once now or then buy what they downloaded because its worth. In very rare cases there are people who don’t download nor buy. And of course last but not least, there are hardcore downloaders. Usually the entertainment industry only sees that last group and superimpose it to make it look like everyone is like that and all measures noted above are justified to prevent piracy.
    It seems fair, but it isn’t. This way it destroys civil rights, freedom and counterproductivity. But its worth right? you are all criminals and must pay. As someone mentioned before, the entertainment industry is being destroyed cause of piracy.

    How does the justice system work? For ones the law isnt humane. The law is made up by rules and many think they should be practiced in the strict way possible. So 5 years in jail and $250.000 fine, because the law says so. You will be judged guilty by default based on 4 logged bytes (and IP address). That IP address cant tell if it points to a middle server, router or my pc. On top of that, it also cant tell if it was me, my brother, my dog or my neighbor who downloaded it. To finish it off, it cant even tell if it was because my pc got hacked and acted as proxy, someone outside who used my unsecured W-Lan router or because my IP got spoofed. That’s a serious problem there. The lack of information makes it very risky to just sue the person who owns that IP. But he, its worth, the entertainment industry is always right.

    In the comments i read about inheriting copyrights. Its terrible to extend a 70years+ movie’s copyright in order to… to… hmmm. to resell it? Even copyrighted forever doesn’t sound anything useful.

    Now that they have both the moral and legal sides behind them, that instantly makes them more perfect and all knowing in the name of good. This can never be in any way be abused. Everyone knows you should pay for things and pirates are the cause of every problem and should be dragged to court to be sentenced 5 years jail, fined $250,000 and a nice criminal record that destroys that person’s life. Because they are always 100% accurate and right.
    The weirdest case I’ve seen was RIAA sued a 86 old grandma in 2005 for sharing 700 songs on a p2p network.. not only didn’t she have a computer or know how to use one for that matter, the worst part was that she already died in 2004. Some other case where a grandpa was sued by RIAA joined with 7 label companies for downloading songs, he died and his family had 60days to grieve before prosecuting his children. after those 60days RIAA dropped the case out of “abundance of sensitivity”, because people were furious. A homeless was sued for copyright infringement logged by MediaSentry with an IP used in p2p network and traced back to an AOL account, but they couldn’t find him so they postponed, they sent more letters to a wrong home address and yet another letter to the same address but by first-class mail. RIAA was angry, but finally they found him in a homeless shelter. The label companies dismissed the case and added they can still sue him when circumstances changes. RIAA also was kind enough too add they are fair and reasonable while protecting their rights and assured that the label companies wouldn’t sue him in the future……
    Now some may call it justice, i call it hunger for suing. You can imagine these days there are investigation companies who hire torrent trackers and put out an illegal version of something and everyone that connects to that tracker is logged by IP for evidence. By now we are sure an IP is 100% accurate.

    “Fair use” : ye, this part becomes a joke. You may use parts of copyrighted material for education, non-profit and private use. You may cut up movies and comment them, use it in an informative project. You may remix music. And you may pray their lawyers wont sue you before you smashed the delete key (usually they wont, maybe at average and slightly above they will send a cease and desist notification. In extreme cases they wont even warn or just wait till the supposedly damage is great enough to get a nice sum out of it.).

    So how does all of this destroy counterproductivity? Well… everything you make might look or sound like something that already exists. The used components or beats might be copyrighted. Or because you made a great movie but forgot someone had a patent on the camera angle positioned 45c.

    Copyright, right….. How does even stricter policies like sopa/pipa/acta promote new creativity and innovation? How doesn’t it create a strong monopoly for a few selected companies? Why don’t they really help the human-race forward and only tries to demonize every. And why do companies act like they have no income and act like every download means missed income rather than not yet earned income?
    I know why. In 2006 RIAA tried to sue Limewire for $150,000,000,000,000.. Copyright is money, they got the materials, you are the criminal. Others will keep it simple “just pay”. There is no justice. I don’t promote piracy nor copyrights. I promote FREE things. Things that made by people for people for entertainment rather than acting those companies don’t have money and justifying how your rights as human should be limited and how your life is worth nothing.

    “You wouldn’t steal a car!”, i would rephrase that to “You wouldn’t download a bicycle that cant be locked!”.
    How to pay off the entire world debt? Easy : ($39,416,295,000,000/$250000)/(100Mbps/8bit/4500MByte*60sec*60min*24hr)=656938 and a quarter people downloading movies at 100Mbit should be sued. Easy right?
    Happy downloading free legal stuff to everyone! :)

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  152. Hugo Bronson:

    The law is the law is the law. Regarding whether or not a work is in the public domain, for works published in the United States, the rule of thumb is:

    Prior to 1923: Definitely in the public domain, free to use by all, for any purpose.

    From 1923 to 1977: MIGHT be in the public if initially published with a defective copyright notice, OR if never registered with the US Copyright Office and a physical copy deposited even if it had a correct copyright notice, OR if published prior to 1964 never RENEWED after its initial 28 year term expired. (Night of the Living Dead is probably the most notable example; it went out to theaters with no copyright notice at all due to a mistake by the distributor, and fell in to public domain because of this. The film “Charade” released by Universal Studios, a mainstream big budget release, went PD because the roman numerals of the year in the copyright notice were utterly messed up, leading to a faulty notice.)

    After January 1, 1977: Almost definitely NOT in the public domain unless specifically released to the public domain by the copyright holder, but works without a copyright notice at all, that never had a registration filed prior to the GATT agreement being adopted in 1991, MIGHT be public domain (Laser Mission with Brandon Lee being a notable one.)

    Obviously this is really complicated due to the law changing several times over the years. See the following chart;

    The idiot above who stated that nothing after 1923 is in the public domain does not know anything about copyright law and is 100% factually provably wrong.

  153. William Jones:

    On the face of it, Copyright does seem to be a bit of a scam. Yes of course there should be a period of protection allowing the creators to recoup their expenditure and gain a profit. Patents (to use a similar example), only last for 20 years, I would suggest that this is ample time for films to make massive profits, after which they should become public domain (after all, if they have not made a handsome profit after twenty years, they must be stinkers!) How many of us, after having done a day’s hard work, expect to get paid even twice for it – let alone get paid over and over again for 99 years or so!. Also describing copyright infringements as “theft” is emotive. In the UK at least, “Theft” is defined as the intention to permanently deprive someone of their property. Copying a film does not deprive the owner of the original – he still has it, so whatever else it may be, it’s not “theft”

  154. USArtguy:

    I just waded through all the comments on this thread that started back in 2010.

    A couple things are clear:

    1) myself included, NO ONE commenting here (thus far) is a copyright expert, lawyer, arbitrator or judge. Even those with the best arguments are guessing. And no, copying and pasting a portion of US copyright law out of context does not help your case. On the other side of the coin, neither does accusation and name-calling.

    2) Copyright law is obviously unnecessarily complicated, obtuse and obfuscating. It should be thrown out and rewritten so that it is clear to everyone. No one has trouble understanding the speed limit, they shouldn’t have to wonder if they’re breaking a law elsewhere by downloading an old movie.

    The founding fathers thought that at some point after a “limited time” had passed for the original owner to make a profit, literature (later congresses expanded it to include non-literary works) should belong to everyone. Which is why they included the copyright clause in the Constitution. Their purpose was two-fold, to protect the intellectual rights of the author (artist), but also to then benefit society at large.

    “U.S. courts have interpreted this clause of the Constitution to say that the ultimate purpose of copyrights is to encourage the production of creative works for the public benefit, and that therefore the interests of the public are primary over the interests of the author when the two conflict.” –Wikipedia.

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, known as the Copyright Clause, empowers the United States Congress:
    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    I for one believe the founding fathers NEVER intended for copyrights to go on and on and on, especially after the death of the originator. So the argument becomes what reasonably defines “limited time”.

    I would like to suggest Sean P. Aune and Tech.blorge actually invite a true copyright expert to write an article explaining, in clear language, just what the laws mean for the public and how they apply.

    Meanwhile, there’s

    Oh, and one more thing: you can copyright ’til the cows come home and unless you can afford to vigorously protect your work (meaning hire a lawyer and sue the bejeezuz out of the infringer) copyright don’t do you much good.

  155. Pkoeppen:

    I like old movies and am enjoying downloading and watching these. You should add “Topper Returns” as it is very funny and good mystery. Many other sites will tell you the movies are in the public domain but they are not. This website does not have many of the mysteries though. Another good one is “Please Murder Me” with Raymond Burr and Angela Lansbury. The film is old and some parts have lines through it but I still enjoy watching it.

  156. Dianora:

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  158. Jenn:

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  160. After Effects Effects:

    “another example of a copyright notice being left off the print”

    I had no idea that that would immediately put a film into public domain? I thought there was some sort of implied copyright on any printed (or filmed, taped, whatever) material? At least for a few years.

  161. shallwe:

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    just enjoy the list for what it is and get off your high horse.

  194. Norman Clark:

    Most creative people want a fair to good return for their work. Those employed by ad agencies for example get a salary, and that is a fair return.
    I publish books and have seen some of them pirated (mainly business courses in the Far East and by those with little money so who the hell cares?)
    I venture to suggest that pirated work is a form of advertising, and building a reputation and therefore has VALUE for the Creator. I read somewhere true or false? that for every pirated copy of a work six are legitimately sold.
    Except where works are produced under salaried conditions, corporations should NOT be able to copyright anyone’s creative work, and obviously technical production copyright is sheer nonsense. That would mean every Printer of every book, brochure, leaflet or magazine could also claim copyright of the work indirectly.
    Also the ‘Estate’ part of heritage should be allowed for an existing Spouse and children ONLY. If they make money from it then THEY should pass on any profits to next generations, and have no further rights to the Copyright.
    Corporations using a Book work as the basis for a film should pay the Creator for the rights to use it for that one film, and that’s it. If the Creator is dead and his generation of family is also dead then the work automatically should be in the Public Domain.
    Finally has anyone ever wondered about the ‘Fair Use and Criticism’ bit? Doesn’t that apply to every piece of creative work ever produced?
    Shyster Lawyers are everywhere, they shouldn’t be encouraged!

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  196. HK:

    Copyright for ever? No I say. I am a writer and love that copyright exists. But would I be blessed with children and they would beget some as well, why would they, potential good-for-nothing grand children, get the fruits of my labour? Let them produce their own creative output and work their fingers to the bone. So copyright should last as long as the creator of the work benefits from it and maybe it should be possible to extend it as the creator sees fit (if he or she has particularly worth while offspring), but that’s it. Time to move on, throw the stuff in the public domain so that others can learn from it and produce their own, possibly better stuff.

    This opinion does not however change the way the law works so it doesn’t give you any legal rights, only moral ones. Apply as you see fit.

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  198. Jerry Lee Cooper:

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  199. anonymous:

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  200. William:

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  203. Brian:

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  204. Louis Visser:

    Fight fight fight. But the people that made these films is stinking rich and has moved on. I love old flicks. I have own movies that have bought and re-bought. So I will not paid for something I have own multiple times. Take your copyrights and stick it where you won’t see it because you are making people sick. Just to stick it in your face. I will download a brand new movie and watch it and not buy and nothing will happen to me. Give it a rest. The more you protect something the more ppl will download it.full stop. Kick scream and cry. You will not stop the pirates. That goes for internet pirates and real pirates. There are still to this day.

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  209. Devil's Advocate:

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    On one hand, it’s a bit narcissistic to think that someone should not be able to benefit from the work they create. The major media companies abuse this privilege to the point of absurdity, suing old ladies and college students for insane amounts of money rather than trying to find new revenue streams, but this doesn’t mean all media ought to be free to be reasonable.

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