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Court Ruling Puts Oz Films in Jeopardy

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a lawsuit between Warner Bros. and AVELA that could put a chill on the many planned OZ adaptations, writes The Hollywood Reporter.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a lawsuit between Warner Bros. and AVELA that could put a chill on the many planned OZ adaptations, writes The Hollywood Reporter.

The court upheld a lower court ruling that gave AVELA the right to use publicity material that did not contain a copyright for products such as posters and t-shirts. The films include THE WIZARD OF OZ, GONE WITH THE WIND and TOM & JERRY shorts.

But the court did uphold that a studio could hold a copyright on a particular depiction of a public domain character. This puts the burden on any company trying to adapt a public domain work like WIZARD OF OZ to not copy the style of a pervious version of the work, such as the iconic look of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion from the 1939 MGM classic.

How this ruling could affect the many OZ remakes is yet to be seen. The first one to arrive looks to be Disney's prequel OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, directed by Sam Raimi.

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