Peter Pan, beloved by generations of children, is the little boy who never grew up. Remarkably, his copyright never grew up either: it remains in many countries as young and fresh as the copyright which vests in the works of contemporary authors -- and will probably outlive them.

J M Barrie’s gift of all the rights to the story “Peter Pan” has provided a vital source of income to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) ever since the right to the work was assigned to the hospital in 1929. Although the UK copyright expired in 1987, 50 years after Barrie’s death, former Prime Minister Lord Callaghan successfully proposed an amendment to the law which gave GOSH the perpetual right to receive royalties from Peter Pan (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, s.301).

In 1996, after the term of copyright protection was extended from 50 to 70 years throughout the European Union, Peter Pan was enabled to enjoy revived copyright in Europe until 2007. A similar Copyright Extension Act was passed in the USA with effect from October 1998, granting copyright there until 2023. This means that, whenever a performance of Peter Pan is staged, a film made or a book published, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity can charge a royalty fee. In countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan the copyright term has not been extended and Peter Pan’s copyright there has not merely grown up but died.

Peter Pan is also registered as a trade mark. His commercial activities -- unrelated to the play for which he is famed – include transportation, entertainment and seafoods.
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THE IPKat’s KOOL KAT OF THE MONTH: AUGUST 2003: PETER PAN <strong>THE IPKat’s KOOL KAT OF THE MONTH: AUGUST 2003: PETER PAN</strong> Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, August 15, 2003 Rating: 5

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