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To confirm, do you intend to alter the original soundtrack and use this in your film?
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Many thanks for your patience. The key is what you believe to be the meaning of ‘in the public domain’. I hope by that you mean that it no longer has any copyright attached to it. That is the only way you can re-release it without seeking any sort of permission from its copyright owners. As far as film productions are concerned, the Berne Convention states that copyright expires 50 years from the making of the work, or if it was made available to the public within those initial 50 years – for 50 years from the date it was first made available to the public (e.g. it was released in cinemas). So in effect you are looking at when the film was initially released to the public and count 50 years from then to calculate when copyright would have expired. Assuming copyright has expired and the work is not in the public domain then you are able to re-release it with a new soundtrack, subject to having no copyright issues with the music as well as that would have its own separate copyrights.
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The Berne Convention provides a benchmark for copyright duration and individual countries are able to have different laws as long as they are at least as the duration given by the Convention. So yes, in the UK there are separate laws which create a longer copyright for films, that being 70 years as you mentioned but that only applies to the UK. France may have its own separate laws that create different duration so as I cannot cover all possible laws for every country where the film may be released, I can only give you the minimum terms as required by law and if you wish to release in specific countries you need to satisfy yourself as to the more specific laws that may apply there. Hope this clarifies?