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Public Domain Question

Robert asks…

What are some good public domain movies?

Please tell me of some good public domain movies, or the best ones you know of. also what are some good sites to browse good public domain movies? You only have to give an answer ti one of my questions, I’ll still give you points.

scottparat answers:

My favorites are:
The original version of A Star Is Born (1937)
And Then There Were None (1945)
Nothing Sacred (1937)–can be offensive, but that’s the point
D.O.A. (1950)
Freaks (1932)

Other famous films in pd:
The 39 Steps (1935)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
The Little Princess (1939)
M (1931)
Metropolis (1926)
Nosferatu (1922)
His Girl Friday (1941)
Meet John Doe (1941)
Algiers (1938)
Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
The Front Page (1931)
A Farewell to Arms (1932)
The General (1927)
Greed (1924)
The Gold Rush (1925)
Battleship Potemkin

Here’s a list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_in_the_public_domain_in_the_United_States

Betty asks…

Can copyright on a component of a public domain work restrict its distribution?

During World War II, the US military produced a documentary. They used film footage from various sources and at one point, a song from a movie. The documentary itself is in the public domain, being a government publication. But can the copyright holders to the song or the film clips (individually, small components of the whole film) restrict distribution of the documentary as a whole, e.g. by asking for royalties?

Specifically, my issue is that Youtube’s filter keeps automatically flagging public domain videos I’ve uploaded because they contain these copyrighted segments. I’d like to be able to reply to these claims with a nice boilerplate response.
So any of the components’ copyright holders could require royalties for distribution of the documentary as a whole?

scottparat answers:

Being produced by the military does NOT make it public domain.

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