Europe’s economy is becoming ever more reliant on intellectual property. During the past years, the EUIPO, acting through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, has carried out a number of studies demonstrating the economic importance of IP rights in generating economic activity and employment in the European Union.
New digital technologies and business models not only create new economic opportunities for firms but also possibilities to enhance the general public benefits associated with better access to knowledge and cultural goods. Many of these opportunities rely on the creative transformation of existing content and devising ways of delivery that are better suited to contemporary audiences.
Europe has a rich cultural heritage, not least in literary works. These works, while enjoyed by readers in their own right, also serve as the basis for many film screenplays, for both European and non-European producers. This report examines the role played by works in the public domain and compares films based on such works with those based on works protected by copyright or on original screenplays.
The study combines data from rich online repositories of film and book related information, complemented with information collected by the European Audiovisual Observatory. Close to 90 000 films released between 2000 and 2010 form the basis for the analysis. This analysis shows that while only a small proportion of films released in the European Union are based on literary works in the public domain, among the most popular films that proportion is higher than for films overall.
Thus, the literature that forms an important part of Europe’s culture and history also plays an important part in serving as a source of material for modern entertainment, enjoyed by millions of viewers in Europe and beyond.
Download the report: Derivative use of public domain content — Film industry focus