“It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of the great holiday classics. Directed by Frank Capras, it’s the timeless tale of a man named George Bailey, played by James Stewart, who hits rock bottom on Christmas Eve and is granted, by his guardian angel, a chance to see what life for his friends and family would be like if he had never been born.
At the end of the film, Bailey chooses to live again and races home to a happy ending that is one of the best-known scenes in all of film history. It’s a film and a message that many, myself included, grew up with and something that was a near-constant presence during the holiday season.
However, many have noted that the once-constant playing of the film has slowed to a trickle. Where it once seemed to be on a constant loop during December, it’s now only shown a few times per year.
That’s because the copyright in the film has a story very much akin to George Bailey’s, one of birth, death, finding success and then being allowed to live again. It’s one of the most bizarre tails in copyright history and one that has changed the way families all over the world celebrate the holidays.Continue Reading