Buck Rogers and The Public Domain: Rival Projects Moving Forward From Legendary and Skydance


Last week it was announced that George Clooney and Legendary Pictures are currently working on several Buck Rogers projects that include a film, a television series, and an animated release. People seemed very excited that the classic science fiction adventure character was once again going to make an appearance. He's basically been missing from the live action realm since the show that ran from 1979-1981. 

Now it's been revealed that Buck is being advanced forward by competing production houses. That's right. Today is was announced that Skydance Pictures is also moving forward with another Buck Rogers film project that will be working with the creator Philip Francis Nowlan's estate to transition his character to another release. There will undoubtedly be some legal work that will need to be done to keep both camps happy. Unfortunately enough, considering the age of the intellectual property, Buck Rogers is now in public domain which means rival studios can for all purposes do their own thing with the character. 

The copyright for the original story Armageddon 2419 was never renewed and didn't specifically use the name Buck Rogers. In the story they used the name Anthony Rogers which will also create loopholes for both to move forward at separate studios. 

This has happened in the past. Characters such as Snow White and Sherlock Holmes have both been made into competing films or television shows due to public domain.