Night of the Living Dead and the Public Domain

I happened to notice that The Night of the Living Dead is available on iTunes for $5. This is notable because one, it’s a great flick, two, $5 is cheap, yet three, it’s actually a work in the public domain, and thus obtainable for free from the Internet Archive. Wikipedia explains:

Copyright status

Night of the Living Dead lapsed into the public domain because the original theatrical distributor, the Walter Reade Organization, neglected to place a copyright indication on the prints. In 1968, United States copyright law required a proper notice for a work to maintain a copyright. Image Ten displayed such a notice on the title frames of the film beneath the original title, Night of the Flesh Eaters. The distributor removed the statement when it changed the title. According to George Romero, Walter Reade “ripped us off”. (Wikipedia)

Still, $5 for a copy that’s pre-formatted for an iPod or AppleTV isn’t so much.