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Suit Claims 'Peter Pan' Is in Public Domain

January 02, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

Peter Pan, Wendy and Captain Hook are making the long journey back from Neverland to a federal court in California in a dispute over who owns the rights to the characters.

Canadian author Emily Somma has sued a hospital in England, claming that the characters in "Peter Pan" are in public domain and no longer protected by copyright. Somma has published a book "After the Rain: A New Adventure for Peter Pan."

But the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London holds the copyright to Peter Pan and has warned Somma to cease publication of the book. The hospital has vowed to defend the copyright to ensure it continues to receive royalties it needs to treat sick children.

The copyright to "Peter Pan" was awarded to the hospital by the book's creator, Sir James M. Barrie, in 1929. Somma's lawyer said her client offered to pay royalties but was rebuffed.

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