When Barrie gave the rights in Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in 1928, he wasn’t just giving the play, but the whole concept of Peter Pan, known in legal terms as 'The Peter Pan Gift', which embraces all of Barrie’s writings in which Peter Pan puts in an appearance - e.g. Tommy & Grizel, The Boy Castaways, The Little White Bird, Anon: A Play, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, Peter & Wendy, etc. When The Lost Boys was made in 1978, GOSH generously accepted a token payment from the BBC since the budget was very tight. My own budget for the book was even tighter as it came out of my own somewhat threadbare pocket, and in the circumstances GOSH kindly allowed me to quote freely without making any charge at all. It therefore seems only fair that they should now own the book itself, and since this website is an extension of that book, they necessarily own the copyright in the material on this website.
The late Joan Ling used to run the Barrie Estate, on behalf of Barrie’s literary heirs, to works other than those embraced by the Peter Pan Gift. She - and the Asquith family - generously allowed me to quote from Barrie’s other works (including letters and notebooks) without restriction. Joan died many years ago, and the Estate was officially wound up in 1987 when Barrie’s works went out of copyright, as per the Berne Convention’s 50-years-from-author’s-death ruling (Barrie having died in 1937). But when the Convention’s ruling was extended to 70 years, Barrie (and a great many other authors/artists/composers) suddenly found their posthumous shelf-lives extended by another 20 years - in Barrie’s case, until 2007.
Copyright in the USA is governed by the Universal Copyright Convention, by which a publication enters the public domain 25 years after the author’s death – in Barrie’s case, 1962. However, it was agreed in 1971 that the Berne Convention should take priority over the UCC in countries signatory to both conventions, and therefore Barrie’s extended copyright was guaranteed until 2007 in the USA as well. In the UK, the situation is a little more complex with regard to the Peter Pan Gift in that the House Lords passed a special resolution in 1988 via the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act, effectively granting the Great Ormond Street Hospital a perpetual extension to its right to royalties in the UK “in respect of the public performance, commercial publication or any other use of Peter Pan.”
Copyright in works by authors other than Barrie cited in my book and on this website naturally remain the property of the original authors/publishers or their estates. Written permissions were obtained in 1978 for all such works cited, and I trust that no objections will be made to publishing them on this website. The principle copyright holder to the Llewelyn Davies material - in particular, Peter’s 'Morgue' - now belongs to Nico’s daughter, Laura Duguid (Peter’s three excellent sons having all died childless in the interim). She has kindly given permission to reproduce not only the Morgue, but her father’s letters to myself and Sharon Goode, as well as the conversations I recorded with him in the 1970s. Denis Mackail’s grandson Charles Yorke has kindly granted permission to quote from The Story of JMB (1941), as has Roger Lancelyn Greene’s son Richard with respect to Fifty Years of Peter Pan (1955).
A full list of acknowledgements and sources appears at the end of my published book, and if anyone has been overlooked, I offer my apologies in advance and would ask them to contact me as soon as possible, either by email (email@example.com) or writing to me at:
- Laurentic Wave Machine
- Cwmistir Isaf
- LL53 8YT
Any profits derived from this website will be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity. Should anyone wish to make use of material on this site for commercial purposes, they should contact the charity direct, either via their website (www.gosh.org/peterpan/) or writing to them at:
- Peter Pan Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity
- 40 Bernard Street
- WC1N 1LE
Tel. 020 7239 3047
Enquiries with respect to performance rights in Barrie’s dramatic works should be addressed to Samuel French Ltd (firstname.lastname@example.org) or writing to them at:
- Samuel French Ltd
- 52 Fitzroy Street
- W1T 5JR
Finally, I must again make it clear that neither the Great Ormond Street Hospital, nor Universal Pictures, nor any other individual(s)/corporation(s) are responsible for the contents of this site, which remains my responsibility, and mine alone.
Andrew Birkin, 2020