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Q: Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds in public domain? Who owns it? ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds in public domain? Who owns it?
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Performing Arts
Asked by: greatmc-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 23 Oct 2003 17:30 PDT
Expires: 22 Nov 2003 16:30 PST
Question ID: 269225

As a high school teacher, I would like to do an adaptation of The War
of the Worlds with my students as an educational endeavor.  Not only
would I like to use elements of the original book by H.G. Welles, but
I would like to use elements of the transcript from the Orson Welles
1930’s radio broadcast in my adaptation.

I am wondering as to the copyright status of the Orson Welles Mercury
Theatre On the Air radio broadcast of War of the Worlds.  Is it in
public domain?  Depending on the source you consult, it is some
individual’s opinions that every OTR (Old Time Radio) Broadcast is
currently in public domain.  Old Jack Benny and Burns and Allen
broadcasts are freely traded on the internet and even sold on some
websites.  I even purchased a recording of War of the Worlds from, a site which collects and sells radio programs
considered in ‘public domain’.

I am wondering if you have any clues as to the rights for War of the
Worlds.  Can I legally adapt it for a high school production?  If not,
who owns the rights?  How do you find out who owns them?

Thanks for your time.  If you could offer any clues, I would
appreciate it.

-Matthew Chamberlin
Garfield Heights High School Teacher
Subject: Re: Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds in public domain? Who owns it?
Answered By: hlabadie-ga on 23 Oct 2003 18:37 PDT
The radio play was written by Howard Koch. The rights are owned by his
estate, administered for his widow by the firm of Slaff, Mosk &
Rudman, attorneys-at-law.

Wars of the Worlds

"About every two months I get the question "How can I get rights to
perform the radio version of the War of the Worlds?" Rights are owned
by the widow of author Howard Koch, and they are administered by
Norman Rudman, in California. You can contact him at"

War of the Worlds

"Produced by special arrangement with Slaff, Mosk and Rudman"

Music Yellow Pages Entertainment Lawyers

Slaff, Mosk & Rudman
9200 Sunset Blvd., Suite 825
Los Angeles   CA 90069
Phone: 310-275-5351



Subject: Re: Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds in public domain? Who owns it?
From: hummer-ga on 24 Oct 2003 07:51 PDT
Hi greatmc,

Just a note to add to hlabadie-ga's fine answer - 

For non-profit educational purposes, you may be able to secure
permission for copyrighted material through a clearance center.

Stanford University Libraries: Chapter 7:
"Academic and Educational Permissions":

"Fair Use": Copyright Clearance Center:


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