Why Not Public Domain Film Posters?

This week’s Adventures In Design podcast had many-a-spirited discussion, including a great debate on using copyrighted properties in film posters without the owner’s permission. I won’t get into the details here, but they essentially were calling out designers who profit from this practice and why it’s a really terrible idea for any designer to blatantly use copyrighted material without permission.

A fantastic idea for young designers that Billy Mitch Putnam of Mondo brought up in a past episode of  Adventures In Design is to create film posters for public domain films. What is public domain you might ask? Basically it is any creative work whose  intellectual property rights have “expired, been forfeited, or are inapplicable.” [Wikipedia: Public Domain ] There’s quite a few rules and gray areas even within this license to watch out for, but for the sake of making sure you don’t get your ass sued it’s pretty safe to say that if a film is deemed in the public domain of your region, then your’re cool. More on U.S. public domain films here and here.

So where do you find public domain films? There’s tons of great resources online and a lot of these films are even available to watch in their entirety on YouTube. Here’s a list of some resources you should checkout if you’re interested in using public domain films as your next poster inspiration:

So get out there and start making some awesome public domain film posters! Frankly I would much rather buy a poster inspired by something like the amazing cult horror film Carnival Of Souls than Batman any day.