All the answers to your frequently asked questions about Peter Pan and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Copyright and income
- Does Great Ormond Street Hospital have the copyright in Peter Pan in perpetuity?
- How valuable has Barrie's gift of copyright been to the hospital?
- Does the Peter Pan income run into millions?
- What do I need to do if I want to put up a production of Peter Pan?
- What do I need to do if I want to put up a school production of Peter Pan?
- Would I be allowed to write my own adaptation of Peter Pan, as a panto/musical/puppet show/ballet etc?
- What was the deal with Disney?
- Does the hospital or charity receive income from sales of Disney's Peter Pan DVDs and merchandise such as toys, games, etc?
- Are the Disney Tinker Bell films also under licence from Great Ormond Street Hospital, and do you receive income from Tinker Bell merchandise and DVDs derived from these films?
- What about the other films made about Peter Pan?
- What about Finding Neverland, with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet?
- Where can I buy a copy of Peter Pan in Scarlet?
- What about other books written about Peter Pan, such as Peter and the Starcatchers?
- Can anyone now write a sequel, prequel or other spin-off using the characters from the original story of Peter Pan
- Will GOSH benefit from the new Warner Bros. Pan movie?
No, the hospital has a right to royalty in perpetuity in the UK, but this is not a true copyright. This right was granted to the hospital by the Copyright Designs & Patents Act (1988) (CDPA) and applies to stage productions, broadcasting and publication of the whole or any substantial part of the work or an adaptation of it in the UK. This right does not apply to derivative works such as sequels, prequels, spin-offs or to extracts.
The play Peter Pan is in copyright in the US until 2023, and in Spain until 2017. This applies to stage adaptations of the story.
The copyright has expired everywhere else so, apart from the play in the US and Spain, it is considered in the public domain.
Over the years, it's been enormously valuable – not only in financial terms but also as a symbol and icon – and has brought a fair amount of income to the hospital. Because Barrie asked the hospital never to reveal the actual income received, we have always respected his wishes.
Public speculation has been wildly exaggerated and the Peter Pan income is certainly a long way off being our main source of charitable income.
For professional and amateur rights in the UK, USA and Spain, you need to obtain a licence from our theatre agents, Samuel French (UK and USA) and SGAE (Spain). You can find their contact details on our theatre agents list.
For school productions in the UK, please see the answer below.
Peter Pan is in the public domain everywhere else so permission is not required outside the UK, USA, and Spain.
We offer different options for schools in the UK:
- If the production is not for profit, no permission is required.
- If tickets are sold in the school, you can obtain a licence from GOSHCC: contact email@example.com
- We waive licensing fees if the school organises fundraising activities for the benefit of the charity(see restrictions below). There is no minimum amount to be raised and we supply a pantomime version specially adapted for children. All you need do is register with our Community Events team. Visit their webpage for more details.
Note: We regret we cannot waive fees when third parties' adaptations or versions are used (eg Piers Chater Robinson's musical, Stiles & Drewe musical, Trevor Nunn's adaptation or David Barrett's version) as they are subject to other licences.
For school productions in the USA, please contact our agents Samuel French Inc.
Would I be allowed to write my own adaptation of Peter Pan as a panto, musical, puppet show, ballet etc?
Yes, but before putting it on stage (whether professional or amateur) you will need to acquire a licence first – either through our agents (see above) if you are a professional or amateur company, or the Peter Pan team at the charity (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are a school. This applies to the UK only. For Spain and the US, please contact our agents.
Walt Disney Corporation were licensed exclusive animation rights by Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1939 and the animated film came out in 1953. Their own sequel, Return to Neverland, came out in 2002, also under licence from Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.
Does the hospital or charity receive income from sales of Disney's Peter Pan DVDs and merchandise such as toys, games, etc?
No, the original contract (as was standard at the time) did not include these since they did not exist in 1939 so the hospital or charity did not receive any income from DVDs or toys or any other merchandise.
However, over the years, Disney have been very supportive of the work of the hospital. Since 2008, when Disney partnered with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, they have raised more than £10 million towards the hospital's vital redevelopment programme and continue to support the hospital and charity with fundraising events and donations.
Are the Disney's Tinker Bell films also under licence from Great Ormond Street Hospital and do you receive income from Tinker Bell merchandise and DVDs derived from these films?
No, because the films are spin-offs from the original story and came out when Peter Pan went out of copyright in Europe.We therefore do not receive any income from DVDs or toys derived from the Tinker Bell films or merchandise.
Apart from the Disney animated movies, there have been other films made, starting with a silent movie by Paramount in 1924 (under licence from JM Barrie himself) and more recently Columbia Pictures (part of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Group) made the Peter Pan 2003 movie (with Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan and Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook). This was licensed by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSHCC) who benefited directly from proceeds.
Previously, Spielberg directed a sequel, Hook, with Robin Williams as an adult Peter Pan returning to Neverland to fight Dustin Hoffman's Captain Hook. This was also licensed by GOSHCC.
That was a fictionalised version of Barrie's life, not the story of Peter Pan, so no licence from Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity was required. However, a fee was paid for permission to use scenes from the play Peter Pan within the film story.
Because the hospital, as copyright owners, commissioned it themselves through a competition. While the original Peter Pan was still in copyright, no-one else would have had the right to write or publish a sequel on a worldwide basis.
What about other books written about Peter Pan, such as Peter and the Starcatchers?
That book, together with the titles that followed in the series, originated in the USA and are 'prequels'. We received royalties for these titles from European publishers when Peter Pan was still in copyright but not any more, since the copyright has expired and any remaining rights do not apply to sequels or prequels.
Can anyone now write a sequel, prequel or other spin-off using the characters from the original story of Peter Pan?
Yes, because in the UK the terms of the CDPA (see above) do not apply to derivative works. In the US where the play is still in copyright (extended to stage versions such as the American Musical adaptation), incidental use of character names in other works usually doesn't require special permission as it would be considered "fair use" but if in doubt, check with the Peter Pan team at email@example.com.
Because the copyright of Peter Pan has expired and Pan is a re-imagined prequel which does not require a licence, there was no requirement or legal obligation for Warner Bros. to obtain a licence or pay a royalty to Great Ormond Street Hospital. However, in recognition of the very special relationship between the hospital and Peter Pan, Warner chose to make a significant donation to the hospital’s charity before filming started and are continuing to support the work of the charity with fundraising opportunities.