Q. Does great Ormond Street Hospital have the copyright in Peter Pan in perpetuity?
A. 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) 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.
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.
Peter Pan is in copyright in Mexico until 2037.
It is in the public domain in other parts of the world.
Q. How valuable has Barrie's gift of copyright been to the hospital?
A. 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.
Q. Does the Peter Pan income run into millions?
A. Public speculation has been wildly exaggerated and the Peter Pan income is certainly a long way off being our main source of charitable income.
Q. What do I need to do if I want to put up a production of Peter Pan?
A. 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, Mexico and Spain.
Q. What do I need to do if I want to put up a school production of Peter Pan (UK only)?
A. We offer two options for schools in the UK:
Note: We regret we cannot waive fees when third parties' adaptations or versions are used (eg Piers Chater Robinson's 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.
Q. Would I be allowed to write my own adaptation of Peter Pan as a panto, musical, puppet show, ballet etc?
A. 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.
Q. What was the deal with Disney?
A. 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.
Q. Does the hospital or charity receive income from sales of Disney's Peter Pan DVDs and merchandise such as toys, games, etc?
A. No, the original contract did not include these since they did not exist in 1939 so the hospital or charity did not (and does not) receive any income from DVDs or toys or any other merchandise.
Q. 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?
A. 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.
Q. What about the other films made about Peter Pan?
A. Apart from the Disney animated movie, 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 2003 movie (with Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan and Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook).
Previously, Spielberg directed a sequel, Hook, with Robin Williams as an adult Peter Pan returning to Neverland to fight Dustin Hoffman's Captain Hook.
Both Hook and Columbia's Peter Pan were licensed by Great Ormond Street Children's Charity.
Q. What about Finding Neverland, with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet?
A. 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. A fee was paid for permission to use scenes from the play Peter Pan within the film story.
Q. Why is Geraldine McCaughrean's Peter Pan in Scarlet the 'official' sequel?
A. 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.
Q. Where can I buy a copy of Peter Pan in Scarlet?
A. It is available through our online catalogue http://shop.gosh.org , the hospital shop, the publishers' website www.oup.com, all good book shops and www.amazon.co.uk.
Q. What about other books written about Peter Pan, such as Peter and the Starcatchers?
A. That book, together with the titles that followed in the series, originated in the USA and are 'prequels', ie the action is set before that of Barrie's story. We received royalties for these titles from European publishers when Peter Pan was still in copyright but not since 2008, when Peter Pan entered the public domain in Europe.
Q. Can anyone now write a sequel, prequel or other spin-off using the characters from the original story of Peter Pan?
A. Yes, in the countries where Peter Pan's copyright has expired. Incidental use of character names 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.