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Copyright law: Paramount Studios threaten legal action over movie sequel

The film studio Paramount has threatened legal action against Hummingbird Productions over their proposed sequel to the 1946 film 'It's a Wonderful Life', reports the BBC.

The forthcoming film was recently announced by Hummingbird Productions, and will star Karolyn Grimes, who remarkably starred in the original film 67 years ago.

The film is a Christmas classic, telling the story of a down-and-out businessman, George Bailey, who is visited by an angel on Christmas Eve, who shows him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

The Hummingbird Productions sequel will be based on the grandson of the original lead character, and will star Karolyn Grimes from the original picture in the role of the angel.

The production company making the new version believes that the rights to the story of It's a Wonderful Life are now in the public domain after so many years, but Paramount Pictures claim that no such film can be made without their permission.

The copyright to the film did lapse in 1970s, which led to it being repeatedly played for free by broadcasters in the US during their Christmas schedules.

However, Paramount is understood to have acquired the rights to the film when it bought Spelling Entertainment in 1999.

"No project relating to 'It's A Wonderful Life' can proceed without a license from Paramount," Paramount Studio said in a statement.

"To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights," it continued.

The family of the original director are not supportive of any remake, saying it was ludicrous to tamper with such a classic film.