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Republic sends out ‘Life’ alert

Republic Pictures Corp. has begun mailing letters to broadcasters, cable channels and video dealers cautioning them to stop showing, renting or selling “It’s a Wonderful Life” without paying royalties.

Republic’s predecessor, NTA, had let the film’s copyright lapse, but the company announced June 14 that it had regained control of the holiday favorite via ownership of the rights to the short story by Philip Van Doren Stern and rights to the music used in the film (Daily Variety, June 15).

Republic also owns the original negative.

One of Republic’s letters went to Fort Lauderdale-based Blockbuster Entertainment Corp. — the video rental giant that is a part owner of Republic.

Blockbuster introduced a cut-rate version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” under the Blockbuster Classics label last fall, and would not say if it has removed the remaining copies of its version from stores.

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