UK rights on War of the Worlds

I read yesterday that Spielberg didn’t have to pay for the rights to make his War of the Worlds movie because Wells’ book is in public domain. But only under US copyright law. Under UK (and European) copyright law the Wells estate still holds the copyright. So how will this affect the release of the movie? Can Spielberg show the movie in the UK and Europe without paying for the rights? Will he have to pay for the rights in those countries?

It’s already been released in the UK (that’s Cruise got squirted). I have no idea about whether the studio had to pay for any rights.

Spielberg’s company Amblin Entertainment is only one of four production companies credited for War of the Worlds. Undoubtedly they paid the Wells estate for the rights to use the novel. Otherwise they would be unable to release it on the UK and Europe.