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At the very end of the closing credits of Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015):

For the purpose of United Kingdom copyright, Lucasfilm Ltd was the owner of copyright in this film immediately after it was made.

Why was only one country referred to in the closing credits?

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    Shot in the dark: The UK has special copyright laws that required this statement.
    – Skooba
    Jun 2 at 15:31
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It may have to do with tax credits while the film was being made, followed by Lucasfilm indicating that it's under United States copyright law.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (where Vaizey is minister of state, with responsibility for culture, communications and creative industries), is ultimately responsible for certifying The Force Awakens as a British film, and therefore gives it access to tax relief. For all its Hollywood pedigree, The Force Awakens must be certified as a British film for tax purposes, and like other Hollywood blockbusters – including The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Gravity and World War Z – will take full advantage if, as appears highly likely, it is successful.

All films receiving tax relief must pass the “cultural” test administered by the British Film Institute, which operates a points system, taking into account such factors as the proportion of the film set in the UK or Europe, the nationality of the lead actors and crew, and how much of the film’s dialogue is in English. However, thanks to its production base at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, a significant amount of UK crew, and its two British lead actors in Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, it is expected to easily pass the test.

So, basically, it was a UK film for the purpose of tax credits, but for the purpose of copyright, that's in the United States, with its different laws.

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  • The original Star Wars films also benefited from tax breaks due to their Britishness, hence why the principals are all yanks, but the older characters (Tarkin, Vader, Obi-Wan) were all portrayed by significant British actors.
    – Valorum
    Jun 2 at 16:21
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According to the Wikipedia article on UK copyright law, the UK copyright for a film is assumed to rest with the producer and principal director. I haven't done an exhaustive reading of comparative laws elsewhere, though I did check the counterpart US and Australia articles to see what they say and neither of those have this provision (that I can find).

UK law also has a provision that if you create something as part of your employment, the copyright belongs to the employer, not the employee, so I wouldn't have thought this needed explicitly stating. Unless it's something along the lines of J J Abrams being hired through Bad Robot Productions and not directly by Lucasfilm, in which case I think (IANAL but I think a good lawyer could probably try and make a case for this) the copyright would belong to Bad Robot and not LFL. (Although I'm equally sure there's a formal document somewhere at Skywalker Ranch where Abrams explicitly assigns the copyright to LFL.)

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  • Copyright Law in the UK (and indeed most of the rest of the world since the Berne Convention) doesn’t actually require explicit copyright statements, © symbols or anything for copyright to be asserted. Lawyers just love slapping it on partly because it was required in the past in the US, and so you can’t say you weren’t warned.
    – Graham Lee
    Jun 3 at 6:42

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