One man's fight to save Public Domain

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael St. Clair, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. Michael St. Clair

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    This is as good of an area for this as any, I think. Public domain has a HUGE impact on home video releases.
    This article requires free registration, but I think it should be required reading for everyone...
    http://www.latimes.com/business/cust...22001450.story
    My personal belief is that public domain actually saves art from being lost, and that has been my position since the late 80s when I saw companies like Sinister Cinema saving movies (at least in video format) that the studios had abandoned for decades.
    Here are some interesting fair-use quotes from the VERY large Times article:
     
  2. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    I definitly wish Laurence Lessig luck in his crusade, tho I'm not terribly optimistic on his chances. Copyright law, as it stands right now, doesn't encourage new work, only to be able to sponge off of past greatness. Also, as you say, there are many works out there that will just rot away because they are still under copyright under unknown owners.

    Jason
     
  3. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    I don't agree with this. The tremendous rights granted to creators/owners of intellectual property do, indeed, encourage new work (IMO).

    What's a "fair" term for copyright? One year? Five years? Ten years? Twenty-five years? I would be extremely reluctant to create new works knowing that they are only going to be protected for a short amount of time. What, under these terms, prevents users of music/film/art, etc. from just waiting until this relatively short term has expired and then using the content without cost? Why use a newly created work and pay for it when there is tons of work that is available for free that is only a few years old.

    I, for one, would not want to see my work sit in obscurity during my lifetime only to go PD and then watch as it gets duplicated, used (and/or abused) without any control nor compensation.

    Just my opinion,

    JKS
     
  4. Michael St. Clair

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  5. James E

    James E Stunt Coordinator

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    How about five years after the death* of the creator?:b

    james

    *edit
     
  6. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    "How about" 70 years after the death of the creator? That's the current law for work created after 1978. (Before '78 it's a flat 95 years for works that are not already PD.)
    "How about" a little respect for the families/heirs of the creator? [​IMG]
    "How about" zero protection from Copyright, period?? Would that solve the problem. [​IMG]
    JKS
     
  7. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  8. Michael St. Clair

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    Under the 1909 copyright act, a film was copyrighted for 28 years. Then, if the rightsholder still cared for what they had, they could go renew it for another 28 years...for 56 years total.
    Both 'Star Wars' and 'IAMMMMW' would still be under copyright and then some.
    I didn't know there was such opposition to the very concept of public domain in this forum. I wasn't trying to provoke anybody. [​IMG]
    Oh, and don't go thinking Congress cares about artists. They care about studios and record labels with their deep pockets. Congress has worked to ensure that after 35 years, music does not revert to the recording artist, but stays with the record label.
     
  9. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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  10. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  11. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  12. Michael St. Clair

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  13. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Amazing how many people jump on those who want to challenge the status quo of copyright. Everyone wants to think we want things to go the other way and limit their rights severely. Far from the truth. More like things have gotten out of hand, with life + 70 years a ridiculous length of time, and Disney getting their bought bill through congress so that they can keep a tight reign on the mouse. You don't think Disney isn't going to try that again? Funny, they built their empire on works that were in the public domain....

    As for the restoration of films, yeah, there is no guarantee, but at least someone who has an interest could do something about it. Personally, I think it would more benefit smaller films, which big studios don't have that much interest in. Non-profits could take them on and keep some of these preserved.

    As for IAMMMMW, Robert Harris wouldn't have to beg and plead with MGM for money. He could go far wider for the donations. The money could be made back with screenings across the nation, then with a DVD release. Since he would have the best print, there wouldn't be any competition until he put it on DVD. Course, if it is a good value already, there wouldn't be much room for competition.

    It is a hypothetical situation anyways, since I'm not sure if it would be eligible for PD status even under more strict rules. But that's how it could work.

    Jason
     
  14. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  15. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  16. Michael St. Clair

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    Good lord, we have too many insomniacs tonight. I have to go to bed.
    Damin, not everything I say is in response to you, but instead to various assertions within the thread. And I'm not quoting every single one every time. [​IMG]
     
  17. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  18. Barb Jarvis

    Barb Jarvis Auditioning

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    Metropolis is in the public domain and that hasn't stopped anyone from trying to restore this movie. It also isn't going to stop Kino from issuing a DVD of this restoration, even though there are several Metropolis DVDs on market. Same for Birth Of A Nation, Lost World, Nosferatu, Phantom Of The Opera, etc...

    Serial Squadron restores public domain serials with purchases of DVD/DVD-R copies of the finished work. They get a 100 pledges at $30 and they restore a serial and issue it on DVD. Less than 100 only a DVD-R issue.

    If "Mad World" was Public domain, I'd give Robert Harris $$$ towards restoration. I'm sure lots of other fans would as well. But why should I shell out $$$ to restore MGM's property? They can afford it if they want to spend their resources on their back catalog instead of overly inflated actor's salaries. Their priorities are screwed and film fans suffer for it. Too bad copyright law was extended from it's 56 years. "Mad" will probably be dust before anyone who cares can touch it.
     
  19. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    If you truly care about preserving the film, does it matter that MGM owns it? If the true goal is the preservation of the film itself, the fact that it happens to be under copyrght seems like a rather poor reason to not contribute funds.
    DJ
     
  20. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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