Copyright Could Be Killing Culture

"As Americans commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy today, no television channel will be broadcasting the documentary series Eyes on the Prize. Produced in the 1980s and widely considered the most important encapsulation of the American civil-rights movement on video, the documentary series can no longer be broadcast or sold anywhere.


"The makers of the series no longer have permission for the archival footage they previously used of such key events as the historic protest marches or the confrontations with Southern police. Given Eyes on the Prize’s tight budget, typical of any documentary, its filmmakers could barely afford the minimum five-year rights for use of the clips. That permission has long since expired, and the $250,000 to $500,000 needed to clear the numerous copyrights involved is proving too expensive.

"This is particularly dire now, because VHS copies of the series used in countless school curriculums are deteriorating beyond rehabilitation. With no new copies allowed to go on sale, ‘the whole thing, for all practical purposes, no longer exists,’ says Jon Else, a California-based filmmaker who helped produce and shoot the series and who also teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism of the University of California, Berkeley."

Guy Dixon. How Copyright Could be Killing Culture. The Globe & Mail. Jan. 17, 2005.

See also:
Katie Dean. Bleary Days for Eyes on the Prize. Wired News. Dec. 22, 2004.™ Covering the Intersection of Collaboration and Technology. A Seso Group™ Venture.

Written by sesomedia

01/17/2005 at 09:00

Posted in Uncategorized

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