Is Putting Every Frame Of A Movie Into A Photo Copyright Infringement? Should It Be?

from the questions,-questions,-questions dept

There's been a bit of buzz going around the blog/social media world over someone who made a photograph that shows a snapshot from every second of the movie The Big Lebowski (most of the posts about it erroneously claim that it's every frame of the movie, but a quick scan through the images shows that it's more like one frame every second -- i.e., approximately 1 frame out of every 30). What's interesting to me, though, is that the photo is listed under a Creative Commons license -- and I'm wondering if Universal Studios (NBC Universal) knows about this, and if it would freak out. It's difficult to see how this photo could possibly hurt the commercial viability of The Big Lebowski. It's quite clear that, if anything, it's a celebration of the movie.

And that's one of the key points of conflict that people run into with copyright these days. So many efforts by fans to celebrate, promote or otherwise share some aspect of a movie is often viewed as copyright infringement by the copyright holders. Hopefully, Universal chooses to overlook this creative endeavor -- or, even better, help promote it. But, given the way NBC Universal has reacted in the past, somehow that seems unlikely.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2008 @ 6:21pm

    If it showed every second of a movie, it would capture 1 out of every 24 frames, not 30. Motion pictures are shot and projected at 24 frames per second (in North America). When movies are transferred to DVD, they do some video voodoo (repeating certain fields) to stretch it into the 29.97 frames per second that our TVs understand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2008 @ 6:24pm

    It's one in 24 frames, not one in thirty...

    Most movies are shot in 24fps film not 30fps video, so each frame in the picture would in actuality be 1/24th of each second. A special scanning procedure is used to transfer film to video for home video releases.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward #2, Jul 14th, 2008 @ 6:32pm

    I must be slow...

    AC #1 beat me to it regarding the 24fps/30ps thing. Video is in fact 60 fields per second (actually 59.94 a second); to make 24 film frames to fit 30 video frames, three video fields are scanned for the first film frame, then two fields for the next frame, then three, then two...and so on. Under normal video playback the effect is hard to notice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Jake, Jul 14th, 2008 @ 6:40pm

    Leaving aside the question of why anybody would invest so much time and effort into such an endeavour, one thirtieth -or one twenty-fourth if the artist got hold of an original print- is well below the maximum stipulated by fair use rules, so he's probably got a case.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    bobbknight, Jul 14th, 2008 @ 6:57pm

    Ummm

    The photo is w=one of those things that someone with to much time and to little sense "creates".
    I think it would have been much more interesting if the frames from the movie actually depicted a frame from a scene in the movie. Or the movie poster it's self. They have software that does that, and it would have been much more creative.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, Jul 14th, 2008 @ 7:02pm

    It's fair use

    Only 4% or so of the work, noncommercial use, and noncompeting use -- that's three of the four fair use factors...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Heavens, Jul 14th, 2008 @ 9:07pm

    AC 1 2 and 3

    You win todays lame award. You'll have to share it being as you are all equal in your ability to stack facts no one cares about. The post does not say what medium is used for the 30 fps measurement so why go off. Get this, just like your days back in stage crew and the AV club...no one cares and you missed the point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    David McMillan, Jul 15th, 2008 @ 12:51am

    Anonymous Coward #2

    you know I've been working in with a lot digital video, cleaning up, up sampling, de-interlacing ect... put I think you just made me understand what a 3:2 pulldown filler does. I'm socked that some how I missed this information for so long. And it's so simple.

    I'm a video geek that use to render my 3d work at 60field a second to get smoother motion. And even use interlacing to get more colors out of my old computers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 15th, 2008 @ 1:11am

    It depends, really. I would argue that even if it were every frame, the real value of the movie is in its dialogue, music and plotting. That is to say, what the film actually is cannot be adequately shown via these still images. So, nobody is going to view these images instead of watching the movie, and it could inspire people to watch the movie who wouldn't have otherwise bothered. It's also non-commercial use, essentially an art project, so nobody's making illicit gains.

    So, no harm done here. If Lebowski were a silent movie, or this was being sold for profit, it would be different. I do wonder if the CC licence will cause issues however. i.e. although the project is OK under a CC licence, the author doesn't actually own the copyright to any of the images. So, would someone using the images under the terms of the project's CC licence still be liable for copyright infringement? I fear they would.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Crazy Coyote, Jul 15th, 2008 @ 4:05am

    New England has given many tax relief incentives and other financial incentives to film in certain cities. In my view if the movie makers use my tax money to make a movie the movie makers forfeit any rights to a copyright. The residents of that city should own any copyrights since they actually built that ready made movie set.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    A ranting lunatic, Jul 15th, 2008 @ 6:33am

    What's next for copyright infringement cases? MPAA forum trolling and subsequent prosecuting for related comments? Googling movie titles and suing websites with images from films? [/exaggeration]

    Ridiculous!

    After reading this blog for a bit now, its just nuts to see how retarded the whole intellectual property premise really is set up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Willton, Jul 15th, 2008 @ 7:16am

    Re:

    After reading this blog for a bit now, its just nuts to see how retarded the whole intellectual property premise really is set up.

    This blog hardly depicts a fair sample of how intellectual property is used. The amount of times copyright is used in non-ridiculous ways far outweighs the silly stories, such as the one above, but its those ridiculous stories that get published, and its the ridiculous stories that this blog unduly seizes upon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    DS, Jul 15th, 2008 @ 8:25am

    Um, yes.

    Sort of like if you took every word from a movie and put it in a text file would be copyright infringement. I don't know why this is even a question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Kiba, Jul 15th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re:

    You mean the GNU General Public License and other copyleft license?

    I am sorry. Most uses of copyright are not as beneficial as you think. GPL and other licenses are the exception, rather than the rule.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    BigPoppa, Jul 15th, 2008 @ 11:16am

    Re:

    But what if you put every 24th word and put it in a text file just as the person who made the pic put 1 out of ever 24 or so frames?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    DS, Jul 15th, 2008 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re:

    BigPoppa, That's not a fair comparison. It's more like if you removed every 24th letter. A movie can be a slide show, and you'd still know what's going on. If you want to get technical, the screen in a theater is mostly white(blank) then it is movie. But it's not the blank that's the movie, it's the images.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    derlo, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 2:39pm

    new file engine search!

    If you like it and want more I would recommend you to visit http://newfileengine.com/

    There you can find everything- I did!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    chiipmunk=], Dec 7th, 2008 @ 12:03am

    something....

    could you try and get every second pictures (frame pics) from alvin and the chipmunks?? please

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This