The Documentary Is Done, But You Can't Watch It

from the how-nice dept

Documentary makers who are on limited budgets have apparently had to make “shortcuts” when licensing archival footage, sometimes meaning that the footage they’re using can only be used for a few years. What that means is that certain award-winning documentaries can no longer be shown. While the filmmakers obviously knew what they were getting into when they signed the license deal, this does begin to show some of the sillier sides of content protection like this. It’s basically saying that you can “rent an idea.” Content is an idea. Once it’s out there, you can’t put it back in the box — but with licensing programs, that’s exactly what people are trying to do. The end result is that people end up having completed, historically significant documentaries that no one can watch because it breaks the law.

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Comments on “The Documentary Is Done, But You Can't Watch It”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Ideas are thingh in your head. They are intangible and noncorporeal. They cannot be copied or manipulated.

Archival imagery is both tangible and corporeal. It exists as film, tape, or digital files. It can be copied and manipulated.

The usual rant that copyright enforcement stifles the free exchange of ideas is either just wrong or deliberate sophistry, depending on the cleverness of the ranter.

People who make something own it and all rights associated with it. They can sell or rent those rights as they choose. Copyright law recognizes and enforces those rights, but it certainly does not create them. If copyright law vanished, I’d still have the right to decide who gets to copy my manuscript.

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