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.

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Companies: nbc universal

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Comments on “Is Putting Every Frame Of A Movie Into A Photo Copyright Infringement? Should It Be?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward #2 says:

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.

bobbknight says:


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.

Heavens says:

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.

David McMillan says:

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.

PaulT (profile) says:

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.

Crazy Coyote says:

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.

A ranting lunatic says:

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]


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

Willton says:

Re: 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.

DS says:

Re: 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.

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