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Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2004 @ 12:29pm


    No off-topic Dorpus troll?

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

  • identicon
    jayrtfm, 22 Dec 2004 @ 3:43pm

    Godwin's law

    The Nazi's with the help of Sonny Bono are now preventing WWII footage from being shown. After WWII the Nazi produced footage of the war and the deathcamps were put in the public doman for a period of 50 years. Now that the rights have reverted back to the German companies, no documentary maker can afford the liscencing fees.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2004 @ 3:50pm

    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.

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

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