Movie Showing How Music Can Help Dementia Patients Held Up... By The Difficulty In Licensing The Music
from the depressing dept
My grandfather passed away at 96-years-old just last year. While he remained "with it" for quite some time, in the last few years of his life, he suffered from pretty serious dementia. So, a few months ago, when I saw this somewhat viral video of a dementia patient in a nursing home suddenly being "revived" by listening to the music he grew up with, it was really quite amazing. I just wished I'd been able to test that out with my grandfather earlier. If you haven't seen the video, it's worth checking out (especially if you've ever had to deal with a loved one suffering from dementia):
So I was definitely interested when Bas told me that the folks who made that clip were trying to put the finishing touches on a much longer documentary about bringing personalized music to dementia patients... and were doing so with a Kickstarter campaign. These days, that's completely understandable, but what struck me as most unfortunate and distressing is that the main reason why the filmmaker needs to raise $50,000 is because of the expense of licensing the music so that it can be shown in the film. It's clear from the video just how powerful this film is, and just how useful it might be to get lots of people to see it. And yet, copyright holders are often very, very stingy about licensing music for films -- especially documentaries. As we've discussed in the past, the difficulties documentary filmmakers have in licensing music for their films -- even if the song is a key factual component of the story -- are incredibly disturbing. Rather than helping to spread the music, copyright holders are locking it up.
In this case, in particular, it appears that they're basically locking up this entire film, unless they can raise $50,000. That's not how copyright is supposed to work. The video explanation of what the filmmaker is trying to do is great, but the fact that it's copyright holding things up just seems really disturbing (he explains that's the issue about five minutes into the video):
It's too bad that (1) fair use is such a mess that this kind of thing isn't automatically seen by all involved as fair use, and (2) the copyright holders here, knowing the importance of such a project, can't offer up a free license for the filmmaker.