Skip to comments.Itís a Wonderful Copyright Mess
Posted on 12/24/2009 8:22:18 AM PST by AJKauf
the case of Its a Wonderful Life. When the film was released in 1946, it was given a 28-year copyright term which was eligible for a 28-year renewal. For whatever reason, a request wasnt put in for renewal, and it was believed to have fallen into the public domain in 1975. Had it not connected with the American people on its rediscovery, it would have become a resident of dollar DVD bins, like other public domain mainstays such as the Fleischer Superman cartoons or Bill Cosbys TV movie Tell All My Friends on the Shore.
However, the movie studio smelled money. Thus, it fought for a decade until it regained control of the film. The studio argued that while the films pictures had entered the public domain, the story which the studios had bought the rights to had not, and therefore the film could not be shown. Thus, this Christmas Eve, NBC will show a 63-year-old movie based on a 70-year-old short story and will pay out handsome royalties to a company that had nothing to do with the release of the film other than buying the company that released it. How exactly does this contribute to the progress of the useful arts?
The first Copyright Act in 1790 set the term of the federal copyright for 14 years, renewable for 14 additional years. Rufus Pollock, an economist at Cambridge, mathematically concluded in 2007 that 14 years was the ideal length of copyright protection. As with most things, though, America has gone the other way with absurd lengths of copyright protection, with ever-lengthening terms...
(Excerpt) Read more at pajamasmedia.com ...
I must be the only person in the world who has never seen the movie. Looks like it’s going to stay that way.
Any Three Stooges on TV over the next week or so?
It’s much better off with a custodial studio who cleaned the film up rather than the cheap-o public domain versions that were floating around.
You really should see the film at the very least, once. It is quite good. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are just fabulous. If nothing else it brings back memories of an America that once was.
Wonderful, beautiful, fantastic movie. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are great. Watch it every year. Love it!
Innovation in these industries is being stifled through the copyright cartel's litigiousness (just as the same tendency has totally skewed health care). But the trial lawyer group continues to have its politicians--particularly, but not exclusively, democraps) in their hip pocket.
The DMCA should be repealed, and we should go back to the original term limits in force on copyrights at 1920 "after the reset."
And with an excellent message.
I’ve never seen it either, I have not seen Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music etc, but I intend to catch up to the movies that almost all other people have seen.
And what about all of those cheesy sitcoms of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Wonder if the actors can renegotiate their contracts... 30 years later.
A lot of the actors got screwed and are not getting any royalties from syndication.
Probably apples and oranges.
years ago when Saturday Night Live was still funny, they presented - in black & white - the alternate ending that ended up on the cutting room floor. They replicated the final scene in the Bailey’s house when all of his friends and neighbors were coming in to contribute money to help George in his hour of need. In the midst of all the joy and happiness, Mr. Potter’s flunky wheels the warped, frustrated old man into the room. The crowd falls silent as Mr Potter says whatever it is he said...when he finished, there’s a moment of stunned silence, then the crowd dumps Potter from his chair and beats the hell out him..
I almost envy your ignorance! (And I mean that in a nice way.) You have some real treats ahead of you!
As a songwriter,I have run into the jungle of Copyright Law a few times (LOL).
It only seems to be applied when there is money involved, and ignored when it is just a no-name composer or author being screwed over.
Case in point:
A friend of mine attempted to get a school system to CEASE AND DESIST photocopying and selling HIS guitar instruction book. The Federal Government, BMI, and Copyright Lawyers all REFUSED to help him even though he was totally justified because the case was so small.
Meanwhile ASCAP sued the GIRL SCOUTS for singing “God Bless America” in Public.
Well, if you want Three Stooges, turn on the news. Dingy Harry, Lunch-bucket Joe, and Barry from DC will be on in seconds. . .
Buy the DVD... it’s a great, great film. You’ll love it.
I am kind of in the same boat, but with television. I have never watched shows like Taxi, Seinfeld etc. I stopped really watching television 10-15 years ago, and before that, I didn’t watch any sitcoms (except for a few episodes of the Simpsons and Scrubs, but...that is pretty much it)
Of course, by the time I do watch it when I can’t do anything else, all the social framework that made them funny will be completely gone.
At that point, the show of choice will be “Ow, My Balls!”
Glad I missed that ending.
Remember this holiday season: “every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” (loved that one)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I have the basic Netflix account, and am turning into a bit of a junkie, watching old movies.
In the last week, I watched “In Cold Blood”, “The Glenn Miller Story” (GREAT movie!) and “Drums Along The Mohawk”, which are three movies I would never have rented from a video rental store in the usual way, but...when I can stream as many as I want for nine bucks a month...now THAT is great!
I LOVE old movies...:)
You MUST see Seinfeld! Forget those others. Seinfeldisms carry on to this day. :)
As far as copyright. I guess if you bought the copyright it’s yours, no matter if you didn’t make the film.
“Any Three Stooges on TV over the next week or so?”
I’m sur Obama, Reid and Pelosi will be on praising the Senate vote.
Then again Matthews, Olbermann and Maddow are on regularly.
I must be the only person in the world who has never seen the movie.
You really should see it...it’s a cultural time-capsule.
And at the same time, it’s modern.
The Old Man Potter who trys to buy up/control the town (and of course,
the people in it) is a faint version of today’s Obama and Co. And their current power-grab of a large part of the American economy.
It’s a film that can provoke a lot of stong emotions and existential questioning.
Which might explain why the film was judged to be something of a flop
in it’s initial release. America was still tired of WWII and just
wanted to have some fun at the movies.
The only Seinfeld episode I have ever watched all the way through (and I did think it was funny) was the Soup Nazi one...I heard so much about it I found the time to check it out.
There are good reasons to have limits on who can use the fruits of someone else’s labors...If I wrote a song, and it was used by the Obama Campaign...
How is it that you've never seen any of these? They show them on TV every year. I remember watching The Wizard of Oz when I was 4 (and I've watched it every year thereafter, as well as The Sound of Music). Do you live in the US?
Yep, these outfits never have the slightest interest in protecting the actual “creator” of any given work, but when there’s a major corporation and its money involved, it’s all different. I am also a songwriter who has had copyrights “mechanically infringed” and, really, nobody cares. I often wonder how many of the writers of the songs in these “compliations” are getting screwed out of their money. Most of them, I expect. “Airplay” is the only place any writer has the slightest hope of being compensated as per the agreement unless he is an independent record label selling his own product directly.
Try to see the "Festivus" episode. A classic that still spawns Festivus displays at various public venues (last year, even at the State Houses of Wisconsin and Washington.)
Does anyone besides me find It’s A Wonderful Life a bit too saccharine? Mary Poppins, too. (That one even has a sugary song, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”!)
You should check out hulu.com, tv.com, probably a million others I don’t know about. Just search for whatever your looking for. I don’t know about movies, but they have old TV shows like Highway Patrol, Outer Limits, etc. I bought an adaptor to connect my laptop to my TV, turned off my cable TV, and haven’t missed it much at all. Really haven’t missed the monthly bill.
Good for you. I put my last TV in the alley with a chunk of cement block through the picture tube in 1988. I missed it occasionally for a couple of months. Sometimes I feel lost among folks ardently discussing soaps and sitcoms but then it occurs to me that I have no business wasting my time with people who care about such things and I remove myself.
Im sur Obama, Reid and Pelosi will be on praising the Senate vote.
They have some superficial resemblence to Larry, Moe, and Curly, but those fellows never controlled the Army an nuclear weapons and the IRS.
"years ago when Saturday Night Live was still funny, they presented - in black & white - the alternate ending that ended up on the cutting room floor..."
Now, I HAVE watched the old Twilight Zone episodes online, but those were well done, if not always pretty predictable...:)
We don’t have cable, but then, we don’t really have a television to watch it on. Last year, my wife “authorized” me to spend $5000 on a new home entertainment system (when our 15 year old 37” television died.
How good is that? So I did what any good husband would do...I began researching and shopping in earnest to find out what is good and what isn’t. Just as I was about to pull the trigger, she says “Well...let’s not buy just yet...”
I could have ripped my short hair out! Dang it, I should have struck while the iron was hot!!!!
I saw them all on a black and white console TV. Some of us have chosen to forgo television altogether and we do not see these things every year. We have other things to do, some of which require a modicum of motion.
I watch a lot of old movies, including many silent films and foreign films.
I haven’t been around a lot of television in my life, it was always in broken up chunks for me, for instance I know almost nothing about TV in the 1970s, I didn’t know about ‘Law and Order’ until I attended an out of state funeral in 2001 and saw it while staying at someones house, I could not believe how left wing it was.
I will now be able to watch these film classics on remastered DVD disks on an HD TV, I will do some catching up, but even now I will wait until I have company that is enthusiastic about them and will exude some of the special feeling that is associated with them.
Well, aren’t you special?
I cannot stomach what I have seen on television. All the crime shows piss me off...what is it that people have with those? Is it some kind of voyeristic thing? Don’t we have enough of that in REAL life?
I watched a couple of Survivor episodes, and I didn’t get it. They encourage treachery, deceit and backstabbing. After watching a few, I thought “Screw this. If they put them all on an island with no food, water or shelter and came back three months later to pick up whoever survived, now THAT would be watchable...”
And shows like “Two and a Half Men” and so on. They denigrate, men, promote violence, homosexuality, promiscuity and so on.
And the shows like “Entertainment Tonight” and “Oprah” are just off the charts idiotic. Pathetic, that people would watch that. I know of these shows, because my wife watches them. I just cannot sit in the same room while they are on. I am not a prude by any means, and I don’t believe in dictating to others what they can and cannot watch, but it all seems awfully vacuous.
I love my wife, but when I made a comment a few years back about having the “Today Show” on television every morning (that I couldn’t avoid just by walking through our small house) she put her foot down. She said to insure domestic bliss, she doensn’t say anything about anything I watch, read or do, and therefore, I should keep my mouth shut about what she watches, reads or does.
My wife and I don’t fight. Ever. That is as close as we come, so, I thought...”Okay, I will live with that...”
If you haven’t guessed, my wife is pretty non-political...
Recommendation: If you have never seen it, see: “The Best Years of Our Lives”.
My favorite movie, ever...:) And just as valid today as it was back then.
I have to admit I feel somewhat the same way, but...I attribute it more to my inability to relate to the humor or content than I do to the character of the person who likes to discuss it.
I take the attitude that it is just what some people do to give themselves enjoyment. It isn’t my thing, but...who am I to comment on it? I loved Jim Carrey’s movie “Liar Liar”, and my wife detests it. I guess I just accept that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Okay...I will have to check that out, because I do hear a lot of people (including Freepers) who reference it...:)
I’m 42 and probably have never seen more than 5 mins of this movie.
A sensible alternative is to make copyright and patent law, for that matter, much like the General Mining Act of 1872. It said that anyone could strike a claim about anywhere, but each year they either had to earn $500 from that strike, or spend $500 improving the claim.
Right now, there is a vast amount of copyrighted materials kept in corporate libraries, that is never offered up for sale or use by the public. And it is even worse with patents, as corporations buy up thousands of patents, then sit on them, waiting for someone else to need that patent, for which they can demand royalties for as long as it is needed.
So if they want government protection, why shouldn’t they have to “Use it or lose it”?
A good example of this is found in Disney Corporation. Each year, they earn a fortune from Mickey Mouse. So they merit protection from companies around the world who would rip off Mickey for their own profit. However, Disney also owns the rights to the movie “Song of the South”, which they used to sell, but now refuse to market.
So “use it or lose it.” Either they agree to sell a given dollar amount of that movie to the public, or they should lose government protection for that product, so someone else can sell it. Their choice. Any consumer should be able to demand the sale of such a product, or that the product should lose its copyright protection if the company refuses to sell at least some.
If this was made the copyright and patent law, the public would see an immense release of existing material that had previously been released, resulting in an explosion of information and the productive use of invention.
Just by doing this alone, might be enough to stabilize the US economy for several years.
That's what it should remain. I have zero respect for copyright of anything more than 30 years old. Screw them all.
That Bing Crosby's grandchildren are still collecting on royalties they had nothing to do with more than 30 years after the old man died is ridiculous. Tell them to get off their butts and sing their own damn songs. (I have a feeling that Bing himself would be saying that if he were still alive.)
You reminded me of something, I have been checking out TV series from the library.
I have been watching “Have Gun Will Travel” and I look forward to when someone puts together “The Rifleman” series. and a “complete” issue of “Gunsmoke”. Some of the old TV series like those are a powerful look at a distant America and it’s values.
Soon I’m going to check out “The Loretta Young Show”.
STOOGES marathon New Year's Eve on .... AMC
AMC has scheduled New Year's Eve, 23 hours of The Three Stooges, beginning @ 7:00 am EST.
The ole' VCR has been cleaned and ready to go.
Like you, I learned to give her her space. That's when I go to a different room to read a good book or come here to Free Republic. I also cannot tolerate sitcoms with their loud, obnoxious characters and those insipid laugh tracks that just go right through my skull. The only sitcom I can tolerate is "The Office" and only because it doesn't have a laughtrack and actually has some humor I can relate to (having worked in an office of dysfunctional people for 30+ years).
Does anyone else see the Bailey Building & Loan as a small version of Fannie Mae?
Great movie - one of my top 10, but my husband commented on the B&L - Fannie Mae connection when we were watching the movie the other night. I had never thought of it that way, but the B&L was making high risk loans to people who were turned down by the bank.
Current copyright can be up to 120 years.
Thank Mickey Mouse for that (And Sonny Bono as he introduced the 1998 copyright extension, which is seriously called the Mickey Mouse law)
Goodness, can’t have the “Mouse” in the public domain!!