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’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!!
I would like to be able to erase these movies from my memory so that I could watch them again and again for the first time.
My doctor said there was a name for that syndrome but I forget what it was.
Merry Christmas my good friends!
Korsakoff’s syndrome. Inability to acquire new memories. You can hide your own Easter Eggs.
“Korsakoffs syndrome. Inability to acquire new memories”
That sounds a whole lot like marriage.
OR download it... screw the unjust copyright.
Well then I won’t use one. What a snob. People who think they’ve taken some higher road than the rest of us just because they don’t watch tv or ‘associate’ with people who do remind me of the elitists who drive around in electric cars looking down their noses at the rest of us driving real cars.
I don’t understand why you’re even on this thread if you prefer not to associate with people who discuss tv programs or movies. Or why you feel it necessary to express an insult to people who watch an occasional tv show and discuss it other than to feel superior. Emphasis on ‘feel’.
OOoooo!!!! That's good to know. Thanks. 20 minutes of Stooges and 10 minutes of commercials. But that's okay...that's what the DVR is for.
I gave up on the big record companies year ago. I am self-published, and sell my stuff through cdBaby or at gigs.
I get a royalty check for mechanical downloads from cdBaby, but have never gotten a penny from BMI of which I have been a member for quarter of a century.
It looks like this hasn't helped your typing and/or proofreading skills. ;-)
Yeah but it's worth it.
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