This is a personal blog. I talk sense and nonsense.
Install Theme
The movie, music, and television industries have a long history of resisting new methods to copy and distribute media more easily and cheaply. At different stages, their representatives have decried the player piano, the jukebox, the photocopier, the VCR, and DVD-writing software for destroying the will to create and dissolving millions of U.S. jobs. Duke law professor James Boyle, who specializes in online intellectual-property law, calls it “20/20 downside vision,” where “downside dominates the field, and the upside is invisible.” The attitude was symbolized by the flamboyant Jack Valenti, longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America, proclaiming to a congressional panel in 1982 that the “VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.” Mike Masnick, who runs the influential Silicon Valley blog, TechDirt, sees an acute irony in comparing the video recorder to a rapist and murderer. “Movie and television studios are now saying the biggest threat that online piracy poses to their business models is lost DVD sales and rentals,” Masnick says. “That market only exists because of the VCR.
The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today, we’ve sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely. This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.

6 Things the Film Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know →

See, originally, copyright was limited to a maximum of 28 years. If you created something, you had 28 years to get all you could out of it, because after that it became public domain. Since those days, copyright terms have been extended numerous times, and each time one company has been leading the charge: Disney.

Each time the copyright on Steamboat Willie is about to run out, Disney loses their shit and lobbies the government to pass another copyright extension law. Although a popular explanation for this is that they’d lose the rights to Mickey Mouse if Steamboat Willie were to become public domain, that’s not the case. Mickey Mouse is actually a trademarked property, and trademarks are perpetual as long as the company continues to use it. (If you haven’t noticed, Disney uses the fuck out of Mickey Mouse.) The simple fact is that Disney still makes lots of money selling DVDs and merchandise relating to Steamboat Willie.

In fact, Duke University compiled a list of all of the films that could have entered the public domain this year if Disney hadn’t argued for the law to be changed in 1976. Movies like On The Waterfront and Seven Samurai, and even the first two books of The Lord of the Rings would be in the public domain now, free for anyone to use and enjoy and remix and learn from. As it stands now, Steamboat Willie remains under copyright until 2023, and even fairly boring things like the very first issue of Sports Illustrated are protected until 2050. You can imagine what that means for movies that came out this year.

It’s very hard to complain about someone saying you’re in Tina Fey’s immediate family. But I do think it’s a little unfair that there’s never any debate about whether there’s room for Will Ferrell, Steve Carell and Aziz Ansari. But with women, it’s like, OK, Kristen Wiig is having a moment now, we’re done, we’ll put the rest of them on the backburner. And that’s just ridiculous.

MINDY KALING, on a particularly frustrating, unfair hardship for women in the entertainment industry, in The Guardian.

(Read the full interview here.)

(Source: inothernews, via huffingtonpost)