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Thursday, September 1, 2005

the price of copyright

if there is any example of the cost to culture, this could be it. it has apparently been illegal to show eyes on the prize, even in classrooms, since 1993.

Cash Rescues Eyes on the Prize [wired, 2005.08.30]

The 14-part series, which chronicles the history of the civil rights movement in America, has been blocked from television rebroadcast and DVD release by a thicket of copyright restrictions on the hundreds of photos, music tracks and video clips used in its making.

But thanks to a $600,000 grant from the Ford Foundation and a philanthropist’s $250,000 donation, the process of re-licensing that material has begun.

assuming my math is correct, that means it just cost $850,000 to save this amazing piece of work from rotting away in a vault forever (and it could be more, i suppose…)

also of note, this $850,000 ransom to copyright holders, which apparently also includes people singing “happy birthday” to martin luther king, jr., will not be enough to secure rights for home-video release.

more from npr.

posted by roj at 4:25 am  

Saturday, March 19, 2005

postcards from buster – a 12 year old gets it

back in february there was a bit of a tempest about postcards from buster. i’m going to revive it just a little today.

it seems that buster, in his travels, stumbled into a couple lesbians.

i’m an old man by now, and i think too much and ask stupid questions.

normally, of course, i’d make some general statement about how stupid this is, and probably dig up a link or two to the reason pbs was created back in 1969, and maybe the department of education mandate to promote diversity that came with funding the postcards from buster series, and how lesbians really do exist in the world and our children may actually run into one (or two) some day, but sometimes, it’s better to let someone else do the talking. and in this case, that someone else is a 12-year old muslim girl who got it.

A Child Learns a Harsh Lesson in Politics [new york times, feb 5, 2005]

Farah Siddique also knows what it means to feel marginalized, and she is grateful to “Postcards From Buster” for helping her feel less so. Farah, 12, lives in a Chicago suburb with Pakistani and Filipino parents who are Muslim. In a telephone interview, she explained why she was happy to appear on “Postcards From Buster,” wearing her hijab (a head covering) and studying the Koran.

“It was important to tell people about my religion and everything,” she said. “Some people think we’re bad because of 9/11 or something, and I’m telling them we are not bad, we’re not trying to hurt anyone or do anything wrong.”

Asked what she thought about PBS’s decision not to distribute the “Buster” episode about the children with two mothers, she said: “We don’t believe in that stuff. My opinion is that it is bad or wrong. My sister is 7, and she watches PBS Kids shows. I wouldn’t want her to watch that kind of thing.”

What if people said they wouldn’t want to watch the episode about her because they don’t like Muslims?

Without hesitation Farah replied: “Wow, I hadn’t thought about it like that. Can I change what I said? If people were judging me because of my religion I would get really sad. Now I think maybe they should show it.”

mrs. margaret spellings, are you ready to change your answer?

posted by roj at 2:16 pm  

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

christmas is here

i just saw my first tv commercial for “holiday gifts.”

so, christmas season is here. stardate: september 28.


posted by roj at 6:40 pm  

Saturday, August 14, 2004

godspeed, olympians

posted by roj at 2:44 am  

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

no harry potter for charity ballet students

children studying ballet (some, reportedly as young as 3 years old) in worthington have been denied permission to perform a 10-minute derivative segment work based on harry potter. apparently all movie and theatrical production rights for harry are under the warner brothers legal umbrella through 2007, so it’s simply impossible to get the rights to perform the dance.

neil blair, spokesperson for christopher little, agent of jk rawling, in dance: no potter pas [new york times]

It is simply not possible for us to pick and choose however worthy the cause, which in this particular case was clearly most worthy.

the performance, which will benefit the great ormond street hospital and the cleft lip and palate association. the news is running around the world on the ap wire and getting picked up in lots of interesting places, but one thing that the wire story doesn’t include is something you can do about it. to donate to the hospital, maybe in harry’s name.

posted by roj at 2:04 am  

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

opening the bbc archive

i should say more, but this is a major, major deal
alone want to speculate if derivative “creative industry” sourced from this huge collection will catch up, economically, to the lockdown in the united states?

update: woah. that entry got chopped up pretty bad. let’s try again.
i should say more, but this is a major, major deal
if all the lawyerly-issues can be resolved (and that alone might squash this whole thing), with global access, video- and audio-editing-capable machines readily available, the hecklebot destroying the carefully crafted marketing of the american film industry (heh), and the riaa suing music customers into settlements, does anyone want to speculate if derivative (even if non-commercial) “creative industry” sourced from this huge collection will catch up, economically, to the lockdown in the united states?

posted by roj at 12:48 am  

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