RE: Banned Chinese films

Laroi Lawton (laroi.lawton@bcc.cuny.edu)
Fri, 4 Oct 2002 11:52:52 -0700 (PDT)

I think the issue here may have to deal with what US copyright laws have to say about foreign media that while produced in another country is banned by the said government. While this issue could stir the proverbial international pot between US & Chinese relations if you were to purchase the "pirated copies", what is to stop the Chinese government from taking the issue to a US federal or international court of law? (For some of us this would not be a big deal) On the one hand, your faculty are very interested in these titles; on the other hand, the vendor who is in possession of the "pirated copies" who is willing to sell to you-could be held liable. This is new ground as far as I can tell- China is a gazillion miles away-and I could be wrong. I know of instances in which some colleagues of mine copied material from other countries and used them here in a teaching environment but that was many years ago before the current hoopla on copyright, fair use and face-to-face screenings. You
should check with someone in your law school as this could make a good legal debate and or essay. Another good source is CCUMC located at: http://www.indiana.edu/~ccumc/

LaRoi Lawton
Bronx Community College
Library & Learning Resources dept.
laroi.lawton@bcc.cuny.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: sara seten berghausen [mailto:sara@duke.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 4:51 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Banned Chinese films

Hello Videolibbers,

I'd love to hear your opinions about this situation....

My colleague, our Chinese Studies librarian, is very interested in adding
several Chinese film titles to the collection, all of which have been
banned by the Chinese government. No "legal" copies are therefore
available for purchase; however, she's located a vendor (based in the US)
who has pirated copies of these titles for sale.

We would both very much like to add these titles to the collection, not
least because faculty are clamoring for them, and research interest in them
on campus is extensive. The fact that the films have been banned for
political reasons, and that the filmmakers themselves may very well welcome
the wider distribution of these films, is also encouraging me to take a
risk in this case--but the issues involved are obviously complex. (I could
make a crack about the Chinese government's notorious lack of attention to
US copyright law, but I shouldn't....) Frankly, copyright seems a small
consideration compared to the larger issues at hand. A few of the titles
are below, in case any of you know Chinese. What would YOU do?! Thanks
for any words of wisdom,

Sara

Xiao wu
Wu shan yun yu
Dong gong xi gong
Gui zi lai le

Sara Seten Berghausen
Librarian for Literature & Theater Studies, Interim Film/Video Librarian
sara@duke.edu

Reference Department, 113 Perkins Library, Box 90175
919-660-5881, Fax 919-684-2855
108 Lilly Library, Box 90725
919-660-5886, Fax 919-660-5999
Duke University Libraries
Durham, NC 27708