[Videolib] RE: public performance rights

Jennifer Stutesman (jennifer.stutesman@wwcc.edu)
Wed, 14 Apr 2004 15:19:51 -0700

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You know, you and Dennis have just given me the most clear and lucid
explanation of this topic since I started this position 3 years ago! I got it!
**Thank you**! It's really tough explaining this to faculty, but I persist. :-P

-jen

Ben Achtenberg wrote:

> >Two reasons not to play it without PPR.
> > 1) It's unethical (it's also illegal, but I like to think morality
> > comes up for consideration first and foremost)
> > 2) Who says the company didn't have its reasons? If a distributor
> > who does not own the PPR sells a videotape to a college and it's used
> > improperly, it can cause them problems with the producer. Trust me.
>
> Per Dennis' s comments above, maybe it would help to have some other
> real-life examples of reasons why a producer or distributor might be unable
> or unwilling to authorize public performance of a particular work, even
> though you already own a copy. These examples are from the world of
> documentary, which is the one I inhabit, and they could apply to other
> rights such as digitization, web streaming, etc., which universities might
> want.
>
> 1) Due to budget constraints, the producer may have only cleared
> the educational rights to "underlying" copyrighted elements of the
> production -- music and stock footage are the most common ones.
>
> 2) Producers of documentaries for television, even ones with big
> budgets, may only clear the music and footage rights for a set period of
> time (the broadcast "window"). At the end of that period, they may decide
> that it's not worth the cost to renew these rights and, instead, pull the
> film from distribution. Once they've done so, if you go back to them for
> additional rights such as PP, it's likely they will not agree.
>
> 3) Restrictions may have been placed on the film for legal
> reasons. Probably the most famous example is Fred Wiseman's first doc,
> "Titicut Follies."
>
> 4) There may be ethical issues involved as well: I know of many
> documentary projects where producers, in order to obtain access to
> particular subjects or situations, have promised that the film would only
> be used in the classroom. I'm also aware of at least a few films that have
> been withdrawn from circulation at the request of the people in them,
> because of privacy or other concerns.
>
> Note that none of the above issues would affect your right to use the film
> for the purposes for which you originally, legally, purchased it. But, when
> you go back to request additional rights, you may be turned down.
>
> Note also that films purchased from Fanlight include PPR. One of the most
> frustrating aspects of my work as a distributor has been struggling with
> filmmakers to get them to understand the need to clear all rights to the
> material in their films -- and having to turn away otherwise terrific
> productions for which the rights could not be cleared. It's not just
> librarians that can't always get what they want.
>
> Best to everybody,
> Ben
> Ben Achtenberg / Fanlight Productions
> 4196 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02131
> (617) 469-4999 Fax: (617) 469-3379
> Email: Ben@Fanlight.com
>
> ********************************
> VISIT OUR WEBSITE: www.fanlight.com
> ********************************
>
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