[Videolib] Re: promotional copies

Jed Horovitz (JedH@internetvideoarchive.com)
Mon, 16 Aug 2004 15:06:12 -0400

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So Gary, you and I aren't that far a part. You just tell a better story.
Unless you agreed not to place a copy in your collection, you have every
right to do that (or burn it, or sell it, or give it away as a birthday
present) because of the first sale doctrine which, as you know, does not
depend on you actually 'buying it'. (It doesn't even depend on you getting
the copy legally, which is a whole 'nother body of law.)

The other post on this thread regarding contract law also stated my
position. Contract supercedes copyright. Putting a notice on something
that it is governed by a contract, may erase some of the owner's copyright
privileges but it does not obligate others who have not agreed to it, even
if they open the shrink wrap. Such contracts of adhesion have long been
unenforceable. They also do not obligate third parties...even libraries.
I am pushing back on the idea that copyright is a super trumping unilateral
power when it comes to recorded media. Librarians need to know what they
can do according to the law, not according to the lawyer for the legal
department of a distributor. This isn't about morality and fairness, it is
about profit maximization by getting people to play by a set of rules that
aren't really the rules by falsely shaming them.

Claiming that my posts should be monitored is simply a rhetorical device.
Please don't confuse 'outrage' with accuracy. Check the law yourself and
then point to something I wrote that is not in line with it.

"Weirdness in the defense of freedom is no shibboleth"

-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu]On Behalf Of Gary Handman
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 1:22 PM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] Re: promotional copies

You see, I step out of the office for four days and look what happens...

I feel your pain, Dennis...and I agree that there's a danger in having,
uh, mis- and dis- information flung around. Nonetheless, I balk at swinging
over to formal moderation. I figure there are enough cool and sage heads on
the list to temper abovementioned weirdness.

That said: I agree with your take (and JR;s) on sticking promo and
screener copies in the collection... The thing that miffs me a bit, frankly
is being lambasted for sticking review copies in the collection for which
actual journal reviews have been written. For example: For a long while I
wrote reviews for Randy Pitman (I'm taking a sabbatical at the mo). I
usually received the screener as compensation. Now, these reviews took a
fair amount of time to write and, let's face it, Randy (and others) pay
little more than popcorn money for the effort. My rationale for doing some
of this work on company time was always that it ultimately contributed stuff
to the collection. Increasingly, however, I'd get calls from distributors
harpooning me for "donating" my personal copy to the library. I know times
are tough, but let's face it, distributors benefit from the publicity that
reviews afford, too.

OK. End of rant.


At 01:00 PM 8/10/2004 -0400, you wrote:

Ah, so this is what Jessica was ranting to me about this morning! Damn,
I agree with her 100% once again and only sorry that the Mets couldn't help
her out this past weekend. And here's ten top reasons why Jed is wrong --
and I'm being a gentleman here. J, let's see if Shecky can get it on
Letterman tonight. ;-)

1) It's ridiculous to claim first sale doctrine WHEN YOU HAVEN'T BOUGHT
2) Preview copies are meant just that way -- they're for preview. Not
for any other use. If the studios wanted free advertising as suggested,
they'd send DVDs to every person and library in the country and avoid that
messy profit and loss thing. Maybe I should have taken that Lexus home that
I test drove yesterday -- neighbors will like it and buy one! (Note to those
who don't know me -- I didn't ACTUALLY test-drive a Lexus yesterday -- I'm
still driving my 1994 Saturn...)
3) I strongly resent the concept that corporations are meant to be
ripped off and it's morally justified. It's a blanket license to steal --
and frankly, there are companies on the listserv that can't afford such
theft. If Jed thinks this is a good idea, I suggest he keeps his front door
unlocked and welcome all comers. After all, someone might like his
television set and actually buy one...
4) Libraries are supposed to support the arts. Whether you purchase
Terminator 3 or I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING, it encourages more DVDs like that.
(So PLEASE, buy the latter!)
5-10) As a consumer, a distributor and a DVD Awards judge who gets 100s
of previews (I store them after I'm done with them), I still find what was
suggested legally, morally, ethically, subjectively and objectively WRONG!

I know that the library is just asking a simple question and this is not
directed at that person. I don't think that if given a book by a publisher
because they thought that librarian would like a preview that it would
actually end up on a shelf. Maybe I'm starting to rant because I'm actually
listening to our new score for "The Wrath of the Gods" and it's inspiring me
to feel petulant.

Frankly, I would ask Gary (and I'm so sorry to say this!) to consider
having this listserv moderated. There are too many things that are advised
here that can get people arrested or fired.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: (800) 603-1104 or (201) 767-3117
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: milefilms@aol.com
Website: http://www.milestonefilms.com
Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley


"Movies are poems, a holy bible, the great mother of us."
--Ted Berrigan

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