[Videolib] Re: promotional copies

Randy Pitman (vidlib@videolibrarian.com)
Mon, 16 Aug 2004 16:03:34 -0700

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MessageHi Monique,

Our reviewers do keep review copies. FWIW, here's my two cents on the =
"promotional copies" issue--from the standpoint of a video review =
journal editor. All of our "film" reviewers receive a notice from me =
regarding screeners to the effect that "screeners" can be added to their =
personal collections or deep-sixed, but they should *not* be added to =
library collections or--god forbid--hawked on eBay (to me, this is not =
rocket science: the studios, like book publishers with "advance reader =
copies," are making a clear and reasonable professional-to-professional =
stipulation regarding the treatment of review copies).=20

Review copies that are *not* marked as such are, in my opinion, a =
different story. I personally do not see a problem with a reviewer =
putting these titles in library collections (and, in fact, many titles =
we receive for review include specific instructions/encouragement in the =
accompanying paperwork to donate titles to public or school libraries).

As far as I'm concerned the only real gray area is higher-priced titles =
for the institutional market. It wasn't all that long ago that smaller =
distributors with high-priced titles were still confusing price and =
worth (i.e., we would receive review copies that were marked "please =
return and insure for $400" as if review copies were somehow worth more =
than $.99 cents--or whatever blank tape costs these days). Fortunately, =
this attitude has mostly disappeared.

On the "loss of sale" argument, for 90% of our reviewers, this is a =
non-issue, since they never would have spent $350 in the first place on =
a particular title. But even for the 10% who might represent a sale, my =
personal feeling is this: if 3 or 4 reviewer copies (which lead to =
reviews that generate additional revenue) are intrinsic to the bottom =
line, then the company's business model sucks and they need to rethink =
it. Or label their videos as screeners, which I--and I think my =
reviewers--understand and respect (but we're not Kreskins; we need to be =
told--especially since so many filmmakers specifically request that =
review copies be given a good home in collections).



Randy Pitman
Video Librarian
8705 Honeycomb Ct. NW
Seabeck, WA 98380
Tel: (800) 692-2270; Fax: (360) 830-9346
Email: vidlib@videolibrarian.com
Web: www.videolibrarian.com
----- Original Message -----=20
From: Threatt, Monique L=20
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu=20
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 2:06 PM
Subject: RE: [Videolib] Re: promotional copies

Not bad Randy. Does that include the cost of the video or DVD?

So far I have been lucky to keep titles that I do review, and I am =
allowed to add them to our media collection. Writing a review for any =
type of media format is hard work, and I think it's wrong for even =
independents to ask people like Gary to pay a discounted price to keep =

Ok, enough of the soap box from this person.
-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu =
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of Randy Pitman
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 2:57 PM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] Re: promotional copies

Actually, since my name came up, I should clarify that "Video =
Librarian" pays reviewers in the "low two figures," but I'm told that =
that is two figures more than many library journals pay reviewers :)

Randy Pitman
Video Librarian
8705 Honeycomb Ct. NW
Seabeck, WA 98380
Tel: (800) 692-2270; Fax: (360) 830-9346
Email: vidlib@videolibrarian.com
Web: www.videolibrarian.com
----- Original Message -----=20
From: Jessica Rosner=20
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu=20
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 12:30 PM
Subject: Re: [Videolib] Re: promotional copies

I always liked Calvin Trillin's remark that The Nation paid him
in the "high two figures" for his columns
Jessica Rosner
Kino International
333 W 39th St. 503
NY NY 10018

From: "Threatt, Monique L" <mthreatt@indiana.edu>
Reply-To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2004 13:37:07 -0500
To: <videolib@library.berkeley.edu>
Subject: RE: [Videolib] Re: promotional copies


Are you saying that educational documentary review copies, =
unless otherwise noted, can or cannot be placed in an institution's =
collection? =20

Monetary compensation huh? Maybe I'm reviewing for the wrong =

-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu =
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of Gary Handman
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 12:22 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 =

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 =
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!=20

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

<http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC> ****

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

--Ted Berrigan=20

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