[Videolib] Eyes on the Prize

Jessica Rosner (jrosner@kino.com)
Thu, 27 Jan 2005 11:30:27 -0500

Just a few thoughts on the idea of downloading & showing this.
Is EYES ON THE PRIZE in a superspecial category of cultural significance
that it merits this or would the same apply so something in a very similar
circumstance the HOLLYWOOD- THE PIONEERS series ? Who gets to decide which
films are so important that copyright does not apply ? Also the idea of
public showings would indicate that the organizers believe any film should
be allowed to be shown to an audience irrespective of copyright.
What I found MOST interesting was the web sites claim that showing this
was NOT an act of civil disobedience but essentially a public right.

If they are so convinced that copyright law is in essence morally wrong to
prevent EYES ON THE PRIZE from being in print and available for public
showings ,THAN WHY ISN"T DOWNLOADING it an act of Civil Disobedience ? It
is clearly an illegal act but if their belief is that the law is WRONG than
surely they should be willing to acknowledge and accept the consequences of
such an act (i.e. the possibility of legal action) I find this a HUGE cop
out. Kind of ironic given that the film in question is about be willing to
take physical risks for their beliefs and these people don't even want to
acknowledge legal risks.

Given the multitude of rights complications on EYES ON THE PRIZE ( singling
out singing Happy Birthday was red herring in terms of the rights issues)
it is kind of easy to go after it and suggest a protest. However if this
group is so convinced that copyright should NOT prevent important films from
being available for both public & private use they ought to be willing to
show SONG OF THE SOUTH or perhaps downloading & showing Charles Burnett's
wonderful KILLER OF SHEEP. The first is being kept permanently off the
market by Disney, the second involves a lot of expensive & uncleared music.
If they are so sure of legal & moral correctness of their position at least
test it with good old Disney or be willing to screw an independent film
maker.

The idea sounds nice but who gets to decide what is and is not worthy of
copyright protection and under what circumstances ?

Proud Resident of a BLUE STATE

Jessica Rosner
Kino International
333 W 39th St. 503
NY NY 10018
jrosner@kino.com
212-629-6880

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