RE: [Videolib] Eyes on the Prize

Jed Horovitz (
Thu, 27 Jan 2005 16:28:54 -0500

You have shouted me into submission (since I want everyone to think I have
at least an 'ounce' of sense) after this but...but I still think you are
VERY wrong. Film makers (musicians poets painters and librarians) have a
fair use right to sample, quote, excerpt, etc. copyrighted works in their
work without a license. How much is too much is for the courts to decide.
If the film maker is afraid to test the limits and somebody wants to show
the work, they have the right to find out what those limits are and should
not be criminalized, vilified or subject to damages for willful
infringement. Just because the film maker paid to use something previously
doesn't mean they had to or should have and doesn't set a precedent....a
fair use remains a fair if these people show the video and the film
maker (who I suspect supports the effort off the record so they can get
their fair use established without risking a lawsuit) doesn't object, the
underlying purported rights holders will have to show that the uses in the
film are not a fair use if they want to challenge the showing.

No one that I know of is saying that the showing is fair use vis a vis the
film maker.


-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Jessica
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2005 3:11 PM
Subject: Re: [Videolib] Eyes on the Prize

> From: "Jed Horovitz" <>
> Reply-To:
> Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 14:05:12 -0500
> To: <>
> Subject: RE: [Videolib] Eyes on the Prize
> OK, I just can't stay out of this. Jessica is correct in general although
> she miss-speaks in the particular. INFRINGING is not ILLEGAL. It is a
> cause for civil action. It will not get you thrown in jail or fined by
> government. It may get you sued. You may win.

If you violate copyright law ( and no one with on once of sense can argue
that what is being proposed is NOT a violation of current law) you have
committed an ILLEGAL act, it may well result in a civil rather than criminal
action but it is illegal . FYI those raids on bootleggers in Chinatown for
selling pirate copies of new releases result in arrests and jail time for
what is clearly a higher level of copyright violation but that is still what
it is.
> My understanding is that the film maker/copyright owner of the program is
> just as trapped by this particular situation as the public. The rights
> holder stopping this release is the estate of songwriters long dead whose
> work was performed 'in reality' and captured by documentarians. That the
> songwriter's assigns should have the power to stop this work from being
> shown is absurd. It was/is clearly a fair use of the song.

This is simply absurd and being propogated by people who want an easy way
out. Dennis did a great job explaining this but basically most of the FILM
FOOTAGE and Music used in the film were not cleared either for long or for
digital i.e dvd use. If this were merely the case of ONE song, you could
EASILY cut out or dub the scene in question. There are lots and lots of
legitimate rights holders whose material in this film and who deserve to
get compensated for its further use

> I don't think anyone is saying that the public performance of the video
> is not potentially infringing but rather that if the owner of the work
> and/or broadcasters are too intimidated to stand up for their own fair use
> right, they may be forfeiting their control over the work because the
> has a right to see it. Why? Because it was published with copyright
> protection that we honored. In exchange, we get access.

I am not sure what you mean. Studios and Networks are more than willing to
take legal action to protect their works it is small distributors and
independent film makers who get screwed because they don't have the
resources to do this. What in the world does the constantly misused "fair
use" have to do with this?
> Jessica, this is about protecting the film maker (and future film makers
> right to tell the truth about the world as it is/was) and the public's
> to see the film maker's published work that is now part of the historical
> record.
> Jed

The public has no unlimited right to see any film ever made at any time.
It is frustrating & very unfortunate that EYES ON THE PRIZE is in such a
pickle but it doesn't get any special privileges. This film could never have
been made WITHOUT the material and the owners of that material are entitled
to you their compensation.

One of the reasons this whole issue strikes home for me is that I get almost
daily hostility when dealing with organizations who are SHOCKED, SHOCKED
that we charge money to show our films in a public setting. After all they
are not charging admission, they are helping to bring our wonderful film to
our community etc. This is the kind of slippery slope I have to deal with.
After all if you can download & show EYES ON THE PRIZE why not DAUGHTERS OF
THE DUST ( never mind that Julie Dash gets 50% of all royalties) I know you
guys understand it is NOT the same thing but for me it is. The people
advocating the download/screening believe their right to have this film
shown whenever and wherever supersedes any copyright laws but basically they
are just stupid & selfish and have no concept of difficulty of film/video

Like Dennis said let them raise the money to CLEAR the rights instead of
advocating screwing rights holders

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Jessica
> Rosner
> Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2005 1:22 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Videolib] Eyes on the Prize
> I don't even want to touch who gets to decide why EYES ON THE PRIZE is
> but to the last point. Downloading of a copyrighted work without
> is illegal PERIOD. According to the group( with the occasional dissenter)
> you can make a VHS copy from another LEGAL VHS copy IF you owned a copy
> it is not lost stolen or damaged.
>> From: "Griest, Bryan" <>
>> Reply-To:
>> Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 09:31:35 -0800
>> To: "''" <>
>> Subject: RE: [Videolib] Eyes on the Prize
>> In reaction to Jessica's piece, I would argue that "Eyes on the Prize"
> might
>> indeed be of such special social significance as to merit special
> treatment
>> along these lines. (Comparing it to "Song of the South" is both cruel and
>> ironic, of course.) A work so universally lauded is exactly the kind of
> film
>> we need to take a stand for, regardless of the justification cited by the
>> provider. Whether the provider wants to claim it or not, downolading
> "Eyes"
>> should be viewed as an act of civil disobedience by those who believe (as
> I
>> obviously do) that the copyright laws are out of whack. In addition,
>> my library already owned a copy of it, couldn't I also make the claim
> I
>> am making a legitimate (according to most of the participants of the
> latest
>> thread) replacement/archival copy from our deteriorating/stolen tapes
>> anyway?
>> Bryan Griest
>> Glendale Public Library
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