RE: [Videolib] Eyes on the Prize

Cartford, Peter, JCL (
Fri, 28 Jan 2005 14:20:43 -0600

Sorry, but the lack of availability of Eyes on the Prize due to
copyright problems is NOT morally equivalent to Nazis murdering Jews or
the racist hypocrisy of segregation. Is it unfortunate that the series
at present is not available for sale? Yes. But is the series
completely unavailable for viewing? No. Hundreds of libraries in the
U.S. have it available for viewing and/or checkout, and it can still be
used in the classroom. My library owns four copies of every title in
the series. So it's false to claim an availability crisis exists that
can be remedied only by illegal web casting. Put another way, this
situation is not a stain on race relations in this country that can only
be addressed through civil disobedience, it's merely an illustration
that copyright law is unwieldy when it comes to securing and retaining
rights for moving image media and probably needs to be reformed.

Peter Cartford
AV Librarian
Johnson County Library
Overland Park, KS

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Art McGee
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 12:40 AM
Subject: Re: [Videolib] Eyes on the Prize

> Is EYES ON THE PRIZE in a superspecial category of
> cultural significance

Yes. The Civil Rights Movement was the effective beginning
of Democracy in the United States of America. It had not
heretofore existed.

> 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.

That's merely their way of making a claim to a moral
value that goes beyond breaking the law, because the law is
considered inherently invalid. It's a rhetorical claim to a
human right to culture which supersedes the nation state.

> 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

Why in God's name would anyone want to see that racist crap?
How disingenuous of you to suggest that the greatest American
story ever told is comparable to what was effectively a legacy
narrative of "The Birth of a Nation."

> or perhaps downloading & showing Charles Burnett's
> wonderful KILLER OF SHEEP.

"Killer of Sheep" is going to be released sometime this year
on DVD by Milestone films. They've been working on clearing
the music licensing, and the public will get the chance to
enjoy a new look at a film from the greatest living
African-American director.

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

You make the decision sound so arbitrary, as if people woke
up and said "let's stick it to The Man! Yeah!" Whether
you're talking about resisting Nazis murdering Jews, or
fighting the racist hypocrisy of segregation, at some point
God and the rights of man take over, the law be damned. As
Henry David Thoreau and many others realized, there comes a
point when breaking the law is the only moral thing to do.

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