Re: [Videolib] Eyes on the Prize

Nell Chenault (
Tue, 01 Feb 2005 18:35:33 -0500

I am both happy and sad to see this discussion.
VRT will be sponsoring or cosponsoring several programs at future ALA
conferences on rights and media collections (the old chestnut topic) and
the high profile issues of shrinking information commons and increasing
cost of licensing rights. There is a proposal before ALA to create a
new office or committee to deal with Information Commons issues. I will
have a post-midwinter meeting update in the next VRT newsletter.

Dennis, your suggestions for work around orphan films is very
provocative - and I will pass it on to several of our preservation
groups in ALA for consideration on colaborative work. Thanks.

Nell Chenault
VRT Chair wrote:

> << 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 ?...etc.>>
> Okay, here I go again. But would someone take up the cause this time?
> I agree with Jessica except, of course, even SUGGESTING the concept of
> downloading Killer of Sheep! That and, of course, the Cubs chances
> this year.
> But Jessica mentioning Killer of Sheep brings me to my point. We
> (Milestone) have spent three agonizing years now negotiating the
> rights to the music for Killer of Sheep. So far, these rights will be
> nearly $90,000. And why are we doing this? Because a) we love the
> film, b) we think of great cultural importance, and c) we think we'll
> make our money back on the DVD and television rights. So far, we've
> raised about 60% of the money and cleared all but one song. There is a
> possibility of having to seek donations for the rest of the money, but
> that's part of the tsuris of running a business as well.
> I would think that Eyes on the Prize made a ton of money when it
> premiered. It's a shame that PBS (I assume they had the video rights
> as well) and the producers didn't think ahead and reinvest some of the
> profits to clear the rights for a longer term when it was obvious this
> film was going to be a classic.
> But this doesn't mean that people now have the right to say, "Well
> they were stupid, let's just go ahead and screw the people who own the
> rights to the footage who probably gave it to the producers at a lower
> rate to begin with. It's OBVIOUSLY their fault for being in business
> and they MUST be GREEDY corporations."
> What this ACTUALLY means is that a concerted effort must be made --
> and it's started already by the wonderful people in St. Louis -- to
> help clear the rights. Instead of concentrating efforts to show the
> film illegally and piss off the rights holders, it might be better for
> the film if people actually made a concerted effort to help raise
> money to clear the rights. There's a lot of foundations and
> individuals who just might be dying to contribute, and perhaps the ALA
> VRT could make this a mandate to start a fund for orphaned films.
> There are groups like Cinecon, the Silent Film Society and individuals
> like Rodney Sauer (and yes, even Milestone), who are raising thousands
> of dollars, most of it $10 at a time, to saving silent films by
> selling calendars and giving part of their admissions from public
> screenings to the cause.
> Anyone willing to make a start?
> 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:
> Website:

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