Re: Milestone website inquiry (long)
Thu, 8 Apr 1999 09:14:41 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Oksana and Videolib participants,

You're ideas (and everybody else's) and comments were great and have been
sent to our designer. It's extremely crazy here and I'm just getting to the
finer details of answering back. Oksana's questions, I'm sure, have
particular interest to the newsgroup (especially the use of copyrighted
material off the website), so I thought I'd answer them here...

Milestone Film & Video

<< Dennis,
Glad to hear about your plans. I've reranked your ideas according to what I
feel is important followed by a couple of ideas of my own.

3) posting the "Ideas for Running a Film Society" we've sent out in the past
by request>>

This has already been sent to our designer. When the website is up,
I'd love to hear from everybody else if they have ideas that have worked
in the past.

<<1) specially written articles by film historians and critics on our films or
that pertain to related subjects>>

Scott Eyman has already agreed to write an article on his favorite
film books (he's a film historian, noted author, the books editor for
the Palm Beach Post, and our best friend, so I thought he'd be perfect)
and I'm sure we'll rope in more
writers in the near future.

<<2) a bibliography for several of our titles, etc.>>

We will have press kits on most of our films on the website and I was
surprised (and happy) to say that almost all of them have
bibliographies citing the material we read to research the press kit.
If any library needs bibliographies on our films that don't have press kits
(I'm trying to write them now on my nights off) or further information
such as updates on books and articles we've found since the release of
the film (the copyright date will tell you when we wrote the press
kit), we'll be happy to send it along.

<<4) stills and press kits for each film WOULD WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO DOWNLOAD

Their will be copyright notices on the press kits and stills to
prevent unauthorized use detrimental to the films, the actors or crew
(for example, using a Mary Pickford image on a porn website). But all use
of these materials for the promotion of films properly purchased is
permissible and we're glad to put this in writing to any institution. We
(and I assume, most independents) encourage the use of our materials,
in fact.

<<5) trivia contests to win a free video, laserdisc, or DVD each month>>

Interestingly enough, this was last on the list for most
institutions, but the individuals and professors liked this the best.

<<The most important aspect of a website, for me, is something that is
uncluttered visually, easy and fast to search. Categories by series,
filmmaker, country, genre, decade also simplify the search process.>>

This, too, was very important to most of the institutions, and to be
honest, the use of categories and genres never came to my mind. However,
we will do so due to popular demand. Thanks!

<<Now, there's another issue that you may want to address to some extent, and
that is the issue of rights. I know most people purchasing newly released
videos do not encounter major problems. But items do eventually go
out-of-print, certain distributors fold or are bought up by others, so it
would be nice if some information about items you no longer have or
distribute was included. I'm thinking of your Lumivision titles as an
example. Then, of course, there is the netherworld of film distribution
where things appear to be somewhat different: distribution rights expire,
prints get scrapped and moving image librarians keep trying to track down
elusive film prints. I'm certainly not asking that you divulge contract
agreements but a list of Milestone titles that are out of print or no
longer distributed would be informative. If you've picked up titles that
someone else used to distribute, let us know also. Finally, for all of us
non-USA librarians, advise us whether you have world, North American, or
U.S. only rights.>>

Well, this is a tricky subject and I can give you and example. Two
years ago, we lost the rights to one of my favorite films. If any other
distributor had known this, it is likely that we would have permanently
lost the rights. However, two years later, I've tracked down the Italian
licenser and have completed a renewal agreement. However, there will be on
the home page a place to email Milestone to ask about any film and as
is our usual custom, we'll help search out the correct distributor. Oh, and
although Lumivision lost the rights to distribute the laserdiscs of
Milestone's Age of Exploration, we retained these rights and the discs
so they're still available through us.

As for putting down what rights we have (US, Canada, World, home
video, theatrical, nontheatrical, television, etc.) that's a great idea.

<<Don't go web-based-only, not yet anyway.>>

Nope -- we like to hold our catalog in our own hands as well. The
video catalog will be done this month! Thanks, Oksana and everyone else who

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video