Gabi asked about the recent Society for Cinema Studies conference.
Here's a few comments (as I expressed them to a friend of mine) on
a panel on copyright issues:
The most interesting part of the SCS conference week before last was
the report that Kristin Thompson gave on the copyright status of
film frame enlargements. Apparently, she's been preparing an official
report to SCS on this subject and her findings will be published in
CINEMA JOURNAL. She presented some of them at the conference,
in a panel on copyright issues (which included Jane Gaines).
Check this out:
She and Bordwell have NEVER paid permission fees for frame enlargements!
Here's her reasoning--which was backed up by contact with Library of
Congress representatives: Frame enlargements of films (she didn't speak
specifically to frame enlargements from TV or music video) are considered
"derivative works" of the original, copyrighted work. Derivative works
include things such as movies made from novels and other profitable
enterprises. If someone makes a film from a copyrighted novel then they
are infringing on the copyright holder's rights because they are stealing
"market value" from them. In that case it would be illegal for someone
to create such a derivative work.
BUT, in the case of frame enlargements, the copyright holders of films never
(well, hardly ever) make frame enlargements and sell them. Thus, frame
enlargements have no market value to them. If someone makes and sells
frame enlargements he/she istherefore NOT infringing on the copyright
because he/she is not decreasing the market value of the copyright.
At least, this was my understanding of Thompson's presentation.
As Thompson ended her presentation, "I think common sense would dictate,
don't ask (for permissions)."
P.S. Of course, this pertains solely to US copyright law. Any particulars
on Canadian or other country's copyright laws?