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February 1994


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Eric Rabkin <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 26 Feb 1994 12:45:50 EST
text/plain (47 lines)
>   Well then, according to Eric Rabkin, it would be very unwise for me to
> distribute the script sans permission...  I question the person I got the
> script from myself then...  Ah well...
>   So how would one go about getting permission to use a script anyway?  Say,
> if one were to produce it as a play or whatnot...  ;)  I'm still going to
> continue converting the script myself, so I can easily dissect it and
> repiece it for my own study...  So, despite the illegality of it, I'm going
> to continue my work, as I know that nothing >I< do with it will cause a
> major loss for Quentin Tarantino.
As far as I know, Josh, what you're proposing for yourself is fine.
Consider this: if I send you a paper letter that I have written, the
law says that you own the letter but I own the words on it.  This means
that you can sell the letter (as people do with letters from famous
folk), give it away, burn it, but what you can't do is _copy_ it;
that's what _copy_right is all about.  So if you have a copy of something
that was given to you, it may well be that it was a legitimate gift,
just as I can give you a copyrighted book that I bought.  And, under
the fair use doctrine, you can play around with the contents of that
book all you like...just so long as you don't include in that
playing around something equivalent to copying.  My guess is
that making an e-text of your own for analysis by you would
be considered fair use; making that e-text available to others
would not, even in an educational setting.  After all, authors
live on the royalties paid for copies of their work.
So, how do you get permission?  Usually copyrights are held by
authors or by those who copy the author's work.  In the case of
books, those copiers are usually publishers.  In the case of films,
those copiers are usually producers.  I'd write to Tarantino and
to the film's producers asking for permission, explaining what
you want to do and why, and pleading poverty.  For reprinting in
scholarly books, for example, copyright holders often charge $0.00
because they know that such publication will not infringe on their
market and will generate interest in their product.
Good luck!
Eric Rabkin                [log in to unmask]
Department of English      [log in to unmask]
University of Michigan     office    : 313-764-2553
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1045    dept      : 313-764-6330
                           deptl fax : 313-763-3128
                           voice msgs: 313-763-3130