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January 2002, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 9 Jan 2002 10:53:03 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Jessica Rosner <[log in to unmask]>
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> From: Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 14:38:06 +0000
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Reply: video search
> Jessica Rosner writes:
>> Actually that would be BLACK market dealers. If you are going to buy
>> pirate bootlegs at least call them what they are. I know it
>> irresistible  tempting for film scholars to buy an illegal tape but just
>> don't blame us distributors if we can't afford to put out a "good" copy of
>> a film because no one will pay for it.
> If you're referring to people who obtain illegal copies when legal ones are
> readily available then I agree.  If, however, you're talking about a title
> which is not available legally, the situation becomes rather more
> complex.  On the one hand you could argue that a copyright owner can do
> what he or she likes with a film, including withholding it.  On the other,
> there is a freedom of information issue.  You could argue that a film which
> was once in the public domain is a legitimate object of study, and if a
> scholar cannot obtain a copy of it legally then he or she is morally
> justified in breaking the law.
> I would especially support that argument in cases where rerelease versions
> of a film, which are substantially different from their predecessors, are
> issued and the predecessors withdrawn.  For example, it is impossible to
> legally obtain prints of 'Fantasia' which predate the 1990 restoration in
> which the dancing piccaninies are airbrushed out.  The new version of
> 'Apocalypse Now' was made by recutting the camera negative precisely to
> ensure that the previous version will disappear.  Pre-1998 prints of 'Star
> Wars' with the original Dolby 'A' mix have also been totally withdrawn, and
> I wouldn't mind guessing that when the new version of 'ET' comes out later
> this year (changes include guns being digitally replaced with
> walkie-talkies), the existing version will also be withdrawn.
> Now, in the incredibly unlikely event that I would ever want to write a
> scholarly comparison of two versions of 'Star Wars' and I went to Geroge
> Lucas asking him to rent me a 1977 release print (or at least a print made
> off an intermediate element used to make the 1977 prints), he would
> refuse.  In these circumstances, would you blame me for attempting to
> obtain a black market copy?
> Incidentally, 'grey market' and 'black market' aren't exactly the same
> thing.  I understand 'grey market' to mean the retail sale of an object
> which is legal but against the wishes of the manufacturer.  For example, if
> I had bought 200 'Star Wars' videos before they were withdrawn in 1998,
> from a wholesaler and paying good money for them, I would be committing no
> crime if I were to sell them in a shop now, despite the fact that Lucas
> would not want me to.  If, on the other hand, I obtained a 35mm print from
> a collector, made a broadcast standard telecine transfer and sold VHS
> videos produced from it, that would be a breach of copyright law (not to
> mention possible theft of the print) and thus a 'black market' transaction.
> L
 You are more than welcome to get an out of print tape of a title since
changed. This is NOT grey or black market it is TOTALLY legit. Just because
someone recuts a film, they don't get to take back all previously issued
legal copies. Frankly this is a red herring. We all know that there is a
a LOT of plane old pirate video buying & dubbing going on ESPECIALLY in the
academic community and while I do understand the frustration that rights
holders have not made all there films available for your convenience, it is
still both illegal and WRONG. Companies like Kino & Milestone try very hard
to get and keep lots of wonderful films BUT since we actually have OBEY the
law and PAY ROYALTIES & guarantees , this is not so easy. It is VERY VERY
frustrating to know that Academics in particular often buy from Video Search
of Miami and other such bootleggers. One of the more amusing elements is
that these are almost always substandard copies. Please keep in mind that in
buying these pirate videos you are not just screwing some big studio which
may annoy you but lots of directors, actors, writers etc whose work you are
ripping off. I confess that I am often willing to forgive people who track
down pirate videos for specific & desperate private research but more often
it is done for either classroom use or personal pleasure , neither of which
justifies to me, ripping people off.

Just for the record, I assume no one on this list would object if I took all
of your published writings  posted them on the internet and made copies to
sell on my web site  and kept all profits to myself ( and don't laugh to
hard at the word profits, there are SOME film books that make money). Also I
assume it would also be ok if your institutions taped your lectures and
offered them as internet courses without paying you anything

Just wondering

Jessica Rosner

Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite