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Old 01-05-2019, 08:47 AM   #1
Ralph Sir Edward
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Why Hollywood didn't fight for copyright extension in 2019

I wondered why Hollyweird wasn't at the barricades to protect things from going into the public domain in 2019.

I just found out the answer. . .

Here's the Sonny Bono (AKA The Mickey Mouse Protection Act) Act:

https://www.copyright.gov/legislation/s505.pdf

"SEC. 102. DURATION OF COPYRIGHT PROVISIONS.
(a) PREEMPTION WITH RESPECT TO OTHER LAWS
.—Section 301(c)
of title 17, United States Code, is amended by striking ‘‘February
15, 2047’’ each place it appears and inserting ‘‘February 15, 2067’’.
(b) DURATION OF COPYRIGHT: WORKS CREATED ON OR AFTER
JANUARY 1, 1978.—Section 302 of title 17, United States Code,
is amended—
(1) in subsection (a) by striking ‘‘fifty’’ and inserting ‘‘70’’;
(2) in subsection (b) by striking ‘‘fifty’’ and inserting ‘‘70’’;
(3) in subsection (c) in the first sentence—
(A) by striking ‘‘seventy-five’’ and inserting ‘‘95’’; and
(B) by striking ‘‘one hundred’’ and inserting ‘‘120’’;
and
(4) in subsection (e) in the first sentence—
(A) by striking ‘‘seventy-five’’ and inserting ‘‘95’’;
(B) by striking ‘‘one hundred’’ and inserting ‘‘120’’;
and
(C) by striking ‘‘fifty’’ each place it appears and insert-
ing ‘‘70’’.
"

Item B (bolded) is for corporate copyright items, which includes films. Those copyrights aren't expiring until 2044. . .
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:41 AM   #2
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I wondered why Hollyweird wasn't at the barricades to protect things from going into the public domain in 2019.
The biggish book companies that are losing out, because of their titles having gone into the U.S. public domain this week, are the likes of Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins. Although sometimes treated as arrogant corporate behemoths on Mobileread, either their armies of lobbyists have massively failed, or -- more likely to me -- they don't have an army of lobbyists.

As for movies released after 1977, that's seems to me about when Rex Reed started using words like mess, pointless, and incoherent in most of his film reviews. So I'm not too upset about that side.

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 01-05-2019 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:48 AM   #3
Ralph Sir Edward
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Hollywood was providing all the lobbyists. . .
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Old 01-05-2019, 02:00 PM   #4
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There is a point, where even the most jaded politician has to say "ENOUGH!"
Walt is Dead (1966) , most of those that painted the Cells are dead

I always thought life plus 50 was absurd. +70 could exceed the lifespan of the next generation.

I can see the Kids inheriting the royalties. They had to put up with "Not Now!, I have a deadline to meet" or "No one bought my latest, we will be eating beans for awhile".
But Grand kids or Great Grand kids reaping the efforts that were made before they were born???

Why not the kids of Engineers? Some of the devices that my Dad worked on long hours are still in use (or laid the foundation for the modern version)?
I am quite sure there are other proffessions where the family took back seat to work.
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Old 01-05-2019, 02:04 PM   #5
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There is a point, where even the most jaded politician has to say "ENOUGH!"
Walt is Dead (1966) , most of those that painted the Cells are dead

I always thought life plus 50 was absurd. +70 could exceed the lifespan of the next generation.

I can see the Kids inheriting the royalties. They had to put up with "Not Now!, I have a deadline to meet" or "No one bought my latest, we will be eating beans for awhile".
But Grand kids or Great Grand kids reaping the efforts that were made before they were born???

Why not the kids of Engineers? Some of the devices that my Dad worked on long hours are still in use (or laid the foundation for the modern version)?
I am quite sure there are other proffessions where the family took back seat to work.
The point is not those people. It is a Corporation (that effectively lives forever), owning and treating a copyright as a piece of property, which it isn't. The goal of the corporate senior managers (which change faces every few years, in perpetuity) to milk the assets forever. And bribe enough Congressmen to keep the system going for them. . .

Last edited by Ralph Sir Edward; 01-06-2019 at 11:13 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:28 AM   #6
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My personal idea on copyright is that after an initial short copyright period, that copyright should expire if it's not commercially available in a common format for 10 years. Past that corporate copyright isn't really a battle I'm that interested in fighting.

As a movie buff, my primary objection to movie copyright is the number of works that are lost over the years because of copyright. That's why I strongly support the idea that to obtain copyright for books, music and movies, you should have to provide two copies of the work in a common format to the Library of Congress (US copyright, of course).

It's going to be a long time before 120 verses 100 becomes significant. I suspect that most of the silent era movies lapsed into PD before 78. A lot of movies, even up through the 60's have lapsed into PD simply because they didn't have enough long term commercial value for the copyright holder to make the effort.

I recently noticed that a number of the old Tarzan movies have popped up in iTunes. I'm pretty sure they were not there a year ago. It makes me wonder if the copyright holder finally cleaned them up and released them, or if they had lapsed into PD. Not exactly great art, but a tremendous cultural icon. The old movie Tarzan yell is instantly recognizable to most people of my generation. I grew up watching old Tarzan movies on TV.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:32 AM   #7
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The point is not those people. It is a Corporation (that effectively lives forever), owning and treating a copyright as a piece of property, which it isn't. The goal of the corporate senior managers (which change faces every few years, in perpetuity) to milk the assets forever. And bribe enough Congressmen to keep te system going for them. . .
I wonder a bit at what's the oldest movie that has significant commercial value. Certainly there are quite a few classics from the mid 30's that people still watch. I'm not sure that any of the old silent movies have much commercial value. I do agree with your main point, though.
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:48 AM   #8
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I wonder a bit at what's the oldest movie that has significant commercial value. Certainly there are quite a few classics from the mid 30's that people still watch. I'm not sure that any of the old silent movies have much commercial value. I do agree with your main point, though.
You should watch Wings (1927). William A. Wellman, the Director, John Monk Saunders, the writer and Richard Arlen all were combat pilots in WW I. The aerial combat footage is superb and ahead of it's time.
Silent films by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the incredible Harold Lloyd are very entertaining and still relevant today. These are just a few examples.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:12 AM   #9
Ralph Sir Edward
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My personal idea on copyright is that after an initial short copyright period, that copyright should expire if it's not commercially available in a common format for 10 years. Past that corporate copyright isn't really a battle I'm that interested in fighting.

As a movie buff, my primary objection to movie copyright is the number of works that are lost over the years because of copyright. That's why I strongly support the idea that to obtain copyright for books, music and movies, you should have to provide two copies of the work in a common format to the Library of Congress (US copyright, of course).

It's going to be a long time before 120 verses 100 becomes significant. I suspect that most of the silent era movies lapsed into PD before 78. A lot of movies, even up through the 60's have lapsed into PD simply because they didn't have enough long term commercial value for the copyright holder to make the effort.

I recently noticed that a number of the old Tarzan movies have popped up in iTunes. I'm pretty sure they were not there a year ago. It makes me wonder if the copyright holder finally cleaned them up and released them, or if they had lapsed into PD. Not exactly great art, but a tremendous cultural icon. The old movie Tarzan yell is instantly recognizable to most people of my generation. I grew up watching old Tarzan movies on TV.
The Tarzan Movies were released by the controlling studio on DVD over a decade ago.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:02 PM   #10
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The Tarzan Movies were released by the controlling studio on DVD over a decade ago.
Could be, but they weren't on iTunes.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:30 AM   #11
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Could be, but they weren't on iTunes.
Separate licence.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:00 AM   #12
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There are a good number of PD films available online to watch or download. Click Some of them surprised me. Films like "And Then There were None" for example. I'd have thought they'd keep that in copyright as long as possible but it lapsed somehow.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:34 AM   #13
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My personal idea on copyright is that after an initial short copyright period, that copyright should expire if it's not commercially available in a common format for 10 years.
That seems in line with what the U.S. Constitution says:
Quote:
"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
To me this implies that the intention was for copyright to expire within the lifetime of the author.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:01 AM   #14
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There are a good number of PD films available online to watch or download. Click Some of them surprised me. Films like "And Then There were None" for example. I'd have thought they'd keep that in copyright as long as possible but it lapsed somehow.
Crich70, before the pre Berne(ish) copyright law of 1978 change, a copyright was good for 28 years, which could be extended for another 28 years, if a form was filled out and a modest fee paid to the US Copyright office. It that wasn't done with in a certain window, (I think it was a year, but I could be wrong on that) the work fell into the public domain.

Since motion pictures were created under the "work-for-hire" rules, the corporate ownership was responsible for renewing the copyright. That was not always done. (The company could go bankrupt, and the people buying the assets might not have a complete list of movie assets; or some clerk could just "fall down on the job" and not send in the paperwork. (His Girl Friday, for example.))

Hollywood created over 100,000 film titles before the 1978 copyright act changed the rules, (including things like shorts, newsreels, serials, and other subjects); less than 1% "fell though the cracks". . . .
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:47 PM   #15
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I wonder a bit at what's the oldest movie that has significant commercial value...
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You should watch Wings (1927)...
Silent films by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the incredible Harold Lloyd are very entertaining and still relevant today. These are just a few examples.
Sure. But there's a difference between entertaining and having commercial value.

Off the top of my head, I think the oldest films that still have significant commercial value would be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) or The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind (1939). I'd bet Wizard and Gone are more commercially significant than Snow White.
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