(no subject)

From: Wayne M. Smith <wmsmith_at_earthlink.net>
Date: Sun Jan 19 20:22:01 2003

> Wayne M. Smith wrote:
> > I wasn't arguing anything.
> It seems to me that you were disputing the idea that works
> entering the public domain would be a good thing. Maybe I
> misremember what you wrote earlier. If so, I apologize.
No. The original premise of my post was that in some circumstances if
works are kept out of the public domain they are taken better care of.

> > UCLA is not going to "restore" a public domain picture like Royal
> > Wedding, because it doesn't need restoring. The original
> > interpositives reside in a temperature controlled vault in Colorado
> > and are in relatively good shape. Nor, however, is anyone going to
> > spend the money (usually around $200,000) it would require
> to prepare
> > a new master from the original source materials and do the
> necessary
> > clean up on the audio and video. Sure, there are some
> people who will
> > spend the extra dollars for restored print, but not nearly
> enough to
> > justify the cost.
> So it seems like your position is:
> 1) With the current perptual copyright system, there will never be a
> good "restored" version of Royal Wedding, because the
> studio doesn't
> believe it would make (sufficient) money from it.
Royal Wedding was used as an example to demonstrate that owned films are
taken care of by their owners, whereas public domain films, with the
exception of certain "classics", usually are not. It went PD after 28
years and so doesn't really bear at all on the so-called perpetual
copyright system issues. And, it isn't a matter of making "sufficient"
money (which suggests that there's money to be made, just not enough),
it's a matter of how much you want to lose.

> 2) If worked entered the public domain, there would never be a good
> "restored" version of them, because no one would have the original
> interpositives to work from, and no one would be willing to spend
> the money.
It's not because no one has the interpositives to work from, it's
because the party that has the interpositives won't make the investment
because the existence of cheap, low-quality, public domain versions
dooms any ability to recoup the cost.

> Since the end result of both options is the same, this hardly
> seems to be a compelling argument for NOT allowing copyrights
> to expire.

There is no contradiction. Royal Wedding is an example of what happens
when the copyright does expire. For better or worse, the property is
neglected. If it was owned, it would be taken care of and you could
purchase a beautiful remastered print -- assuming you're a fan of the
MGM musical genre.

> For software, where the cost of "remastering" an old release
> would be negligible, there's even less rationale for a
> copyright system that allows a copyright owner to suppress
> copying and distribution of old works.

There, I agree with you. Film is a special case because the expression
of the work is tied to physical "analog" materials that tend to
deterioriate. Software, has been digital since its creation and
therefore susceptible to cheap, perfect copies.

Received on Sun Jan 19 2003 - 20:22:01 GMT

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