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  •  The logical falsehood (0+ / 0-)

    Is in this idea that films are instantly profitable. Often times, it takes 20 years for a film to actually turn a profit. The New Superman film needs to net a billion dollars before the studio actually sees a profit. For other films, it's a lot more.

    Most films need to earn their entire budget back during the opening weekend to be a success. Piracy has effected the industry to this extent. The longer the film plays, the more likely it will be stolen.

    The studio that fronted the money typically only sees a profit after a great many years of DVD and VHS sales. The remakes of films, twenty, thirty, and sometimes 50 years later are often times more successful than the originals. Factor in sequels, and the possession and ownership of an intellectual property, actually helps maintain our film industry.

    Hypothetically, say Universal Studios wants to remake JAWS. They own the rights to it, certainly. But, they also have to pay Peter Benchly's family for every sequel or remake.

    Under your new proposal, after 28 years, anyone could make a sequel or remake JAWS. Meanwhile, Peter Benchley's family recieves nothing - which is completely unfair.

    The other thing you fail to take into consideration is that unions negociate their deals with the studios, in large part, based on the promise of future income from residuals.

    This directly effects our insurance and pension, which the studios have to pay a generous amount into our funds. Because of the wealth generated by the excessively long copyrights, older writers and actors, and other tradesmen can continue their heathcare coverage because of these residuals.

    As a writer, a 28 year cap on copyright would steal money out of my own pockets, and my children. It also threatens the insurance and pension plans of nearly 100,000 other people.

    I should also point out that a majority of these people are Democrats, by enacting a 28 year copyright, you're actually stealing money from the coffers of Democratic candidates and progressive causes. Just something you should consider.

    Baby, you're the kind of gal, who makes a guy wanna dig his own grave...and lick the shovel clean.

    by harrylimelives on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 07:30:39 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I doubt it. (0+ / 0-)

      Is in this idea that films are instantly profitable. Often times, it takes 20 years for a film to actually turn a profit.

      In a rare case where a movie gets say, 95% of its costs back in the first couple of years, it might get over the hump 20 years later.  In the vast majority of cases it is abundantly clear whether the movie is in the black or the red 20 years later.  Very few movies that lost money in the first couple of years make it up in the following 18 years of video rentals.

      Most films need to earn their entire budget back during the opening weekend to be a success. Piracy has effected the industry to this extent. The longer the film plays, the more likely it will be stolen.

      This was true long before piracy was a serious issue.  Prior to the 1970s the only way a movie made money at all was in theaters.  Then and now, re-releases of films after the first run are very rare and often very small in revenue.  It was rare, even pre-1970s for a film to be in theaters more than six months.

      The studio that fronted the money typically only sees a profit after a great many years of DVD and VHS sales.

      I can't think of a single movie that fits this category.  See above.   It is the movies that did well in the first place either in theaters or in the initial release on video, that get big DVD and VHS.

      The remakes of films, twenty, thirty, and sometimes 50 years later are often times more successful than the originals. Factor in sequels, and the possession and ownership of an intellectual property, actually helps maintain our film industry.

      Hypothetically, say Universal Studios wants to remake JAWS. They own the rights to it, certainly. But, they also have to pay Peter Benchly's family for every sequel or remake.

      Under your new proposal, after 28 years, anyone could make a sequel or remake JAWS. Meanwhile, Peter Benchley's family recieves nothing - which is completely unfair.

      Why is that unfair?  What is so bad about an unauthorized remake 30 years later?  Peter Benchley had his chance to get it right the first time and made good money doing so.  The value of a sequel decreases greatly after 30 years.  The vast majority of sequels are made shortly after the original film while it is still hot.

      Is the world worse off because people do remakes of Shakespear plays without paying the author royalties?  No.  Indeed, had existing copyright laws been in place back then, most of Shakespear's plays would have never been made because many of them were themselves remakes.

      The other thing you fail to take into consideration is that unions negociate their deals with the studios, in large part, based on the promise of future income from residuals.

      This directly effects our insurance and pension, which the studios have to pay a generous amount into our funds. Because of the wealth generated by the excessively long copyrights, older writers and actors, and other tradesmen can continue their heathcare coverage because of these residuals.

      Unions negotiate their deals with studios largely based on the likely first run income.  Long term (i.e. 28 year plus) residual are a miniscule part of the bargain and very few people in a production get any meaningful residual at all.

      As a writer, a 28 year cap on copyright would steal money out of my own pockets, and my children. It also threatens the insurance and pension plans of nearly 100,000 other people.

      Not impressed.  The vast majority of those 100,000 other people are going to make the bulk of their money in 28 years.  If you have a work that was so successful that it is still making money 28 years later, you did fine.  A copyright isn't some sort of natural right, it is a special privilege, a form of government pork, designed to give you a little helping hand.  Going forward, there is nothing unfair about that.  

      Obviously, there are property law issues with simply abolishing existing rights.  I would propose something like a mass buyout of all existing copyrights where anyone who wanted to hold onto their rights for existing works could submit a request to do so with a report on all earnings received to day.  This would go into a formula which would provide a generous estimate of future earnings based upon that amount.  Copyright holders could cash out and sell the work to the public domain, or elect to keep their rights at that point.  

      A huge buyout like that would allow the handful of copyrights with real economic value to stay in place, while buying up for the public domain the vast majority of copyrighted works.

      I should also point out that a majority of these people are Democrats, by enacting a 28 year copyright, you're actually stealing money from the coffers of Democratic candidates and progressive causes. Just something you should consider.

      The vast majority of the value of outstanding copyrights has already been sold to publishers and record companies and studios.  

      The other thing is that it would reduce deadweight adminstrative costs and royalty costs for a huge class of people creating new works which involve performances or derivate works from the newly enlarged public domain.  We'd gain more than we would lose.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

      by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 09:22:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolute nonsense (0+ / 0-)

        Which is the exact reason why your arguement will fail. A lot. You display an almost uncanny lack of knowledge of how the film industry actually works.

        Film A is released into the theatres. It has a budget of 100 million dollars. It has a marketing cost of another 40 million dollars. It has hard cost for prints, shipping, customs, and other costs of 10 million.

        Bringing the total cost of Film A to 150 million dollars. It has a theatrical run of 6 weeks, netting a total gross of a 150 million dollars.

        Now, 25 cents of every dollar is kept by the movie theatres. The profit sharing by the producers, actors, writers, directors, and crew members comes to another 25 cents on the dollars. (Of their take, 25 cents of every dollars goes towards lawyers, agents, and managers).

        Already, 50 cents of every dollar is gone. Meaning, that while the gross take for the film is 150 million dollars, it has actually only earned 75 million dollars.

        The film is released on DVD. And, in its first DVD run, it earns a gross of 40 million dollars. One fourth of that goes towards profit sharing. So, it only takes in 30 million dollars, leaving it still 45 million dollars in the red.

        That's 45 million dollars that needs to be made during television presentations around the world, and subsequent dvd releases (Including difference formats)

        Often times, it takes 20 years for the original investors to make their money back on a film.

        And what's so bad about an unauthorized remake 28 years later? It's stealing. Benchly wrote the novel, created the characters. Created the scenario. JAWS belongs to him.

        What you're advocating is the redistribution of wealth through copyright infringement. If someone has a burning desire to make a movie, why don't they create their own damn work instead of stealing from others?

        As for insurance, the unions negotiate with the Studios for insurance and pension plans. It's not just first run. You need to earn X number of dollars every year to qualify. 20 years down the road, those residuals ensure that the actual union members still qualify for their insurance.

        More importantly, you're under the false impression that people lucky enough to work in the film and television industry are instantly millionaires. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        The vast majority of these guys are carpenters, and gaffers, and electrical guys. Tradesmen, making 15 to 20 bucks an hour. Their long term insurance, 30 years down the line, is soley dependent on copyrights - and the idea that a studio will continue to make money on a film, long after its been made.

        Long term residuals pay for insurance. It's a fact. Frankly, it's frightening that you've lost the forest in the trees, because your plan will negatively impact thousands of people.

        I hope you're ignored as a fool.

        Baby, you're the kind of gal, who makes a guy wanna dig his own grave...and lick the shovel clean.

        by harrylimelives on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 10:59:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No he want be (0+ / 0-)

          unfortunately there are a lot of peo like him running around online. when I tried in earnest to discuss the issue with Stoller over at mydd, he said that I was bogging the discussion down with legalese. Apparently you can have a discussion of copyright law without understanding the law or the business outcomes to real people.

        •  The revenue curve for movies is a lot more steep (0+ / 0-)

          than you suggest.

          The fact that Hollywood has devised a bad way to pay for insurance has nothing to do with it.

          I certainly don't think that the film and television industry makes instant millionaires.  But, the hourly guys, by and large, are simply getting paid by the hour.  They are getting ordinary income out of copyrights.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

          by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 02:26:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The once again (0+ / 0-)

            You don't know a helluva lot about the industry.

            Which is nice though, considering that you have no problem putting people out of work, and forcing them to lose their coverage, just so you can get a free copy of that fucking Bee Gees album you've had your eye on for so long.

            Baby, you're the kind of gal, who makes a guy wanna dig his own grave...and lick the shovel clean.

            by harrylimelives on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 08:28:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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