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View Diary: Illegal to Show Landmark MLK Civil Rights Documentary (107 comments)

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  •  Don't mean to second guess Blackside (none)
    but I gotta wonder: didn't they see this coming?  I understand the cost differential would have ballooned the budget, but it seems that the best long-term strategy is to clear life of copyright.

    They could have written their original grants, proposals, etc to cover the addl expense.

    Like I said, I don't want to second-guess cuz I wasn't there, but it does seem a little odd...

    "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by grannyhelen on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 10:38:33 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  People who are good filmmakers (4.00)
      aren't always good businessmen.  And since there's so little profit in documentaries to begin with, unless your first name is Michael and your last name is Moore, most documentarians have to do all the grant writing and rights clearances themselves.  Trying to get as much money up on the screen as possible, most negotiate the minimum licenses available hoping that when and if a distributor comes in they will wave a magic wand and their Business Affairs department will make all copyright issues go away.

      What is odd is that PBS, who distributed the series on television and on video, did not have their lawyers get in and sort out the extension of rights issue before they expired.  They probably figured there was not enough profit in it relative to what they would have to spend.  But that's what a Business Affairs department is for.

      •  That's true (none)
        You gotta wonder what PBS was thinking then...5 years on a distribution deal is a pretty short term.

        "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by grannyhelen on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 12:25:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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