Well, I think its obvious from the above back and forth that viewing older material that is not seen as profitable can be nearly impossible, and only serves to strengthen the free and illegal traffic in this material. The only thing that I can do at this point is ask fellow film lovers for leads on the boards on the various film websites, sometimes with no result. Its still fun to try though.
I agree with you 100%. If something's for sale or rent you should pay for it. It helps the artists, if they're still alive. Stealing is stealing. If the piece is not for sale however, I'm not sure how anyone makes any money. Except lawyers. Worst of all, the great work is lost. I'm pretty sure the thing I'm looking for exists only on someone's dusty shelf of homemade vhs tapes of broadcast tv. No one is taking care of the hard work of these people, and making sure its preserved, or shown, or enjoyed, so I'm still going to try to see it whatever way I can. I'm not going to sell it if I get it though.
When youtube began (all those years ago... ) they had a ten minute limit, precisely to emphasise that they did not want movies being uploaded. As the site has become a favourite for the media to advertise/go viral on, I would guess they have made it so Users with certain criteria can upload to unlimited extents. I suppose the technical ability of internet transmission also has something to do with it. There's someone uploading old movies (that I have noticed) at the moment who is blatantly responding to requests and saying he'll upload them quick........ so download them while you can, as he'll probably get *reported* sooner or later. I do wonder if youtube is being a bit silly about this, in the present climate of the FBI arresting people in New Zealand.........
If sombody in say, Australia, uploads an entire film that is not available on DVD anywhere (and is unlikely to be in the forseeable future) and it is being offered to view for free (so there is no element of profiteering on the back of somebody else's work), I do not really have any issue with this, compared with bootleggers selling DVDRs of rare films on E-Bay or I-Offer for personal financial gain, which I disapprove of......
If the film is pre-1950, most of those who might be legally entitled to a small payment will have passed on, so it is only their sons/daughters, nephews etc.who would collect, and for an obscure film, their chances of collecting anything at all would be very remote !
Last edited by julian_craster; 27-01-12 at 09:38 AM.
Films (and other media) have had their copyright extended for a fair while now in the US Copyright Term Extension Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and I suspect that when we see stuff about to expire copyright (95 years), then the Sonny Bono Act will get yet another extention. Walt Disney et al lobbied for it, because while they have copyright, they have revenue (The first Micky Mouse cartoon was in 1928, so you can see why Disney might be interested in an extention). Although the UK has 70 years at present, its not impossible to see a new act extending this period as well.
Its true that films prior to 1923 have gone, but you can see the commercial value of keeping the copyright on a property, etc - its a long-term asset. The downside of copyright for this long is that it simply provides revenue for a huge media company basicilly forever, and keeps in the vaults stuff that we might want to see.
The upside is that because it is an asset, there is an interest in preserving material, and if it can be monerized, then it might be. Silents(and most prewar films) were generally written off once they'd been shown - unless it was Gone With the Wind, most were seen as one shot deals. Its why the TV rights were often sold so cheaply in the late forties. Huge number of silents were melted down for the silver. No company is going to make those mistakes again, and if someone in a big company which has the rights to a film think they can make money from selling us a DVD, etc, then they will try to supply that demand.
On the other hand, if they don't get any money from it, because of piracy, they won't bother. As Steve puts it, they won't 'let any more out of the vaults'.
In this digital age I can't see disks lasting long, they will be replaced by streaming I suppose. I prefer my films on disk but wonder how many years we will be able to buy them?
Blockbusters in the States have closed down about half their stores and the likes of Netflix is booming The only readily available source of some old material in years to come may be the likes of youtube where a film fan uploads a movie for others to view, legal or not unless people like the BFI go online and allow digital access.
eh44's Channel - YouTube
This link takes you to my You tube Channel where I am trying to showcase largely forgotten films from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Whilst arguments about copyrights continue to abound, the truth is that many films from this period are "orphan works" where the copyright holders are unknown, but because of the copyright technicality the films remain largely unseen. This is quite clearly a ridiculous situation, if nobody is around to claim copyright the idea that showing the films infringes someone's mythical copyright is clearly a nonsense.
Fortunately the government has recognized the absurdity of this situation, and legislation is being planned that will make the use of "orphan works" much easier. Hopefully this will allow more works to be made more freely available.
With regards to You Tube, I have posted about 40 full feature films to my channel, all of which I either believe to be "orphan works" or films that have not been made available by their respective copyright holders for many years. When a video is posted, You Tube immediately informs the uploader if they are aware of any copyright infringement. So far they have not flagged up any of the films as such, but they have had concerns about some musical content of some films. To play safe, I have deleted those that they were concerned about and will continue to respect any official communications from You tube.
It is true that there are plenty of more suspect entries on other You Tube channels, people who upload full films that are currently available as official dvd releases are asking for trouble. There are even people who rip their dvds directly to You Tube. Publishers like Studio Canal obviously take a very dim view of this and to my mind rightly so. Posting orphan works though helps to introduce these long lost items to new viewers for the first time, and I personally do not see anything wrong in this.
Maybe one day all the rights holders such as Studio Canal will have their entire libraries on line, so interested people can either stream or download them having paid a fee to the rights holders. Wishful thinking? Maybe 10 years on this will be reality, 10 years ago the thought of streaming or downloading any films was unkown (remember 256kb dial up connections?)
It's absurd when there are totally different laws in different countries. The American law seems to only grant copyright for a short while but with the option to renew it again and again. If it isn't renewed then it falls into "public domain".
The trouble is that many Americans (especially those selling copies of the films) seem to think, or claim, that British titles are in public domain when they aren't
Thank you for your channel. Its helping me to see films I wouldn't have known about otherwise. I just can't buy everything, and buying a film I've never seen sometimes results in disappointment. I'd like to see it and then decide, and you help me do that, so thanks, you're great.
The problem we have here now is that every time a copyright on say a Mickey Mouse cartoon is about to expire Disney or some other studio runs to congress and uses it's political clout to get the law change to protect the expiring film. Then of course, there's cases where they've gotten copyrights on films that have been PD for decades re-instated. The best example of that is Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
Short of being a copyright lawyer I don't think anybody knows what's what with the laws. Sounds like the British system is better.
Climbing High is now on Youtube.
Hi, a couple of months ago I watched 'Yield to the night' in full on you-tube, looking for it a couple of days ago it no longer appears to be available, would anyone know why?
I was going to watch the womens Prison drama 'The weak and willing' which was also available in full, but that too seems to have disappeared.