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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

January 18, 2010

STUPID NETWORK EXECUTIVE TRICKS

Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing - When Jack Benny fans discovered that the CBS vaults contained some 25 original Jack Benny TV show episodes previously thought lost, they rejoiced. They approached the network for release of the public-domain footage, even offering to foot the bill for digital transfer and preservation. CBS balked, insisting that the fan club get approval from the Benny estate. No problem: Jack Benny's descendants were only too glad to have his original TV shows rescued from obscurity and given to the world.

But CBS balked again, citing unspecified "issues" (presumably potential copyrights in the score or other materials). Basically, CBS has decided that it could cost too much to pay a lawyer to figure out if they can release these films -- or even turn them over to Benny's fans and family for release -- and so it has decided to simply abandon them, sealing them back up in the vault forever.

This isn't how it's supposed to work. In the Constitution's progress clause, Congress is empowered to "promote the progress of the arts" through copyright. When copyright creates these deadlocks that doom America's artistic heritage to history's scrapheap, copyright needs to change.


1 Comments:

Anonymous hawkwind said...

These belong in the Smithsonian. There is a fundamental problem with the idea of "owning" art. Copyright needs to be fundamentally changed so that a copyright owner has the right to profit from a work for a very limited time, in a very limited way... after which the work becomes part of the public domain, for later generations to enjoy, as a part of our shared culture. Oh wait, that's how it used to actually work!

January 19, 2010 7:11 AM  

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