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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 12:01 pm 
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The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:
Not sure if anyone is on Flicker Alley's e-mail list, but sadly A Page of Madness will be a MOD Blu-Ray only. A shame as with proper word of mouth and buzz, I feel like it would be perfect for rediscovery by younger audiences.

I was half anticipating Criterion to pick this up. In retrospect, I'm not sure why as Criterion's silent blu-ray output has been rather paltry & not particularly good (not to mention the releases themselves are a bit half-hearted, ie. lacking extras & only including one score). In the early days of blu-ray I was hoping Criterion would do a separate off-shoot label for silents ala Eclipse, but there's probably no money in it, so our best hope is with a UK label.

If anyone is in the San Francisco area. A Page Of Madness is on the schedule for the SF Silent Film Festival next Saturday night w/ The Alloy Orchestra accompanying.


Last edited by Lowry_Sam on Sun May 28, 2017 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 12:03 pm 
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The BFI and MoC are by far the best UK labels for silent films in terms of experience and breadth of existing catalogue, and there's little to choose between them.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 7:23 pm 
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Flicker Alley might not even have the rights to A Page of Madness - thus why they dumped it on BD-R. Flicker Alley has acted as PD Bandits in many instances in the past (releasing things that other companies actually own the rights to, but the film is in public domain) - such as Nanook, Italian Straw Hat, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 8:36 pm 
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Minkin wrote:
(releasing things that other companies actually own the rights to, but the film is in public domain)
That’s a complete oxymoron, no one can “own the rights to” something that’s in the public domain. A company can exclusively license a restoration of a PD film or have exclusive access to original elements, but this is the first I’ve ever heard Flicker Alley characterized as being less than above-board.

The transfer of The Italian Straw Hat on Flicker Alley’s DVD is taken from the original camera negative, and the scan of Nanook is from a digital restoration drawn from archival prints from the BFI, MoMA, and The Royal Belgian Film Archive. I can’t imagine they could have gotten ahold of those illegitimately.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 12:37 am 
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Werewolf by Night wrote:
Minkin wrote:
(releasing things that other companies actually own the rights to, but the film is in public domain)
That’s a complete oxymoron, no one can “own the rights to” something that’s in the public domain. A company can exclusively license a restoration of a PD film or have exclusive access to original elements, but this is the first I’ve ever heard Flicker Alley characterized as being less than above-board.
I think you've misunderstood what public domain entails. Works can fall into public domain to which any person can sell/profit/reproduce the work - but the original rights are still tied back to somebody - who usually hold original elements as well. Carnival of Souls is in the public domain, but Criterion licensed the film from Matthew Irvine and Peter Soby Jr*. Night of the Living Dead is PD but the new restoration (restorations can by copyrighted) is going to be licensed from MPI / Romero. Works may be in public domain, but somebody still owns them / owns rights. Its just a matter of whether you want to work with the rightsholders to exploit the film.

To my knowledge, Criterion has never released something without having acquired the official rights to it (despite all of the idiotic speculation by people in the Criterion UK thread at Blu-ray.com). They've even done the opposite: the WC Fields 6 Films was taken OOP when Cohen acquired the rights to the shorts - even though they're PD. Sure, its an expense and more of a formality to get official rights from the licenseholder for PD films, but I know even Shout Factory doesn't just release PD stuff for the hell of it - as there's still a potential threat for a lawsuit (the soundtrack could not be PD - as is the case with Charade) + the license holder usually owns the OCN- so its far safer / better to err on the side of acquiring rights.

Thus Flicker Alley doesn't own rights to Nanook, Most Dangerous Game, Italian Straw Hat and a few others. Criterion /Janus owns the rights to those three films. That Flicker Alley was able to release DVDs is only due to their PD status. Whereas Criterion will eventually release Nanook, having acquired the rights from the Flaherty estate. So its annoying that Flicker Alley one-upped Criterion with a poorer quality Blu (not original elements) when they didn't own any rights to the films - and were only able to release them because they were PD. I'm guessing Criterion might have (re)released the films sooner if not for Flicker Alley.

Many archives are willing to work with DVD labels with PD material. Kino has their Library of Congress PD line - despite the fact that WB owns most of those films. Flicker Alley does not own any rights to the three films I've mentioned (unless they did a restoration themselves and copyrighted that restoration - but the films themselves - no). Here was the information about Criterion re-licensing Nanook. And here's a rare reply from Mulvaney about Nanook.

Thus back to my original point: Flicker Alley releasing A Page of Madness does not necessarily mean they've acquired the rights to it.

*Interestingly, Peter Soby Jr was the producer for the 1998 remake of Carnival of Souls. Criterion originally licensed the film from MPI, then the re-release from Irvine +Soby. So I assume that Soby/Irvine acquired the rights to the original film when they made the remake. Here's more info on Soby / Irvine buying the rights to Carnival of Souls. Looks like they put the rights up for sale through MPI the first time around, and Criterion licensed it directly from them for the re-release. Which again proves my original point. Legend Films acted as Flicker Alley in this situation - putting out a blu of Carnival of Souls themselves, just because its PD.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 4:01 am 

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While I claim no expertise on these matters (and agree with the broad thrust of Minkin's argument), I think each case has to be individually unpicked from legal, moral and commercial perspectives, especially with silent films.

Minkin wrote:
Flicker Alley has acted as PD Bandits in many instances in the past (releasing things that other companies actually own the rights to, but the film is in public domain) - such as Nanook, Italian Straw Hat, etc.

I don't know what specific arrangements Criterion have made with the Flaherty Estate, but any discussion of Nanook must surely take into account that the late David Shepard, founder of Film Preservation Associates and Flicker Alley producer, restored the film - consulting Frances Flaherty - in 1972 and Criterion were happy to work with him and use his restoration on their DVD. (On my German Arte DVD, which uses the same Timothy Brock score, the Nanook restoration is copyrighted to FPA.) Even at last year's San Francisco Silent Film Festival the credit reads: "Print Source: The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. Film Restoration: David Shepard". Perhaps Criterion can trump the FA release, if there's sufficient market, but given the history of this film, I don't think Flicker Alley can be accurately described as acting in this case "as PD bandits" (such releases are also not generally noted for the copious relevant extras supplied by FA).

Minkin wrote:
the WC Fields 6 Films was taken OOP when Cohen acquired the rights to the shorts - even though they're PD.

According to this Nitrateville thread The Pharmacist and The Barber Shop are still under copyright, while The Dentist and The Fatal Glass of Beer are PD, accounting for their inclusion in Flicker Alley's Sennett set (supporting Minkin's argument). I don't own the Criterion DVD but I assume they licensed the six films from the Rohauer Collection and when that was eventually acquired by Cohen it was simply a case of one or both parties not wishing to renew the licence. Of course, Rohauer's methods of acquisition and copyrighting (generally) have often been questioned from both legal and ethical standpoints... but that's another story.

As I recall commenting at the time, I did think it was misleading of Flicker Alley to choose to reissue the 2000 FPA/Image DVD of Lang's Destiny (especially the reference to a "new" orchestral score) just ahead of the restored version of Der müde Tod. But I presume they were perfectly within their rights to do so, at least within North America.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 11:12 pm 
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Quote:
I think you've misunderstood what public domain entails. Works can fall into public domain to which any person can sell/profit/reproduce the work - but the original rights are still tied back to somebody


this is a little misleading, since "original rights" is a vague term.

a film may be in the public domain, but a particular restoration can be copyrighted and thus under exclusive license, or certain elements might be held by parties that will only release them under license. in this case a restoration is not entirely unlike a "critical edition" of a classic novel—the novel itself is in the public domain, but the scholarly annotations constitute a copyrightable work. so I could print up and sell a bare-bones version of Huckleberry Finn whenever I want, but I couldn't do the same with the Norton Critical Edition of the novel.

similarly, I could release a DVD of, say, Intolerance taken from an old 16mm print made for television, but the best version of that film—complete, sharp, tinted, etc.—might belong to a company like Cohen. thus I couldn't simply re-encode their restoration and sell it; I'd be violating their copyright, not to the original film, but to a particular restoration of it.

Flicker Alley sources their video releases from a number of places. sometimes the films come from the old Blackhawk Films collection, which was mostly put together decades ago and sometimes don't include the most complete versions of films. that's why the version of Kuleshov's By the Law on the Landmarks of Early Soviet Film set is something like 20 minutes shorter (and looks less sharp) than the restoration released on DVD by Edition Filmmuseum. other films in that collection had been restored by David Shepard and others and look as good as any versions extant. Flicker Alley also works closely with Lobster Films in Paris, who often do state-of-the-art restorations on European films themselves. so as someone pointed out above, it's really a case by case thing. but by no means are Flicker Alley pirates.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 11:28 pm 
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That's just what I was trying to say. Moving image copyright (in the US at least) does not have a lot of gray area, so I'm surprised to see conflicts of interpretation in this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 11:40 pm 
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Right, but the question is not one of "original rights," which I don't believe carries any legal meaning, but rather of rights to a particular restoration of a film and/or ownership of a particular elements of that film.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 11:20 am 
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Yes.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 1:59 pm 
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The Lost World (1925) - 9/19/17

"Flicker Alley, Lobster Films, and Blackhawk Films are thrilled to present the world-premiere Blu-ray edition of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, the most complete version of the film ever released. This visually stunning 2K restoration, accomplished by Lobster Films, features newly-discovered scenes and special effect sequences, incorporating almost all original elements from archives and collections around the world. Renowned silent film composer Robert Israel contributes a new and ambitious score, performed by a full orchestra in 2016.

This edition is dedicated to David Shepard, and to the collectors, archives, and passionate cinema lovers, who help preserve films for future generations."

Special Features:

- Deleted Scenes - Restored outtakes from a 1925 original nitrate transfer of The Lost World.
- R.F.D., 10,000 B.C. (1917) - Short film directed by Willis O Brien for producer Thomas Edison.
- The Ghosts of Slumber Mountain (1918) - Short film written and directed by Willis O'Brien in a new 2K restoration by the Dinosaur Museum.
- Creation (1930) - Unfinished film directed by Willis O Brien that nonetheless convinced Merian C. Cooper to hire O Brien for King Kong.
- Booklet Essay - The Lost World: Secrets of the Restoration by Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 2:50 pm 
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Quote:
- Creation (1930) - Unfinished film directed by Willis O Brien that nonetheless convinced Merian C. Cooper to hire O Brien for King Kong.

Was there any additional footage shot for Creation beyond the test footage included on the Warners' King Kong (1933) DVD/Blu-ray? The lengthy doc included on that release had a segment that attempted to convey the entire plot of Creation through the use of storyboards and a narrator.

Regardless, this release of The Lost World sounds pretty impressive.

EDIT: A quick on-line search reveals that approximately twenty minutes of Creation footage had been shot, but only four minutes survive (the footage which appears on the King Kong disc). Reportedly, footage shot for a shipwreck sequence was incorporated into The Most Dangerous Game (1932).


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 4:02 pm 
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R.F.D., 10,000 B.C. and The Ghost of Slumber Mountain are also included as extras in the Les dinosaures attaquent! DVD collection from Artus Films with two other Willis-directed shorts. Hopefully those could be licensed as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:42 am 
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whaleallright wrote:
Right, but the question is not one of "original rights," which I don't believe carries any legal meaning, but rather of rights to a particular restoration of a film and/or ownership of a particular elements of that film.
The problem is Werewolf by Night's response to my post made it seem that he asserted that nobody could own a public domain work, which isn't accurate. Films can fall into public domain either by age or screw-ups with original/renewing copyrights, but that doesn't mean that the film no longer belongs to anybody. Anybody can now release the film or remake or do what they wish with it (although at their own risk), but somebody still owns it (even if its more of a formality at this point). Criterion and other reputable companies (Shout) will avoid releasing public domain films without a license to some rights holder. I recall that people were asking Shout why they don't just release PD films for MST3K without bothering with any license: Shout's response was something akin to "the films might be PD but somebody still owns them, and they could still sue." There are numerous issues that could come up - whether it be trademark (Godzilla vs Megalon), or more often the soundtrack (see Charade). So there's a liability with being a PD bandit - and its just better on all accounts to actually license the product from whoever still holds onto the rights to the film.

Here's an example I found from the MST3K boards:
Quote:
The reason why Shout Factory licensed the BTWD [The Brain that Wouldn't Die] from MGM is because MGM is the corporate successor-in-interest to American International Pictures, who picked up the film's distribution rights upon release. Also, there's a licensed piece of music in BTWD called "The Web" that's apparently under copyright. It would be a derivative work in a newly published work at the time. MGM still had the contracts in effect to protect Shout from litigation, if any such attempt was made. Similar to why Rhino and SHout licensed Manos, Hands of Fate from Peter Rodgers Organization, to protect from litigants like Hal Warren's son.
Granted, soundtrack isn't going to be an issue with every film or silent films (unless they don't create their own new soundtrack) - but its just an example of the complexities involved rather than the blanket statement: "the rights don't belong to anybody anymore / nobody should license anything"

Flicker Alley has done some great work and the majority of the films they have a license to release them. In the case with the few I've brought up, Flicker Alley is acting no different than Legend Films. Criterion has paid money to the license holder to release the films, Flicker Alley hasn't. As a similar situation: Cohen has the rights to all of Buster Keaton's films (except the MGMs which are owned by WB) - yet Kino is still planning to put out a number of them on bluray. Or there's the competing UK releases of BFI vs MoC (Nosferatu, Birth of a Nation, etc - although I'm not sure who has the greater claim there; probably MoC).


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 Post subject: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:42 am 
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In the case of both the examples you cite, the BFI and MoC's claim appears to be absolutely equal. Both licensed legitimate restorations - the BFI favoured Kevin Brownlow/Photoplay while MoC went for the F.W.Murnau-Stiftung masters - and in both cases money changed hands for the appropriate licensing fees. So I'm not sure on what basis you're claiming that MoC "probably" has the greater claim.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:03 pm 
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Minkin wrote:
whaleallright wrote:
Right, but the question is not one of "original rights," which I don't believe carries any legal meaning, but rather of rights to a particular restoration of a film and/or ownership of a particular elements of that film.
The problem is Werewolf by Night's response to my post made it seem that he asserted that nobody could own a public domain work, which isn't accurate. Films can fall into public domain either by age or screw-ups with original/renewing copyrights, but that doesn't mean that the film no longer belongs to anybody.
But that's literally what "public domain" means, that the film—the created intellectual work—belongs to the public, not to any one person or group of people. Let me just ask you for clarification since we all seem to be going around in circles here:

If a film is in the public domain, what EXACTLY does the "rights holder" you mention own?


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:52 pm 
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In the case of Night of the Living Dead, the original camera negative. You obviously can't gain access to that without a licensing agreement. Same with an archive owning the best quality print.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:48 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
In the case of both the examples you cite, the BFI and MoC's claim appears to be absolutely equal. Both licensed legitimate restorations - the BFI favoured Kevin Brownlow/Photoplay while MoC went for the F.W.Murnau-Stiftung masters - and in both cases money changed hands for the appropriate licensing fees. So I'm not sure on what basis you're claiming that MoC "probably" has the greater claim.

Same with the Keatons. Cohen licensed the Cineteca Bologna restoration and Kino licensed the Lobster Films restoration.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:01 pm 

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Minkin wrote:
whaleallright wrote:
Right, but the question is not one of "original rights," which I don't believe carries any legal meaning, but rather of rights to a particular restoration of a film and/or ownership of a particular elements of that film.
The problem is Werewolf by Night's response to my post made it seem that he asserted that nobody could own a public domain work, which isn't accurate. Films can fall into public domain either by age or screw-ups with original/renewing copyrights, but that doesn't mean that the film no longer belongs to anybody. Anybody can now release the film or remake or do what they wish with it (although at their own risk), but somebody still owns it (even if its more of a formality at this point). Criterion and other reputable companies (Shout) will avoid releasing public domain films without a license to some rights holder. I recall that people were asking Shout why they don't just release PD films for MST3K without bothering with any license: Shout's response was something akin to "the films might be PD but somebody still owns them, and they could still sue." There are numerous issues that could come up - whether it be trademark (Godzilla vs Megalon), or more often the soundtrack (see Charade). So there's a liability with being a PD bandit - and its just better on all accounts to actually license the product from whoever still holds onto the rights to the film.

Here's an example I found from the MST3K boards:
Quote:
The reason why Shout Factory licensed the BTWD [The Brain that Wouldn't Die] from MGM is because MGM is the corporate successor-in-interest to American International Pictures, who picked up the film's distribution rights upon release. Also, there's a licensed piece of music in BTWD called "The Web" that's apparently under copyright. It would be a derivative work in a newly published work at the time. MGM still had the contracts in effect to protect Shout from litigation, if any such attempt was made. Similar to why Rhino and SHout licensed Manos, Hands of Fate from Peter Rodgers Organization, to protect from litigants like Hal Warren's son.
Granted, soundtrack isn't going to be an issue with every film or silent films (unless they don't create their own new soundtrack) - but its just an example of the complexities involved rather than the blanket statement: "the rights don't belong to anybody anymore / nobody should license anything"

Flicker Alley has done some great work and the majority of the films they have a license to release them. In the case with the few I've brought up, Flicker Alley is acting no different than Legend Films. Criterion has paid money to the license holder to release the films, Flicker Alley hasn't. As a similar situation: Cohen has the rights to all of Buster Keaton's films (except the MGMs which are owned by WB) - yet Kino is still planning to put out a number of them on bluray. Or there's the competing UK releases of BFI vs MoC (Nosferatu, Birth of a Nation, etc - although I'm not sure who has the greater claim there; probably MoC).


Hi,
I actually do licensing as my livelihood, although I am not a lawyer. There is an even longer answer waiting for this, but in moderate length:

The statement "Films can fall into public domain either by age or screw-ups with original/renewing copyrights, but that doesn't mean that the film no longer belongs to anybody" is incorrect, in regards to copyright. (The first half of the statement is fine; the second half is confusing in its imprecision.) There seem to be two different things being conflated in that sentence, the copyright, and the copy/elements/physical versions. These are quite different things. When something is public domain, it is in fact true that the copyright no longer belongs to anyone. But the physical copies do belong to people, and one does have to come up with a copy to actually exploit, and one then has to make an agreement with the holder of that physical element to exploit it. Let's differentiate between these by calling "licensing" what one does to arrange terms with a "copyright holder" and "access permission" to mean what one arranges to get access to the physical copy. Someone does own a film, and one must arrange access permission, but if something is public domain, there is no copyright holder, and one doesn't need to license it.

But it can be difficult to prove that something has no potential copyright holder, because it is very hard to prove a negative. You have to get a copyright search done, and follow some paths, and evaluate whether people are claiming copyright ownership that they don't actually have. Would it cost more to duke it out in court, or just to pay the requested "license" fee? Most people choose the latter. The recent "Happy Birthday to You" case was the first time that someone chose to fight the court battle with Warner Chappell over whether Warner actually owned the copyright. Warner fought, as they have made a lot of money on it, and lost, and is now reimbursing a lot of people who have paid them fees for it. (Or more likely procrastinating over reimbursing people.)

As others have stated, if one does a new restoration, you can then copyright that restoration.
Copyright law varies by country and has changed over the years, and those variations are meaningful. Up to 1977 in the US, one had to deposit a physical copy (or copies) at the Library of Congress to claim copyright. After 1977, one no longer had to. The term of copyright has changed from 28 years with the power to renew, to 75 years, to what is now 95 years after the death of the creator. However, last items to come into public domain due to age in the US are from 1922, and 2018 will mark the 95th year after works created in 1923, which means that unless the law is changed, there will be new items becoming PD next year. Expect to see discussions in Congress this year about changing the law again.

Music copyright runs in different ways, and I am not a master of that, but, back to the "Happy Birthday to You" case, if a song was published prior to 1922, it is generally now PD. Individual recordings carry their own licenses. Every piece of music has two licenses at first, the written version [publishing, generally owned by the music publisher(s) for the song writer(s), and the actual recording (master, generally owned by the record company]. Prior to a particular year, music recordings were not administered by the federal government in the US, but by state, which can really complicate things from local labels, etc, from the 1920s-40s especially. But most companies have successor companies, etc. The masters however, like the film negatives, could be gone or anywhere - we're talkin about physical copies there, separate from the rights.

Returning to to films, for example, I used some clips of "Birth of a Nation" in my last show ("American Race" with Charles Barkley, on TNT). BoaN is unquestionably public domain (there was even a court case specifically addressing copyright ownership of it some decades ago), but the more recent Kino restoration/tinting is probably owed by Kino. But if I find a digitized crummy b&w version, I can use it without "licensing" it from anywhere.
1975 - http://www.leagle.com/decision/19751259 ... WS,%20INC.?

There has also been a court case asserting that a reproduction of a work that is pretty much the same as the original does NOT create a new copyright. The main example here are museum reproductions of works in their collections, photos of photos and paintings that are intended to b accurate representations of the original The releases issued by museums and archives used to state that one was licensing their copyright. The judge said that they couldn't do that. Now the releases state that you are getting permission to use their reproduction of it, but you aren't paying for a copyright license; you are paying for the permission access.

There is a also a difference between the desires of companies to license everything, just to avoid the risk of being sued, and what one more likely actually has to license. But that's a whole separate discussion which is more about risk aversion and company policy, and I won't go there right now.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:06 pm 
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Well clearly every case is going to be a different set of issues. There's a difference between films from the 1800s where nobody is even sure who made them, let alone tracking down the copyright - vs a film like Charade - where its clear that one is going to license the film from Universal (lest they don't want the original soundtrack, OCN, etc). So things can be complicated with silent films - and perhaps MoC/BFI/Kino weren't the best examples. I had thought Murnau Stiftung would've been the logical license source for the film - as the UFA logo might be under trademark still, etc (given Germany's strict copyright laws, I'd have thought the German organization would be operating with complete adherence to licensing). Same with Kino vs Cohen - as Kino used to own the Rohauer collection, which was then purchased by Cohen - thus Cohen now holds all that goes along with said ownership (but the "Rohauer collection" is filled with questionable and outright falsehoods - like Vampyr or the Riefenstahl films). But again, its all a case-by-case basis - and I claim no knowledge of the chain of copyright /ownership history of Keaton's films.

I'd say the risk aversion is the main thrust of what I was arguing. Even if you track down the copyright holder and determine they don't have any legal claim to the film anymore, there's still a plethora of issues that can arise - such as trademark, soundtrack, or any other curiosities that will affect copyright. By purchasing the license for the film, you will have protections in place against suits as the original distribution deals should still apply.

So Criterion exclusively licensed Nanook +other films from the Flaherty estate(?), which entitles them to the best quality prints and any other loose ends that could conceivably exist. Its an exclusive license from the Flaherty estate, but certainly not an exclusive license to the film itself - as anyone can release it (barring any potential issues). Perhaps here was where the confusion arose. Flicker Alley certainly hasn't done anything wrong (and certainly nothing illegal), other than perhaps creating a competing edition for a film against someone who put more effort into the process and worked with a licensor.

How about we end it with: anyone can release the film at their own risk if its PD; they can copyright or license a restoration (which isn't PD); and its in the best interest of a company to go through an official license from someone, when possible - in order to get the best quality prints, avoid any potential lawsuits, etc.

As a fun aside: Could someone release Godzilla vs Megalon - but remove every scene with / mention of Godzilla?

So back to A Page of Madness: my original point was - Flicker Alley might be dumping it on BD-R, but the film might be PD, thus someone else might have a better edition using a better source &licensed from someone to acquire that better quality source. Looking into it - New Line Cinema distributed the film in the 70s? Weird. It seems like they're still listed as the distribution company. I wonder what the deal with it is. I saw it on TCM a couple of years ago and seem to recall it opening with a card from an Asian-American museum, but I might be wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:56 pm 
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Uh, Criterion's Nanook is almost 20 years old and looks it, and it's practically barebones to boot. They've shown no love to Flaherty in the decades since, save dumping a Sabu film in the Eclipse line. Meanwhile FA put out a visually superior BD of the film sourced from an old 35mm restoration (the same as Criterion?--either way, presumably this took some effort to get) and stacked with SIX thematically linked bonus films and a good-sized booklet. Oh, and CC let their edition go out of print. I fail to see how Criterion made more of an effort here.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:45 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am
deleted; redundant post


Last edited by whaleallright on Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:13 pm
I think we're both just repeating ourselves and our original arguments over and over. Again, let's just end it with every film is a different situation. Sometimes it can be a simple Straight Shooting situation or other times it can have multiple layers of complexities involved (Brain That Wouldn't Die, Charade, etc). I think we both understand each other's arguments. I've perhaps been mistaken in my wordings or understandings of what remains of a copyright after its fallen into public domain.

It was mentioned around the time when Flaherty confirmed Criterion was re-releasing Nanook that a 4k restoration had been completed. I'm not sure why they've been sitting on it, but perhaps FA's release has made them wait (watch, after all of this, it will be a November boxset :P ).

Back to A Page of Madness - is the film actually PD (after all of this back and forth) - or might WB/New Line or some museum own the rights (official or original :wink: )


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:35 pm
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Minkin wrote:
Back to A Page of Madness - is the film actually PD (after all of this back and forth) - or might WB/New Line or some museum own the rights (official or original :wink: )


When I saw it at the Pacific Film Archive, a decade or so ago (w/ Judith Rosenberg accompanying on piano), it was introduced as the only print known to be in existence & that it had been found in the archives of The George Eastman House. When I saw it, it had no reviews on IMDB & fewer than 10 rating votes, so I was completely blown away & surprised that it was so unknown & unavailable. I'm glad to see that since then it's received several screenings & aired on TCM and has gained more recognition as a result. IMDB states that New Line Cinema had theatrical distribution rights to the film in 1975, which is a bit of surprise, but I guess in the pre-home theater days old films were more likely to get theatrical runs in commercial theaters.


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 Post subject: Re: Flicker Alley
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
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Something else to consider regarding A Page of Madness' possible copyright status is that Kinugasa most likely recut it after rediscovering it in 1971. This puts us into the realm of derivative works, which can be eligible for a new copyright even if the underlying original is PD, but this requires that the work be "transformed" to a degree that isn't set in stone and can differ from one jurisdiction to another.

Regarding the film's preservation status, the George Eastman House may well have the only circulating print, but according to this interview with Mariann Lewinsky (author of a Japanese-language book on the film), a new dupe negative was made after Kinugasa's rediscovery. According to her, this is the source for all known prints.


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