Well, actually Jessica, it's the times you did't get worked up that are so
memorable ;-) However, I jest.

The funny thing is that there are continuous stories of how restrictive fair
use has become but since the dawn of video and now the internet, there is
far greater use of copyrighted material then ever before (based on far more
availability) and far greater access to quality public domain footage. So I
always found Pat's argument (though I've always admired and liked her, so
this is a disagreement, not a judgement on her) similar to the AFI's claim
that 90% of feature silent films are lost today. It's more like 74% and even
that, is something that can be ALMOST  quantified and a report is coming out
this September in fact. Because there is a finate number of films produced
and released from 1912 to 1929 that can be compared to a list of what
archives and collectors own. However, the use of film footage from the good
ol' days to now could never be compared because it's incalculable. There's
just no data but I suspect with Youtube and the number of illegal screenings
of my films, it's much more prevalent today. But back in 1964, there was
already such a long history of fair use in filmmaking (dating back to at
least the early teens), that Jay Leyda wrote a book called Films Begat Films
solely on films with borrowed footage.

THAT said, I do agree with Jessica that many groups including the
ALA, Society for Cinema & Media Studies and the International Federation of
Film Archives (an article stating that archives have the rights to screen
their films without legal permission appeared last year) have put out
statements and articles extending fair use WAY past what the law allows. The
fact that it's in print bothers me because Thomas Jefferson said that
democracy can only exist in an educated society. (Though, see
http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/ideas/edhistory.html) The same
with copyright. Not enough people are educated about copyright to be able to
judge these statements properly. Many of these declarations are similar to
cries that a library will close forever if the city budget isn't passed. In
fact, in 99.9% of these cases, it's mere threats to get what the library
needs. (Well maybe not in Northvale New Jersey <http://northvale.bccls.org/>,
but I'm just picking on a neighboring town that did close it's library this

So, in fact, many fair use statements by organizations overstep the
boundaries to get what they want. Those who follow their statements as
gospel without proper knowledge can get in big trouble.

Best regards,
Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video/Milliarium Zero
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: 201-767-3117
Fax: 201-767-3035
email: milefi...@gmail.com
AMIA Austin 2011: www.amianet.org
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