brooke on September 13th, 2011
Production Year: 1968 with regular amendments ever since
Directed by The Attorney General’s Office
Cast: Ensemble cast – too many to name.
The films opens with credits – that’s a bonus – Moral rights are covered.
Then the sweeping pages of the Statute of Anne remind us of the times before films existed (and therefore we’re not covered by copyright). Then we are dragged through a history of film copyright to the 1st of May 1969. Just months before the moon landing we watch as films have their copyright protections changed. You see, prior to the 1st of May, 1969, copyright, generally a little behind the technology of its day, protected films as a combination of photographs, dramatic works and sound recordings but on this day films (cinematographic films for the copyright pedants) were given their own copyright status (hooray and applause abound in the cinema).
But all is not what it seems in this movie, the term film doesn’t just cover the obvious feature films (gasps from the audience!), but also TV programs, documentaries, short films, home videos, animated films and cartoons, television commercials, video podcasts and some multimedia products such as computer games. Devious, I know.
And worse, films are hiding other types of copyright too (‘How dare it,’ says one film buff, clearly very perturbed). The director loves a good montage and reveals the truth behind the visage…
The truth is that there can be a range of underlying copyrights that are in a film too – the soundtrack, the performances, the screenplay, any theatrical trailers, and movie stills to name the key players will all have separate copyright protection too.
The films drags considerably after these nail biting moments as it shows the extent of the duration of copyright protection (generally 70 years after the first screening/publication) and stops into see the exclusive rights that copyright owners have (perform or screen, reproduce or communicate the film) and at this point I started to nod off.
Good news was on the horizon, however, as the film hinted at a parallel work that dealt with using films for educational purposes.
In all, the protections story was good but they could have worked on the messy beginnings and given the lead character (cinematographic films) a better name.
3 and a half stars.