Copyright case

Miriam Ross miriamruthross
Mon Jul 17 10:48:33 EDT 2006

I'm sorry if this is going off topic, but a lot of people seem very
knowledgeable about copyright law.

If you have an on-line academic journal that is completely uncommerical (no
fees and no advertising for example) could you stream clips of the movies
that are not pd as part of an essay or would you be infringing copyright?


On 7/16/06, Michael Raine <mjraine at> wrote:
> I see Aaron has already addressed most of the points in my previous
> message... I do think the encoding itself, and not just the menus etc, is
> granted a new copyright in videos and DVDs though. As for the KineJun
> comment, this is also the MPAA position. When some people tried to get the
> Copyright Term Extension Act declared unconstitutional (because it applied
> retroactively to existing works and because it made a mockery of the
> constitution's claim that copyright be granted only for a "limited time")
> the MPAA argued that Congress could do what it wanted, and had decided
> that
> making old films commercially valuable to the owners of the original
> materials made it more likely that the films would be preserved and made
> available. They won. I can see the value of granting "creative commons"
> access to older films but as long as the studios control the original
> elements then with some exceptions the choice is between low quality
> "bootlegs" and studio restoration, I think. Not sure how that applies to
> Japan -- I've seen a lot more films at the Bungeiza than have been made
> available on DVD. An enlightened government would declare old films part
> of
> the national cultural heritage and have the Film Center distribute them.
> In
> the meantime, perhaps it's more important to strengthen fair use access to
> material for research and teaching.
> Michael
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Aaron Gerow [mailto:gerowaaron at]
> Sent: Saturday, July 15, 2006 2:15 AM
> To: KineJapan at
> Subject: Re: Copyright case
> > If this is true then where are all the Japanese silent cinema download
> > sites?
> As Aidan said, there is probably just not enough interest around to
> support
> such sites. It is not a question of time, because it was clear to anyone
> that films made before 1952 were public domain even before the 2004
> amendment to the Copyright Law. This court case only confirms that the
> amendment extending copyright applied only to films whose copyright had
> not
> expired, and that copyright had expired for films made in 1953.
> There is also the problem of availability. While 16mm prints of old US
> films
> are floating all over the place, that is not the case in Japan.
> Not only did few films survive, but few of these have been made available
> on
> VHS and DVD, let alone 16mm. I also suspect that just because pre-1952
> films
> are public domain, that doesn't mean you can just go out and buy the new
> of Oshidori utagassen and copy it for sale (the version that includes the
> authoring, menus, etc. can be copyrighted separately). You can do it if
> you
> have a film print, however, which is what Matsuda Eigasha does with the
> old
> films in its collection. I once talked with them about whether Shochiku
> ever
> complained that they were selling a VHS of I Was Born But even though
> Shochiku was as well. They said no, but given how delicate these things
> can
> be, they did tell Shochiku before hand what they were doing.
> This is probably another reason why this doesn't happen much: Japanese
> companies can be obnoxious about asserting their rights even when they
> don't
> have them. It was kind of sad reading the comments of someone from KineJun
> in the Mainichi article about this copyright case: he was falling all over
> himself saying how bad a decision it was because, he says, it will prevent
> companies from producing good DVDs of films (by the same logic, public
> domain should be eliminated all together). The industry position seems to
> be
> that protecting their rights protects those of everyone.
> Thus while the Film Center should do what the Library of Congress is
> doing,
> and make available some of its early film collection for internet
> download,
> I suspect they will never do it because they don't want to ruffle any
> feathers in the industry. But who knows?
> Aaron Gerow
> KineJapan owner
> Assistant Professor
> Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures Yale University
> For list commands, send "information kinejapan" to
> listserver at
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