Tuesday, October 12, 2010

That damn pesky copyright thing

So I'm going through my Google Reader subscriptions this morning and come across this. Someone lauding another person for creating their own brilliant Simpsons intro.

Hmmmmmm. The Simpsons. Really? We get to make our own little animated cartoon sequences now do we? And post them on YouTube.

Dubious, I click the play button to be presented with - "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Twentieth Century Fox".

Why am I not surprised?

What does surprise me, however, is that the link to the clip is posted by the Film and Television Institute. The FTI, as described in its website, is "the premier professional development centre for independent screen production & events in Western Australia".

Now call me old fashioned, but I would have thought such a body might actually extol the virtues of copyright protection to its members and readership.

Just like I know it's a complete waste of time for me to write my amazing [insert studio franchise/comic book/graphic novel property here] script as a) the copyright owner will sue me back to the stone age; b) the script will never get produced; and c) my time would be better spent working on my own ideas OR adapting a property I have acquired an option on.

And when option c) comes to pass I damn well expect my intellectual property to have the full protection of copyright laws.

The thing that 'never ceases to amaze me' is how blase some film-makers can be about copyright.

Just saying, they don't need any further encouragement...


  1. Although I agree with your initial point, I think this copyright argument is far from over. As much as the big studios have been suing downloaders of pirated studio product (and apparently the initial uploader is pursued vigorously) - I think the magic bullet of a combination legal and technical fix is a Lars Ulrich fever dream.

    The movie, games and publishing industries think they've learnt from the Napster, iTunes example, but Gen Y in particular, have got used to, and adept at, getting free stuff.

    Your post touches on the issue of fan made 'tributes' on sites like YouTube . Almost all use copyrighted material. There are a number of works I have discovered through fan activity and user generated content that broke copyright. In some cases this has brought money back to the copyright holder.

    As black and white as some of the copyright issue seem - I'm sure you and I definitely want it for our writing - I believe there have been occasions when breaking it was not the Intellectual Property fiasco that some would argue it always is.

  2. I suspect there is a clear delineation between "fans" and people who want to be actual film practitioners, PJK. People who go to FTI, I am hoping, fall into the latter category whether they are Gen Y or not.

    While you make valid points I don't believe an institution such as the FTI should be using their website/blogs to highlight these sorts of 'indiscretions'.

    They should be lauding the creation of daring and original works by local practitioners, n'est-ce pas?