Original title: Technological progress + outdated copyright laws = huge parts of our film culture are lost forever
Of Glyn Moody
Natural books can be purchased, shared and read in libraries very easily. Movies in physical form, on the other hand, are difficult to obtain, share or display in archives. Writing for the Guardian, director Charlie Shackleton says 90% of archive collections are made up of movies that will never be shown again. In addition, he points out that as streaming becomes the main way people watch movies, the situation is getting worse and it does not get better:
Such films [stored in archives] are at least well preserved, but only 10% of them are lucky and attract the attention of the public. Any movie "purchased" by Amazon Prime is yours for viewing only if Amazon retains the copyright holder's permission to show it to you. And if the copyright holders themselves could not trust the protection of our cultural heritage when movies were still natural things that could be organized and inventoried, it seems unlikely that they would trust the digital age.
Timothy B Lee provides some tough numbers to reveal how bad things are:
Fifteen years ago, you could find almost anything on Netflix, from the latest blockbusters to classic movies to popular TV series. In all, Netflix had about 60.000 titles.
Today, Netflix streaming service has only about one-tenth of most titles available. While it has amazing original content, its overall list is not impressive.
He also has an explanation for why this happens:
The streaming revolution provides consumers with an unprecedented convenience. But it had the side effect of leaving many consumers with a narrower range of options and a more fragmented market. And this is not due to technological or financial constraints - it is because the law gives copyright holders more control over the flow of older movies than DVD rentals.
The rest of Lee's post in Full Stack Economics explores ways to address this issue. Drawing from one interesting paper by Mark A. Lemley, which proposes the use of the concept of "fair use" to allow third parties to transmit material if it is not commercially available. Lee relies on this idea, proposing that there should be a mandatory licensing system for streaming video content that is no longer available for commercial use.
We definitely need some kind of solution.
Without this solution, the film material that should enter the public sector once their copyright expires will never do so, because there will be no more digital copies that we can share. It would be a tragic result if advances in technology combined with outdated copyright laws led to the loss of large sections of film culture.
As Lemley says:
In the past we may have aspired to a world in which all the works of history would be available forever. Now this is a feasible goal. Copyright should not hinder him.
Indeed, it should not. Tear down these walls
Article Source: https://walledculture.org/