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Taking Care of Business
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Old January 16th, 2005, 10:20 PM   #46
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All due respect...

Tony, you wrote: "I brought the topic up here out of curiosity, not for real legal advice."

That's like the person with a problem who calls a radio advice talkshow and prefaces their question to the host with, "I have this friend that..."

Looking at your website, I think you're a lot smarter than you let on. That statement you made sounds like a cop-out.

I don't really think that the people on this board, lawyers or not, have any ulterior motives with regards to their posts or replies. I also don't think that anyone is trying to impress you with their titles, ( I haven't seen anyone list EXPERT on their profile) but, the fact that a REAL lawyer, that actually deals with the issue you brought up, is answering your question, maybe, just maybe, his answer should carry some weight although it may not be what you want to hear.

If there was nothing to be learned from this question, then why did you go to the trouble of wasting your and everyone elses time by posting it?

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Old January 16th, 2005, 10:51 PM   #47
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Tony, maybe you can learn something from this, a true story.

A few years ago, my car was making some grinding noises from the rear end. I took it to a mechanic, who told me it was XXXX (I've forgotten) which would cost $600 to fix. I didn't like that answer, so I took it to another mechanic who told me it would cost $800 to fix. Then I took it to a buddy of mine who knows a lot about cars. He drove it and said it was just wheel noise. I was happy.
Three months later, the rear end imploded. After paying the $2700 bill, I asked the mechanic that repaired it (a different one) why it would have gone, since the previous owner had rebuilt it less than two years before.
The mechanic told me that XXXX was worn out, which was putting extra wear on the rear end. I got it fixed, another $600.

I asked a question, and didn't like the answer from respectable sources. Eventually, I got the answer I wanted to hear. It cost me big time in the long run.

If you send me a check for $2700 I will tell you whatever you want to hear.
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Old January 17th, 2005, 07:48 AM   #48
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Sigh, people just let it go and quit quoting me. I really don't have any plans on doing anything questionable anytime in the near future. I've toyed with the idea of doing a documentary and I merely wondered how some documentary filmmakers get away with using footage that they would never be able to get PERMISSION to use.

I see it all the time. Perfect examples are Fahrenheit 911, Outfoxed, and even Hated (the documentary about GG Allin). In Hated, all the television footage looks like they were filming a TV screen.

Right now I'm working on a script and it would be years before I would make a documentary, so it doesn't matter. When I do have a real question that has to do with something I'm actually doing, I'll pay the $50 fee to talk to my lawyer for 30 minutes and hear an objective answer from someone who is trying to help me not scare me.

Hell, when I'm done with my script, I'll probably have a lawyer read it and the shooting script to make sure everything is OK.

So, I really did raise the question out of curiosity, not to get legal advice on a message board. If you want to call that a "cop out" go ahead. I don't care. I'm not trying to debate anyone. It's not that they're not saying what I want to hear... it's that they are coming from a perspective biased against what I'm trying to do. It's like a criminal trying to get legal advice from the prosecutor... he should probably take it with a grain of salt and get a good criminal defense lawyer. You can trust someone's interpretation of the law unless you know they're on your side. I'd say that the lawyers I've heard from on this message lean more to the corporate side than the indie side, so why take their advice without questioning it?

Now you can say whatever you want. I'm unsubscribing from this thread and I'm not going to look at it anymore. So, don't bother addressing me personally. I'm sick of people trying to argue with me, talk amongst yourselves.
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Old January 17th, 2005, 10:09 AM   #49
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Being one who greatly appreciates the willingness of professionals like Paul Tauger and Douglas Spotted Eagle -- just to name two among many -- to share their insights when asked, I'm very sorry to see this potentially great thread degenerate the way it has done. It ain't what DVinfo.net is about, and I'm sure (almost) none of us would want to behave in such a way as to discourage them from sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience in the future.

So there is one thing that's inferred in the previous post with which I can agree: Wranglers, let's shut this thread down.
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Old January 17th, 2005, 10:59 AM   #50
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I've actually learned a lot from reading this thread. I know human nature (and the particularly fragile nature of message boards) well enough that I shouldn't be surprised when animosity creeps into these discussions, but it still amazes me.

Thanks to Tony Hall for raising the question in the first place, and thanks to Paul Tauger for his lawerly and informative answers. I'm sorry that some folks got riled up, but like I said, I still learned stuff, some of it useful, some just interesting. So there.

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Old January 17th, 2005, 11:32 AM   #51
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There's really no reason to close this thread, and I welcome any further input. The original poster does not "own" this thread -- DV Info Net does -- and in my view even if the original poster gives up on it, chances are a lot of other people can learn something from it.

I would like to clear up two serious misconceptions, though. First is the assumption that "there's no way they had permission to do those things" with reference to Michael Moore, G.G. Allin, etc. This is an assumption only, and most likely an incorrect one. Michael Moore (most likely through his attorneys) probably obtained permission for the Army commercial through the Freedom of Information Act, since it came from a government entity. For the Fox news clips and other media snippets, they probably bought them. It's a mistake to assume that because it's Michael Moore, they would have been refused. This isn't known to be true. My point is, just because a person can't see how something has been done, doesn't mean it hasn't been done, especially with regard to rights and licensing. And shooting from a TV screen is an effect; it's a production decision which is in no way connected with rights or licensing. It's simply done in order to achieve a specific aesthetic look.

The other misconception is that those here who have made the effort to offer serious, insightful input to this thread are "coming from a perspective biased against" what the original poster is trying to do. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only bias I can perceive here is a bias against doing anything illegal, and that is a healthy and helpful bias to have. The important thing to note is that a person who knows the law does not necessarily have to agree with it. While we can always discuss the merits and demerits of copyright law, and the ways in which it can be modified and reformed to everyone's greater advantage, still the best advice above all is to obey the law as it is currently written. The original poster did not get the response he was seeking, but he did get the very best advice possible, whether he realizes it or not.

This board is all about its members helping each other. While I think it's sad that on occasion we have someone who doesn't realize that the responses he received were in his best interest, the positive thing is that other people will come upon this discussion and benefit from reading it and adding to it. That's why it's important for it to stay open and continue on.
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Old January 17th, 2005, 12:29 PM   #52
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Agreed. Information should be preserved, and like it or not, this has been an informative thread. I added it to the FAQ.
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Old January 17th, 2005, 09:04 PM   #53
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tony Hall :... I merely wondered how some documentary filmmakers get away with using footage that they would never be able to get PERMISSION to use.

I see it all the time. Perfect examples are Fahrenheit 911, Outfoxed, and even Hated (the documentary about GG Allin). In Hated, all the television footage looks like they were filming a TV screen. -->>>


I think this is the crux of the misunderstanding here. Tony seems to think that if he saw footage in a production that most likely wouldn't have been licensed to the producer (e.g., some of Michael Moore's stuff) that there must be a loophole that allowed him to use it. It seems to me that it is just as likely that MM used some of Fox's footage illegally and took his chances. I rather think he would have enjoyed being sued by Fox and receiving all the publicity it would have generated. If that's the case--and it's only my supposition--then what MM did was illegal an violated copyright law.

Don't assume that if a film producer gets away with what looks like copyrighted footage or music that it must somehow be legal. Perhaps he just wasn't sued by the copyright owner.

Good luck.

Dennis
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