Archive for May, 2009

Every three years, the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress holds DMCA 1201 hearings to determine if exemptions should be made to the anti-circumvention provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In 2006, media and film professors successfully won an exemption from the DMCA to legally break DVD copy protection in order to use high-quality clips in the classroom. The 2009 hearings are in progress this week, and up for discussion is whether or not this same exemption should be granted to educators in all subjects, and if students should also be covered by the exemption.

Rrepresentatives of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) argue that there is no need to break DVD copy-protection, and went on to demonstrate at length that that for fair-use scenarios users should consider videotaping a TV screen to extract the video segments for use in the classroom. I’ll say that again, just in case you missed it…the MPAA suggests that videotaping a flatscreen television is an acceptable alternative for educators to capture and use video clips in the classroom.

Besides the sheer irony of this idea coming from an organization that has spent countless dollars and time trying to stop camcorder users in theaters, it shows just how out of touch they really are with reality. Do they really expect educators to go through the process of realtime analog workarounds for FAIR USE in today’s digital world? Unbelievable. An attendee to these hearings filmed and posted the MPAA’s video demonstration of their analog method of bypassing copy-protection. You can watch below. If you’re like me, you’ll be holding your jaw up off the floor.

MPAA shows how to videorecord a TV set from timothy vollmer on Vimeo.

To add to the irony of it all, I noticed that their demonstration appeared to be played from a computer using VLC, a media player software whose original featureset included the ability to DeCSS DVDs for playback over a network. Nice. Wendy Seltzer was also at the hearings and live-tweeted it as well as wrote a nice blog recap. You can read that here.

Several weeks ago we published a podcast interview with Scott Kirsner and Jerome Courshon in ProVideoCoalition’s Distribution e-mail newsletter. The discussion centers around practical distribution options for independent filmmakers that can make revenue NOW. The podcast has now been released publicly. You can listen online here, or subscribe to FreshDV’s free podcast feed to listen in iTunes or on your portable music player.

Podcast Description:
Many discussions about independent film distribution options seem to center around just getting your films and content seen, the search for eyeballs online. This strategy is all well and good when you are building an online presence and particularly for those just getting started. But for some months now, we at FreshDV have been interested in getting a snapshot of current distribution options that reward filmmakers for their investment, practical options that can earn indies money now. So we sat down with two special guests that have a unique knowledge of this field, and had a frank and practical discussion about what profitable options exist now, and how to market your film. The following audio podcast is a discussion with Jerome Courshon and Scott Kirsner, and is moderated by Matt Jeppsen and Kendal Miller of FreshDV.

Jerome Courshon is an award-winning Producer/Writer, whose first movie was the critically acclaimed indie “God, Sex & Apple Pie,” ultimately released by Warner Bros. His journey was profiled in the Los Angeles Times and documented on iFilm.com. Having acquired enormous experience from playing “the game” of getting distribution for his own movie, he has since written articles and primers on distribution for MovieMaker Magazine, Indie Slate Magazine and Film Festival Today Magazine. In 2006, he created a groundbreaking seminar that assists producers & directors in achieving distribution for their own movies, and presents this around the country each year. The seminar is called “The Secrets to Distribution: Get Your Movie Distributed Now!” and the website address is: www.Distribution.LA

Scott Kirsner is a writer for Variety, edits the blog CinemaTech, and has recently written a new book, “Fans, Friends & Followers: Building an Audience and a Creative Career in the Digital Age.” He is also one of the key organizers of The Conversation, a gathering of entertainment industry innovators, the second edition of which comes this fall in New York.