iMOVIE!

Quick question -

Can I extract audio from video clips already in my project?  What I want to do is add still photos to my project in the middle of an interview clip…it let me do it by adding the photos as a “title,” but the transition still shows like a second of the actual video clip.  Is there anyway that I can get rid of that awkward transition?  It seems like there has to be a way to do this…

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Inserting images

Hey all-

 I was wondering how everyone is inserting images into your DST? are you adding effects and stuff too? I have a ton of images to add and I’m not sure how I need to do it.

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Copyright Videos

A Fair(y) Use Tale

Freedom of Expression

What is Creative Commons?

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Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer

Here is the Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer we looked at last week.

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Copyright

Davis Guggenheim- What happens when some can pay and others can’t?

Davis Guggenheim made copyright sound scary and complicated.  And after the readings this week, yikes!  As the readings this week suggest, copyright is both a good and a bad thing.  I would not want someone to make money off of my work unfairly but at the same time, I would no mind sharing some things for the sake of art and definitely for educational purposes.  It seems like there are so many loopholes to the law.  But it is good to see that judges are starting to be fair and reasonable in judgments.  Does Fox really need another $10,000 because of someone’s documentary on New York.  I think that is a little greedy.  It seems like there are so many variations on the rule that is could be hard to keep it all straight.

The short video Army of One was an interesting digital story in itself, as it told two stories with one image.  Film is such a long, long process.  I feel for this guy that he started his film in 2002 and he is still dealing with copyright stuff.  As Guggenheim said, great things end up getting cut which is really too bad.  Here is this filmmaker, making a piece of current importance and he is stuck in the bureaucracy of it all.  Kind of takes the fun out of the art and research.

My story is not going to be copyright friendly, something I was aiming for.  At least I can get the concept of it down and change out images later if I need to.  The good news is if I make it big, a high school friend of mine is an entertainment lawyer out in LA.  Maybe he will take pity on the little guy.  I also have someone willing to right music for my films for free.  It is all frustrating and I feel for the artists out there.

Copyright…

So after reading all of this information about copyrighting, I’m now living in fear that my digital story is violating all sorts of copyright laws and I’m going to get hauled off to the pokey.  Excellent.

Just based on my own experience with this digital story, I am getting the impression that copyright laws are getting more and more difficult to enforce as we move into an increasingly online environment.  I think the new standard is that if you are using something for your own use, as long as you don’t sell it or show it widely, you’ll be ok.  Policing the internet is notoriously difficulty and I think a different paradigm will be needed to contend with the porous boundaries that we are now confronted with in this regard.

It has always been a difficult balance to strike, wanting to uphold the rights of the artist (or inventor, in another context) and wanting the public to have maximum enjoyment and use.    Plus, like it or not, the internet is a game changer in this area.  People from all over the world have access to content they otherwise wouldn’t and are using it in increasingly creative ways.

My DST contains a clip from a movie, and I’m hoping that none of you are going to turn me in. Otherwise I don’t expect that the copyright police have the resources to check out everyone who borrows something from a movie, surely they will be looking after bigger violators than us.  Hopefully.  I am looking forward to the discussion in class because I think this is a particularly interesting topic for a new media class, and I think copyright law is going to end up evolving in some really different ways.

Copyright and Digital Storytelling

According to the documentation we read for this week, the legal constraints of copyright are fairly clear for our digital stories. Unless a digital story is entirely original in terms of audio and visual content, it will run up against copyright issues, and only then if the video is out of earshot of any copyrighted audio content or corporate logos: blank background, neutral clothing for all subjects, white noise audio background preferred. On the other hand, if the work is only going to be used in the classroom, a teacher seems to be pretty secure within Fair Use requirements. As soon as the work is considered for public dissemination, the long and potentially expensive process of securing permissions for every image will be operative. Historical material remote enough to be in the public domain would make a decent story doable. As the point person for getting permissions for the Children and Youth in History project at CHNM, I have been very fortunate in getting many organizations to give us permission with a simple form letter that butters them up. Without the cache of GMU, U of Mo and CHNM, and the grant-making organizations that fund the project, it would probably not have been as easy. In addition, there is a budget for permissions. Individuals would not fare so well within that system, or would have to curtail the content they use. On the other other hand, the web-based projects I have worked on have never been challenged as long as thumbnails of artworks (the main material I use) are put on the site, the original link is provided, and the museum or other org is credited next to the image or in a credits list. There, too, I have been fortunate. I will admit to not being terribly stringent, and daring organizations to challenge educational uses on the web. So far so good.
Where the real problems that the filmmakers and copyright rebels are pushing against is the stifling of commentary on contemporary life and art that corporate interests have won for themselves through copyright law. If I worked in that area, I would be frustrated to no end. Use of music is also a big issue that I have seldom run up against, but I can see it being a real wet blanket on creativity. The mention of “Happy Birthday” being copyrighted is truly shocking in the example of the Hoop Dreams film. Anything 3-year-olds sing has to be in the public domain, I would think, suggesting a new legal criterion for that.
My own digital story contains a whole array of images that could be under copyright. I am such a fledgling moviemaker, however, that I can’t imagine posting it anywhere, and besides, I would only use it in educational settings. The images, furthermore, are quite trivial. Is Osama bin Laden’s fuzzy video in the public domain? Is a photo of a TV playing the video under copyright? It seems unlikely that he would press me for copyright on his image…he has other things to worry about.

Copyright

While creators may have gained more rights, I think the public has lost them. 120 or 95 years from creation, with the possibility of renewal, seems rather ridiculous to me. I can understand the case for infinitely extending the copyright for a corporate logo, like Mickey Mouse… but what benefit does it have to keep the copyright of a book or music for 120 years? The author/creator would be dead and their descendants would be making any money, which probably isn’t much after 100 years. The transfer of copyright by buying or selling also seems somewhat farfetched. What motivates copyright terms to be so long except profit and greed?

I understand that creators may feel ownership over their work and want to control its distribution. This seems like a very human impulse, however, sharing with anyone brings its own risks. Perhaps you took a picture and shared it with a friend that forwarded it onto half a dozen friends because it’s pretty. Suddenly it shows up posted on a social networking site and used by a few dozen people as pretty wallpaper… This seems fundamentally different than deliberate plagiarism from a book into a school paper, which I think copyright exists more for this kind of example.

Where does digital storytelling fit into this? I think we need to consider the limits of ownership in the way of seeing things and also the culture of DST.

Where does it all end?

I’m not sure if my allergies or reading about copyrights has given me a migraine this morning. Copyrights, based on the charts posted for this week (and others explored in Clio 1), are in some ways pretty straightforward. Then a comic book arrived to clarify things, and I think wound up muddying the view. Page 30 of the comic book, particularly Munch’s Scream, pretty much summed up my feelings reading it. Now mind you, I grew up on comic books, so I appreciated the forum. But the authors presented the pros and cons of copyright in a manner that left me with more questions, and not less. At one point I felt fine about using a 30 second clip in the DST assignment, the next minute I’m worried that some French TV company will want to sue me for 4 1/2 seconds of their footage, and on a graduate salary I can’t face a $10,000 litigation cost and pray I get a judge who will make the French pay the court costs.

The problem, it seems, is that copyright laws are in constant flux. And there’s a good chance that 10 or 15 years from now, what holds true today will not look very similar. But, at the cost of sounding like some pessimist, I do believe that creators should be protected and allowed to produce ground-breaking work and copyright laws protect them. Even if the cost of such freedom is an evil Bart Simpson, Mickey Mouse, or Big Bird ready to pounce on it. I am reminded of such freedoms in our modern political discourse. Yes, I can hardly stomach some of the vitriol that you see at tea party rallies, talk radio, and on either side of the political spectrum. But, the protection of free speech is worth it.

In the end, Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig really put forth some practical reminders and a sage advice:

“…copyright law, like history, is subject to conflicting interpretations as well as sharp contention between advocates of the rights of the owners of intellectual property and those seeking to enlarge the public domain…In large and small ways, the web has reconfigured the legal landscape for historians.”

So what should I do? Here is their advice:

“We believe that a more aggressive assertion of the rights and claims of that commons, when followed sensibly, does not entail excessive risk…Even if the rights holder later shows up, most reasonable people won’t sue you if you offer at that point to remove the material or pay them a fee.”

So, it may just best be served to be aware of copyright laws, use discretion, and be willing to remove material on the off-chance some French TV company comes knocking on your door.

Blog Highlights: Copyright

“As we near the stages of completion in our own digital stories, we can certainly see the value in protecting our work and ensuring that we have properly credited the resources from which we drew throughout the creative process. Beyond that, however; the fees, penalties, and restrictions seem to hinder the freedom of creation.” — Lapple

Is it Foreigner Suite (1973) or If I Could Fly (2004) . . . or Viva La Vida (2008)? “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye or makes a buck.” —Bergman

“The prevalent emotions that people describe after this week’s reading are fear, discouragement, and sadness. I’d like to offer an alternative: Rage. Anger and indignation.” —Suiter

“Copyright law involves a weird kind of trade off: how do you balance the need for an artist to have their work seen with the fact that they need to get paid for it?”—Warburton

“So, in short, I definitely think that if copyright protection isn’t dead yet, it may be well on its way.”—Parks

“Actually, if someone had the means to distribute my work and make money off of it, I’m not sure that I would mind. I would never be able to figure out how to use my digital story to sell Clorox.”—Odiorne

“Finding your way through the law is one thing, finding out who own rights is a whole other battle that can be maddening. You REALLY want your piece to get made when you start digging up copyright and trademark information on every image, musical note or prop used in your piece.”—Goodwin

“On the one hand we could use what we want and try to claim fair use and deal with the complaints as they come (if they come). On the other we could totally avoid using anything that is younger than 87 years and not published by the government. Which sometimes means we have far, FAR less to work with than we expected.” —Blaher

“p until this point, I had felt fairly silly asking each one of my interviewees to sign multiple release forms for my project. Now I feel as though you just can’t be too careful in getting permission…and very grateful that I interviewed them in places that provided very basic backgrounds with no need to edit out the corporate logos.”—Janes

“I had a great laugh reading through the article entitled “Copyright Basics,” because twelve pages highlighting the major points could not get any less basic!” —Plumb

“After all of the reading this week on the increasing restrictions of copyright law and the obvious corporate influences on the changes to said law, I’m ready for something completely different. I mean, I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition. . . .. NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION! Our chief weapon is fear. Fear and surprise are our two main weapons… what?” —King

“Overall, reading about copyright made the idea of being creative seem a lot less exciting, and a lot more risky. Unless you are only working with original material, it seems like a lot of effort will need to go into researching and understanding copyright issues before you can publish your efforts.”—Cook

[Comment on Suiter] “Your copyrage blog was the first thing I’ve read regarding copyright that made me smile. It also made me realize that people probably fall into two camps: the rule followers who are stifled by issues such as copyright, and the rebels who create first and ask for forgiveness later, after they’re already famous and could care less if they’re forgiven.”—Cook

“Instead of applying for protection at LoC or letting a production company or distributor handle this task, digital stories seem, more often than not, to be uploaded without any assertion of ownership on behalf of the creator. This new way of self-publishing challenges our older understanding of what publishing even is.”—James

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