[rumori] Re: <nettime> Sounds like it could be handy (fwd)

From: Steev Hise (steevATdetritus.net)
Date: Wed May 02 2001 - 02:30:34 PDT

Rick Prelinger maintains a huge collection of films, 1000 of
which recently became available online ( at
arcive.org/movies/ ). Below is an interesting exchange from
the Nettime list in which someone questions the archive's
usage policies, and he responds.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001 07:15:03 -0700
From: Rick Prelinger <footageATpanix.com>
To: nettime-lATbbs.thing.net
Subject: Re: <nettime> Sounds like it could be handy

Mr. Bad writes:

>Specifically, Open Source software can be sold for money. Why can't I
>sell your archived movies? Or show them in a theater? Why? Why? Why?
>Second, if most of the movies are in the public domain, why try to put
>-any- restrictions on them?

You are misreading our restrictions slightly. You can show the movies in a
theater, on TV, in a stadium, online, or anywhere you want using any means
of distribution. You can incorporate the movies or segments from them into
any kind of derivative work and sell or give away that work as your own.

There are only two things we would prefer you not do: sell or take money
for the original files, and/or use them to go into the stock footage

Why? Two primary reasons.

First, we would like to support nonprofit entities and promote public
consciousness of what they can and should be doing. I wanted to concretely
assist the expansion of public digital archives and libraries by donating
online distribution rights to these films to a nonprofit rather than
licensing them to a commercial enterprise. Typically, privately owned
media collections are never released to the public in downloadable form.
This project is a significant exception, and I think the credit for this
should go to the nonprofit organization (IA) that has funded this project
and created this public resource.

The second restriction (no stock footage sales) is difficult to justify,
but an unfortunate necessity. The 1001 films in the Internet Moving Images
Archive come from my own collection (Prelinger Archives), which is quite
large (about 48,000 titles) and expensive to maintain. We don't receive
government or grant support; the income to maintain it and keep it open
comes from commercial stock footage sales. Without this income, the
collection would no longer exist. Although the company that represents us
for stock footage sales has exclusive rights to sell footage, we do retain
the rights to make complete films available on whatever terms we like. We
have chosen to give away broadcast-quality versions of 1001 key films.

Much content of significant cultural and historical importance resides in
private collections. This initiative is an early instance of what I hope
will one day become a common occurrence: opening up a private collection to
the public. Perhaps we deviate slightly from the canonical definition of
Open Source. If so, I apologize. I prefer to think that we are trying to
find sustainable ground between the imperative to make information publicly
available for free and the necessity to earn income to survive.

For background on this project, please check the article at


Rick Prelinger
Prelinger Archives http://www.prelinger.com
P.O. Box 590622, San Francisco, Calif. 94159-0622
+1 415 750-0445 Fax: +1 415 750-0607

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