Wednesday, July 11, 2012

(c) 2012 and a half...


I now have the official, required Library of Congress copyright investigation complete so that the Long-Forgotten Movie can be digitally duplicated.

Except, well (using Facebook relationship status-ese) -- it's complicated.

The investigator discovered that, yes, the Famous Rocket Company applied for a copyright, but that was for an *unpublished* work - - almost a year after they donated the film to the Not Very Famous Museum. The museum had already shown the film to close to THREE MILLION cash-paying visitors, so it was hardly "unpublished" anymore. By the timeline, the Famous Rocket Company was trying to copyright a work it had already given away. Based on this history, the Library of Congress researcher declared the film's copyright "questionable."

The Famous Rocket Company listed the Famous Director as "author" but since it's a work-for-hire, that probably takes care of the Famous Director part of the copyright claim equation. 

I feel like an astronaut with a bad comb-over,desperately trying to pry open a VHS tape with a butter knife before re-entry.
So now, the only remaining hurdles are getting something called a "quit-claim" from both the Famous Rocket Company and the Not Very Famous Museum. I've already written to the Famous Rocket Company, asking them to please dismiss their invalid copyright application, so that I can help the Library of Congress preserve this film. If (and yes, that's a huge "if") I can get that particular piece of paper, I'm going to ask the Not Very Famous Museum to do likewise, as they've already thrown out their only copies of the film and they've obviously shown no interest in saving this film anyway. My guess is that the museum is going to take a much longer time to resolve, as no one there seems to want to be in charge of legal matters like copyrights.

It's going to be a long summer. Hope for the best.

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