Friday, 5 September 2008

Locked up rights to filming output

One of the most wonderful and successful films from Wildscreen 2006 was that made by Neil Curry entitled "The Elephant, the Emperor and the Butterfly Tree". This was a remarkable account of the amazing relationships between the elephant, the emperor moth and the mopane tree. This film won the Festival's most prestigious award, The Golden Panda.

You can see clips from The Elephant, the Emperor and the Butterfly Tree here where the copyrights are also clearly stated.

However, it appears that film producers wanting to share their content have limitted options due to these copyrights.
Firstly I'd say legally, this is fair. The copyright owners (in this case the BBC and Oxford Scientific Films) have funded their right to decide where and when the programme is shown. On the other hand though, perhaps we would have a different view if we learnt that they refuse to allow the locals from the developing country in which this programme is set to see the film.

I am not sure how much of this is accurate and if you know better please do contact me or comment, but it appears that they have been particularly stingy on this front. If you are interested, take the time to read this article by Nalaka Gunawardene which gives his standpoint. It appears that whereas some companies are happy to publicly promote the education of developing countries they won't do so if they fear being out of pocket.

All comments and any enlightenment are welcome!


Nalaka Gunawardene said...

Belated thanks for citing and linking to my published views on copyrights and sharing TV/video material. Since your post, I have expanded on this in an op ed essay published on SciDev.Net in Nov 2008, where I made a strong case for films and TV programmes about climate change to be made freely available beyond their initial broadcast.

I said: "Making climate change a 'copyright free zone' for media products would increase the resource materials available to thousands of educators, social activists and trainers struggling to communicate this complex topic to audiences across the world. Moving images would make their task easier.

"The climate crisis challenges everyone to adopt extraordinary measures. Broadcasters and film-makers need to balance their financial interests with planetary survival."

Full essay at:

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