Friday, October 28, 2011

MAC Week 1-BP4: Free Choice Entry

Collage created by Rosetta Cash

One of the aspects that really got my attention in viewing and reading the material this week is the fact that because of private ownership important culturally relevant materials are no longer available to be viewed. I find it appalling that Eyes on the Prize and other important documentaries are, in my opinion, being held hostage if you will. I mean, $500,000 as a relicensing fee, really! It makes me wonder (my conspiracy theorist mindset) if it was deliberately done to keep it from the public eye. Just a thought. I do know that there are people who think about nothing but money and perhaps it is just as simple as the “almighty dollar.”

Mind you, I was told several years ago that Michael Jackson owned the copyright for the song “Happy Birthday” which is why when you are dining in restaurants and someone is celebrating a birthday; the staff has made up a celebratory birthday song to sing to patrons. What I didn’t know was that it would cost $15,000 per verse. 

As stated in the short video “Eyes on the Fair Use of the Prize,” “unwieldy copyright laws and extortionate royalty fees are forever changing history.” It seems that the history being affected / changes relates to culturally relevant materials that tell African and African American stories, my history. So how does one combat this? How can this be rectified? When you change one peoples history you change the history of the world, we are all affected.  


  1. I, too, was intrigued by this piece. I find it interesting that recordings of culture, and therefore historical record, can by copyrighted.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I do feel that there is value added by news crews and reporting agencies. They spend money on talent and equipment and planning, and they should be allowed to profit from that.

    But does it make sense for anyone to be able to hold on to exclusive rights to a historical record for 100 years? Isn't 10 plenty reasonable? Can CNN, Fox, etc, really expect to make any serious residual on a news clipping that is more than 10 years old?

  2. Great overview on the issues. We've gone far afield from copyright being a means for creatives to protect and profit from their work. Just like prohibition failed because it was overly broad in it's attempt to regulate something that was a "normal" part of society, so the DMCA and RIAA suing it's customers will eventually fail because there are more of us wanting to use (and reasonably buy) the music/media then there are enforcers.