‘Eyes on the Prize’ May Finally Clear Rights

If you really want to talk about what is messed up with copyright in this country, here’s a prime example. This award winning documentary about the US civil rights movement has been unviewable in the United States for years because the original rights for various media used in the series had expired and the film maker lacked the funds to clear the rights anew. Now I know that the holders of copyright are entitled to full enjoyment of their rights, but there needs to be some provision in the law for use such as this. Think about, how could the rights holders be economically harmed if soembody just released ‘Eyes’ on DVD without clearing rights?

Wired News: Cash Rescues Eyes on the Prize
When filmmaker Henry Hampton first created the series, the owners of still photos, video footage and music granted permission to use the material for various lengths of time. Many of those rights have since expired, and it is more costly now to re-clear them.

The task of reacquiring those rights has fallen on Forman and a team of film industry veterans who worked on the Eyes series. They have a formidable job ahead: Blackside used video footage from 82 archives, and approximately 275 still photographs from about 93 archives, according to Forman. About 120 song titles were used as well.