Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Freedom for "Eyes on the Prize"

Downhill Battle is championing the cause of the excellent U.S. civil rights documentary series Eyes on the Prize.

The documentary is caught in copyright-hell because it used tons of news footage which the filmmakers would have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to renew their rights to use the footage. Even though they made, broadcast and distributed the series in the 80's, the vicious copyright laws that have been enacted on behalf of the fat-cats in the "content industry" now prevent them from legally engaging in any further distribution.

That means no more video tapes, no more broadcasts or public exhibitions, and no dvds.

Downhill Battle have rightfully called for people to download and share (via video, dvd, file-sharing, etc.) the series to ensure this immensely valuable historical record continues to be available. They have also called for a special day of action:

On February 8, 2005, at 8pm, you can join in the struggle against the corporate pirates who seek to take away our collective history by putting on, or attending, a viewing of part 1 of the series.

Adbusters Meetups Update: There will be a Calgary screening on February 8, 8pm, at the Arusha Centre (106, 223 - 12 Avenue SW).

Update 2: J. B. Zimmerman, nephew of Henry Hampton who produced the Eyes on the Prize series, is speaking out against Downhill's "Eyes on the Screen" campaign. He has written a couple articles ("It doesn't matter if the cause is just" and "Eyes on the Prize is most definitely NOT commonsized").

I'm still supporting the campaign, but I'm calling for folks to fundraise at the screenings to support the efforts of Blackside to get the series re-released - especially for dvd which it has never come out on. I'll post when I have info on where the money would best be sent.

Originally spotted at the Boing Boing article Eyes on the Screen: Direct action to save Eyes on the Prize.

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