Last week was an off-week for The Film Strategist so my apologies but had to focus on some important work. Now I'm back so stay tuned for some interesting upcoming posts including your Monday and Midweek mixers.

On November 18, 1928 – The animated short Steamboat Willie was released.  This was the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks and featured the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. This is also considered by the Disney corporation to be Mickey's birthday.  The short was such a success that it propelled Disney to international stardom.

Now, what I want to know is when will Steamboat Willie and other works of that era finally fall in the public domain?  Because it should've happened a while ago already. But as Timothy B. Lee makes clear, "15 years ago [on October 25], President Clinton signed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which retroactively extended copyright protection. As a result, the great creative output of the 20th century, from Superman to "Gone With the Wind" to Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue," were locked down for an extra 20 years.
The copyright extension Clinton signed will expire in five years. Copyright holders like the Disney Corp. and the Gershwin estate have a strong incentive to try to extend copyright extension yet further into the future. But with the emergence of the Internet as a political organizing tool, opponents of copyright extension will be much better prepared. The question for the coming legislative battle on copyright is who will prevail: those who would profit from continuing to lock up the great works of the 20th century, or those who believe Bugs Bunny should be as freely available for reuse as Little Red Riding Hood."

I'm with the folks who want the works in the public domain.  The original creators are long dead so there is no "incentive" to create for them.  It limits the possibility of artists to create something new and interesting with the works (unless it's paid for and approved by the current copyright holders.  Also, it removes any incentives for the current copyright holders to create since they are just relying on what their forebears made.  Finally, it's a shame that there are less famous and even "lost" orphaned works wound up in the web of copyright extension that can't be discovered by a new audience because they are not in the public domain and the actual copyright holders are untraceable. 

Here's to a new day for the public domain on January 1, 2019.

WRITING: What can you learn about screenwriting breaking down the script for the Sylvester Stallone / Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie, Escape Plan?

PRODUCING: What are the top market trends gleaned from AFM that you should know about?

FINANCING: Why are more and more independents, instead of studios, financing middle-budget movies like Ted, The Wolf on Wall St. and American Hustle?

DIRECTING: What can you learn about having a long filmmaking career from Sylvester Stallone? No, seriously, he's done something right, considering that his first move in film was acting in a softcore porno yet he's almost 70 and still working.

SHOOTING: What's the difference between avchd and h.264?

LIGHTING: What was DP Colton Davie's experience shooting and lighting the short, The Whistler, on ALEXA?

SOUND: How do you digitally treat a voice?

STUNTS & FX: What are some DIY art direction tips to heed?

EDITING: What are some of the tools you can use to fake slow-motion in post production?

MARKETING:  When the art of the movie poster goes to shit, artists appear to rectify the situation.  Dare to market your film with a bold poster.

DISTRIBUTION: Can a grassroots cooperative for distributing films really work?

LEGAL: Gordon Firemark answers the following question, can you use another film's title or scenes in your screenplay?


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