Dec 22, 2011

Two 2012 Orphan Symposia Run Simultaneously

Just to avoid confusion:

The NYU Orphan Film Symposiun is April 11-14, 2012.
The UCB Orphan Works Symposium is April 12-13.

Yes, there are two orphans symposia happening simultaneously. Let a hundred flowers bloom. "Orphan Works & Mass Digitization: Obstacles and Opportunities" is hosted by the University of California Berkeley School of Law and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.

NYU's moving image copyright instructor, Rina Pantalony, recommends the white paper on orphan works published this week: David Robert Hansen, "Orphan Works: Definitional Issues," (December 19, 2011). Berkeley Digital Library Copyright Project White Paper No. 1. Available at

"Orphan Works & Mass Digitization" features 6 sessions and a keynote by the recently appointed Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante.

Sessions are built around these questions and their "and why?" follow-ups:

  • Who wants to make use of orphan works?
  • Who is concerned about broader access to orphans?
  • What is the best approach to addressing the orphan works problem?
  • What role should registries play in averting orphan work problems?
  • Who wants to do mass digitization?
  • Should data mining of in-copyright digital works be permissible?

The symposium's home page is

Below is the event's precis, quoted in full.

In 2006, the US Copyright Office recommended legislation to allow unlicensed reuses of in-copyright works whose rights holders cannot be located through a reasonably diligent search to solve the "orphan works" problem. Contributing causes to this problem are a lessening of copyright formalities (such as notice of copyright claims on copies of works and voluntary registration of copyright claims) and several extensions of copyright terms. The European Commission has recently proposed a directive that would also open up greater access to orphan works in Europe.

Although orphan works legislation made some headway in Congress in the late 2000s, its progress was stalled for several reasons, including Google's announcement in the fall of 2008 of a settlement of a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild and five trade publishers over Google's scanning of in-copyright books from the collections of major research libraries for purposes of indexing their contents and serving snippets in response to user search queries.

The Google Book settlement proposed an innovative way to provide greater access to orphan books. Under the settlement, Google would have been entitled to commercialize all out of print books in the Google Book corpus, including orphans, as long as it provided 63 per cent of the revenues to a new collecting society whose job would be to track down rights holders so these rights holders could collect money for Google's uses of their books.

In March 2011, Judge Chin rejected the proposed settlement on the ground that it was inconsistent with copyright rules that require that rights holders give permission before commercial uses are made of their works. In Judge Chin's view, solving the orphan work problem should be done by Congress, not through a class action settlement.

The Register of Copyrights has written to key members of Congress to indicate that the Office would be willing to consider how to address the orphan works problem now that the Google settlement has been rejected.

Given the failure of the Google Book settlement and the newly proposed orphan works directive in the EU, the time is ripe for renewed consideration about how best to solve the orphan works problem. Among the kinds of questions that may be addressed in the symposium are: Is legislation necessary to achieve a solution to the orphan works problem, or can fair use achieve some of the goal? Should orphan works legislation be aimed at creating an exception for reuses of orphan works, or should reusers of orphan works only be subject to more limited remedies if a rights holder later shows up? What other solutions should be considered? To what extent is ambiguity about who as between authors and publishers own ebook rights contributing to the orphan work problem? What factors should be considered in determining what constitutes "a diligent search"? Should every potential user of an orphan work have to do such a search, or can users rely on searches conducted by others?

REGISTRATION is now open for both symposia.

However, is the place to begin your comparison shopping.

Dec 20, 2011

a new Sam Fuller film to premiere

Add to the list of screenings and speakers at the 8th Orphan Film Symposium this: a newly preserved film shot by young Samuel Fuller during his service with the Big Red One. Thanks to Christa Fuller and the Academy Film Archive, Fuller scholar Marsha Orgeron will introduce the first screening of a silent amateur film the emergent auteur shot shortly after the end of WWII. Unlike the harrowing and powerful film Sam Fuller shot of the liberation of Falkenau concentration camp in April 1945 (screened at Orphans 2008), this one is playful and parodic, bearing the title How to Light a Cigar. A most apropos title for the famously cigar-chomping cineaste.

Can't wait.

Dec 8, 2011

Third draft of the 2012 Orphan Film Symposium lineup

Symposium registration is open and online. Seats sell quickly, so register for the April 11-14, 2012 Orphan Film Symposium before 2011 expires. 
 *  *  *  *

•  Michael Aronson & Elizabeth Peterson (U of Oregon) "You Are Getting Sleepy/Hungry/Horny...": The Life and Times of Lester Beck, Filmmaking Psychologist; with screenings of the newly-preserved, pioneering sex education film Human Growth (Sy Wexler, 1948), and the sole Kodachrome print of Adaptive Behavior of Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels (Beck, 1942)
•  Marsha Orgeron (NCSU) on Sam Fuller's "home movie" How to Light a Cigar (1945)
•  Devin Orgeron (NCSU) Skip Elsheimer (U of Oregon) The Post Sugar Crisp TV ad campaign and AdView Digital Access
Yvonne Zimmermann (U of Zurich / NYU Visiting Scholar) Sponsored Films by Hans Richter: Die Börse als Barometer der Wirtschaftslage [The Stock Market] (Swiss Exchange Zurich, 1939) restored by la Cinémathèque suisse
Making Films at AT&T/Bell Labs, 1967-1974: filmmakers Lillian Schwartz, Nell Cox, and Bill Brand screening newly preserved 16mm works: including Schwartz's UFOs, Galaxies, Pixillation, Enigma, and Googolplex, Brand’s Touch Tone Phone Film (1973), as well as Cox and Leacock's Operator (1969)

 Other Orphans: Fugitives, Bastards, and Test-Tube Babies
            * Anna McCarthy (The Citizen Machine), Pushing on the Analogy
            * Tina Campt (Columbia U) Orphan Photos, Fugitive Images: Family Photography and the African Diaspora in Europe
          * Hadi Gharabhagi (NYU) The Bastard Files: State "Terrorism" and the Press in the USIS's News of Iran (1954)
Sunniva O’Flynn (Irish Film Archive) curates a program from the IFA collections
Jay Schwartz (Secret Cinema) and Louis Massiah (Scribe Video Center) on The Jungle (1967, 12th + Oxford Street Filmmakers) 
David Schwartz (Museum of the Moving Image) The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign ads
Anke Mebold (Deutsches Filminstitut) newly restored feature: Die Hochbahnkatastrophe, aka Elevated Train Catastrophe: 16th Sensational Adventure of Master Detective Harry Hill (Germany, 1921), introduced by Tom Gunning (U of Chicago)
Jon Gartenberg & Jeff Capp (GME) Tassilo Adam: Moving Image Adventures in Indonesia

Elena Rossi-Snook (NYPL for the Performing Arts) The Young Filmmakers Foundation Collection 

Karl Heider mini-tribute: [Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior: The Moving Film(1943, Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel), with remakes of the Heider-Simmel film by University of South Carolina students of Simon Tarr (in digital video) and by Dartmouth College students of Jodie Mack (in color 16mm)

Julia Noordegraaf (U of Amsterdam) and Leenke Ripmeester (Eye Film Institute Netherlands) on Joop Geesink’s Dollywood Advertising Films
• Mona Jimenez (APEX Ghana) and Manthia Diawara (NYU) on finding Hamile: The Tongo Hamlet (1964, Ghana Film Industry Corporation) 
Susan Courtney (U of South Carolina) on how orphan films impact media scholarship
• Nico de Klerk on The Hands of a Stranger (Richard Heffron, 1965) documentary about a hospital in South Vietnam; appropriated by Friends of Vietnam (Belgium)
Yongli Li (Beijing Film Academy & U of South Carolina) introduces Light Cavalry Girl (Jie Shen, Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio, Beijing, 1980)  

Light Cavalry Girl (1980), Chinese Film Collection, USC Moving Image Research Collections

• Ivan von Sauer (BBC Worldwide) and Craig Kridel (U of South Carolina) on School: A Film about Progressive Education (1939, Lee Dick)
Dan Friedlaender (Temple U) & Adrianne Finelli (U Mich) Men and Dust (1940, Lee Dick) labor advocacy film about diseases plaguing zinc and lead miners
Sergei Kapterev (Moscow Research Institute of Film Art) Soviet space films, including Flight to a Thousand Suns (1963)
Alice Lovejoy (University of Minnesota) Czechoslovak Army Films and Excess of Persuasion, with filmmaker Vojtěch Jasný
       * Opportunity (Vojtěch Jasný, 1957) agitational drama warning soldiers about infidelity
       * Crooked Mirror (Karel Kachyňa, 1958) on proper military dress
       * Army Newsreel 3/65 (Karel Vachek, 1965) liberation of Ostrava
       * Metrum (Ivan Balad’a, 1967) transportation in Moscow
Mark G. Cooper (U of South Carolina MIRC) Roman Vishniac microcinematography
Mark J. Williams (Dartmouth) television newsfilm from KTLA, et al.
Mark Quigley (UCLA) One Friday (Rolf Forsberg, 1973) classroom discussion film imagines an all-out race war in the U.S.
One Friday (1973) courtesy of Rolf Forsberg and UCLA Film and Television Archives
Allyson Nadia Field (UCLA) and Jacqueline Stewart (Northwestern) The L.A. Rebellion Project: Daydream Therapy (Bernard Nicolas, 1980)
Walter Forsberg (NYU Libraries) A Second Date: Let’s All Go to the Lobby (195?) and Snipe History 
Robert Martens presents Auroratone's When the Organ Played 'O Promise Me' (Cecil Stokes, 194?) with Bing Crosby. [with great thanks to Ralph Sargent and Alan Stark of Film Technology Co.]
Jaime Partsch (Universidad del Este, Puerto Rico) Films by Governor Jesús T. Piñero <ñero_Collection>

Martin L. Johnson (U of North Carolina) Booster films and the Paragon Feature Film Company: The Lumberjack (Wausau, 1914), Past and Present in the Cradle of Dixie (Montgomery, 1914), and The Blissveldt Romance (Grand Rapids, 1915)
Catherine Jurca (CalTech) The “Motion Pictures’ Greatest Year” Campaign: The World Is Ours (MPPDA, 1938)
Audrey Young (Cineteca Nacional) The Film that Survived the Fire: Cine Móvil (1976) [thanks to Colorlab]
Irene Lusztig (UC Santa Cruz) The Motherhood Archives (work in progress) documentary essay film on the construction of motherhood and an archival history of maternal education films
from Best-Fed Baby (U.S. Children's Bureau, 1925)
Jennifer Horne (Catholic U) Welcome to the Nanny State: Carlyle Ellis and the U.S. Children’s Bureau, 1919-1926. Screening Best-Fed Baby (1925) neo-natal health hygiene

Larry A. Jones (The Arc of Washington State; Seattle Disability Law) with Laura Kissel (U of South Carolina) Children Limited (1951, Children's Benevolent League) advocacy film about children with developmental disabilities and their families; rediscovered in 2011 at the Library of Congress

Helen Hill Media Education Center fundraising video (Whispering Statues, 2011)

Helen Hill Media Education Center from Whispering Statues.

Jeanne Burkhardt and Snowden Becker (Center for Home Movies) [Francena Feeding the Chickens] (Charles Camp, 1905) and Muggins the Cow Horse (Colorado roundup footage, 1904) [Are these the oldest surviving amateur films in the U.S.?]

"What happens if you eat watermelon seeds?"  (Helen Hill, 1997)
James Bittl (HBO) introduces “Fast Facts” and "Gross Facts,” Helen Hill’s interstitial animations for Street Sense (1997-98, CBC-TV)
Danielle Ash & Jodie Mack (2010 Helen Hill Awardees) a commissioned 70mm film
• Helen Hill Award recipient films, TBA
The Florestine Collection (2011) a film by Helen Hill, completed by Paul Gailiunas

and more . . . .