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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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April 14, 2005

Do You Know Where That Picture Has Been?

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

The Australian Actor's Union is, over the objections of the actors, blocking professional actors' participation in what is to be the first intentionally remixable film. The project, titled "Sanctuary," was to be released under a Creative Commons license that would have permitted reuse of images and elements of the film. The union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), has objected on nominal grounds that the actors could be placed in jeopardy of violating future commercial agreements. Actors are generally required to disclose past work they've done to avoid oddities like the same actor appearing in ads for two competing products. MEAA is concerned that actors' images could appear in material they're not aware of and thus cannot disclose.

In theory, the CC license is only for non-commercial works and the actors seem to be willing to take on the risks, so it's hard for me to understand MEAA's objection. Depressingly, this kind of thing is not unique to Australia - in the US, the Screen Actor's Guild and Equity (theater actor's guild) have imposed restrictions on what their members can do, sometimes over vehement protests from membership.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


COMMENTS

1. Donna Wentworth on April 14, 2005 1:18 PM writes...

As I briefly mentioned a little while ago, Brian Flemming as a few choice words on this peculiar development -- check out Return of the Boston Strangler.

Permalink to Comment

2. Peter on April 14, 2005 4:49 PM writes...

Brian Fitzgerald, the dean of the faculty of law at QUT (who is closely associated with Creative Commons development in Australia), contacted the Alliance and understands the unions' concerns. He said he will work with the Alliance to solve the problem regarding the CC license.

As far as I know this is is a legal problem and Ms Ledwidge and co have gotten a great deal of publicity over this. The union is acting on behalf of professional actors wishes, while the film's producers are acting out of self-interest.

As the production is allegedly only a proof of concept work, why won't the producer's just appear in it themselves? That would solve the problem, would it not?

Permalink to Comment

3. Branko Collin on April 16, 2005 4:03 PM writes...

Ah, I was going to ask how often you were going to run this story, but Donna already noticed there was something amiss. :-)

@Peter "The union is acting on behalf of professional actors wishes, while the film's producers are acting out of self-interest."

The idea behind a creative commons is lost on you, is it not?

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