Friday, June 1, 2018

No one protecting the copyright

I almost gave up on being able to watch Europa Europa in the month of May.

It wasn’t some arbitrary deadline I placed on myself, though on this blog that would not be unusual. Rather, it was the movie I’d drawn in this monthly viewing challenge in which I participate through my Flickcharters Facebook group. There are some 30 of us doing it, and each month, the guy who organizes it draws a name for each of us from a hat. Our assignment is then to watch the highest ranked movie on that other person’s chart that we haven’t seen.

Europa Europa (I prefer to leave out the middle comma, though I’ve seen it written both ways) was the #17 movie for the woman I drew. And impossible to find anywhere, it seemed.

I tried the library. I tried iTunes. I tried all of my streaming services. It seemed like the kind of thing that might be available through Kanopy, but it was not.

Just before I was about to move on to her next highest movie I had not seen, Gaslight, I randomly decided to check YouTube, and there it was.

Considering that copyright holders regularly scrub YouTube of anything that infringes on their copyright, often within hours of when it gets posted, I found it strange to see a complete copy of Europa Europa staring me in the face. Strange but by no means unprecedented. I’ve watched a couple movies on YouTube before, and not only the ones that have lapsed into the public domain. The strangest example was when we watched The Room there last year, especially since I understood Tommy Wiseau to be particularly tenacious when it comes to making sure people pay to see his movie.

I guess I don’t have much to say about EE being available that way. It’s tempting to say that it represents some kind of neglect of a movie that people should be properly buying on Criterion or whatever you have to do to watch it these days. But maybe it’s just someone out there being magnanimous and allowing a great movie into our lives that isn’t widely available elsewhere. If you’re an artist you just want people to see your work, and maybe even if you’re a copyright holder rather than an artist, you feel that way too.

Or maybe it is just neglect.

I got all confident and tried to find Agnes Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7 on there, as I would prefer this to be one of two Varda movies I see when I eventually get to her in Audient Auteurs. But in order to see this on YouTube – which you can do – you have to subscribe to their movie service.

Which, honestly, might be worth doing it if doesn’t cost too much and allows me to see the movie.

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