Kodascopes and Copyrights

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Frame Rate
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:15 pm

Kodascopes and Copyrights

Unread post by Frame Rate » Wed May 15, 2019 1:00 pm

As most of us are well aware, the Kodascope library of feature films was particularly strong in its inclusion of titles licensed from Paramount and Warners. And today, nearly a century later, the availability (on home video) of a large percentage of those features is quite impressive and something for which we silents fans are to be grateful.

But has the road to the current state of availability (of Kodascope transfers on video) been a rather "bumpy ride" or mostly just a "smooth glide"?

At present I can only recall a very few legal dust-ups along the way.

The first took place way back in the 1950s, when L.A.'s legendary Silent Movie Theater got hassled by Paramount for an admission-charging screening of The Covered Wagon.

The second was more than thirty years later, when Time/Warner (then newly in possession of the Turner Classics library) supposedly demanded an end to the sale of So This is Paris on VHS.

Have there been other efforts by latter-day copyright holders to halt the exploitation of those titles from their back catalogues that managed to survive in Kodascope form?

Or have "the Big Guys" seemingly decided it's just not worth their hundreds-of-dollars-an-hour lawyers' time to even bother composing and sending cease-and-desist letters?
If only our opinions were as variable as the pre-talkie cranking speed...

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Donald Binks
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Re: Kodascopes and Copyrights

Unread post by Donald Binks » Wed May 15, 2019 5:17 pm

I wonder if the conglomerates have ever thought of composing a letter such as the following:

"Dear Sir,

Just heard the news that you are showing one of our old silent pictures. Congratulations and thank you on choosing our product. Even though we still hold the copyright and rights to this film, we are pleased to waive any fees, happy in the knowledge that there are still some who appreciate our earlier offerings. All we ask is that you play a couple of trailers for some of our more modern repertoire in your programme. Please advise us which format would prove suitable.

Yours faithfully
A. Mogul"
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

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