This was a New York Times article from June 29, 2008 highlighting a case in which the orphan works problem played a role. When Brian Merlis, a publisher of books of historical Brooklyn photographs, wanted to use two photographs in the archives of the Brooklyn Historical Society, the society rebuffed his request, citing copyright concerns. Since the holders of the copyrights for the pictures – one taken around 1895 and the other in the early 20th century – are unknown, the society is unwilling to take the risk of using them without permission from them or their estates for fear of infringement. Mr. Merlis’ objections became public when he wrote a letter to the local paper criticizing the decision. The historical society said it was working to track down the copyright holders for the two images in question.
This is important for my paper because it provides a classic example of the type of situation brought about by the orphan works problem. It also demonstrates why there are so few, if any, court cases involving orphan works, because people often do not use these works rather than risk infringement, thus avoiding a confrontation with an unknown copyright owner. Mr. Merlis makes a legitimate argument: if the historical society’s photos are omitted from his book, “Who loses out? The reader, the public, the people you want to spread the history to.” Under the orphan works bill, Mr. Merlis will be able to use the photographs and pay “reasonable compensation” if the owners emerge – a great example of how the bill will help permissible artistic endeavors come to fruition.
New York Times Co. v. Tasini is a case with similar information and applications to the topic of my thesis. This case was taken to the Supreme Court, therefore, the decision and reasoning is very strongly applicable to any case. In this case, six freelance authors (Tasini) had articles published in three publications, including the New York Times. Two computer database companies took their articles, along with all the other articles in these publications and added them to their databases. They had permission from the New York Times and other publications to do this, but not from the freelancers. Within these databases, the articles are all retrievable by a user in isolation of its context in the original print publication. Like Google, users of these databases can search for several key terms or names (including author and where it was published) to find what they are looking for.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the New York Times and the database companies. As stated in Perfect 10 v. Google, "The Supreme Court has indicated that in the electronic context, copies may be distributed electronically." Google's search engine uses HTML instructions that tell a user's browser where to find the full-size images, but Google does not actually distribute the copies. It is the publisher of the website that actually allows users to transmit the images to their computers. Then, like in Tasini, the user can download or print the image.
New York Times Co. v. Tasini is both similar and very different from Perfect 10 v. Google. It is similar in that they both involve distributing copyrighted works electronically. The databases from the Tasini case were allowed to distribute copies of work electronically without direct permission from the authors. Therefore, shouldn't Google be able to do the same thing with images? The difference makes this question even more obvious. Google, unlike the databases, is not even distributing the copyrighted works. They are merely creating links to make the works more easily accessible. This case supports my thesis by showing a related case with a decision that is similar to that which I am arguing for.
Flint, Peter B. "Alfred Hitchcock Dies; a Master of Suspense." New York Times 30 Apr. 1980. 7 Apr. 2008 .
This is the actual obituary published by the NY Times following Alfred Hitchcock's death in 1980. Although the article offers no more than a few brief comments about North by Northwest, it talks about many stylistic elements in the film which were hallmarks of Hitchcock's innovative approach. For example, one of the more prominent features of classic Hitchcock style is the emphasis on montage and dramatic imagery over dialogue in developing the story. This article mentions examples of this including North by Northwest's crop-dusting scene in which Cary Grant tries to evade a bullet-firing low-flying aircraft. It was clear that Hitchcock controlled a certain mastery of the camera. The scene, which begins with Grant is waiting for the elusive Kaplan along a long a dusty road in Northern Indiana, effectively demonstrates the suspense that can be achieved using wide shots and apparent isolation. The camera cuts frequently between shots of Grant looking down the expansive road in both directions and extended shots of the never-ending road. Hardly a word needs to be spoken in this scene for the audience to understand the character's frustration and fear.
Speaking of Hitchcock's style as a whole, the article acclaims his "virtuosity in creating a rhythm of anticipation with understated, sinister overtones, innovative pictorial nuance and montage... and revealing cross-cutting of objective shots with subjective views of a scene from an actor's perspective." This style is apparent throughout the film, but its power is best seen before and during the crop-dusting sequence and also in the fight on the faces of Mount Rushmore. Furthermore, Hitchcock oftens breaks from established convention in order to convey his message. For example, on the empty highway Hitchcock repeatedly breaks the 180-degree rule in order to display the surroundings and prove Thornhill's complete isolation from others. The works Hitchcock created are not only a great piece of cinematic history in their own right, but also in the lasting impact they have imparted on other filmmakers and their works. Hitchcock's legacy in film is a natural byproduct of his unique style over many great films during his lengthy career.
nytimes.com. (18 Oct 2004). 3 April 2008 <http://www.nytimes.com/2004/
This article discusses the cultural context in which Kramer vs. Kramer was published and adapted to film. In the late 1970’s, American culture was in an interesting transition period as the lines that separated the public sphere, which had traditionally had been dominated by males, and the private, domestic sphere, which had once been dominated by women, began to blur. Important questions were being asked my society as men and women were defying traditional gender roles, including whether men could adequately raise a child, or whether women’s presence in the professional world would interrupt socioeconomic progress. Avery Corman evaluates the changes that have occurred in gender roles inside and outside marriage since his book was adapted into a blockbuster movie. He also discusses how he obtained the idea for the book, and describes his intention to write an “idealized father,” citing a man who is successful in both the public sphere and private sphere of life when confronted with the responsibility of both. Corman also discusses his goals in writing the book and his views on divorce and family as derived from his personal experience. He comments on the influence of Kramer vs. Kramer on American society’s views on the abilities and roles of the genders, and the objections of many feminists to his depiction of divorce and the role of Dustin Hoffman as a father. He states that he believes that his book and the subsequent movie influenced males to fight for child custody and play a more active role in the lives of the children after divorce.
This article is relevant to the topic because of its discussion of divorce in Kramer vs. Kramer. This article is particularly useful due to its inclusion of comments from Avery Corman, the author of the original Kramer vs. Kramer novel, in regards to feminism, divorce, and his intention in crafting the story.
This New York Times feature of Fitzcarraldo offers Herzog’s perspective on the production of the film. He claims that if there had been a jungle with two rivers and a mountain in Central Park he would have been happy to film there instead of remote areas of Peru. He denies that he intentionally seeks obstructions and dangers when filming, only doing what he sees necessary to produce the film. In describing the historical Fitzcarrald, he states, “It's the stupid, uninteresting story of a man who exploited a vast area.” Herzog saw the boat scene as far more than just moving the vessel over a mountain. It was a symbol of a clash of cultures and a clash of dreams. He justified the choice to film the scene as he did in saying “so many rich details that you never thought of beforehand, there is so much more than you can imagine, that what the film gains in texture rewards your toil a hundred times.”
Multiple sources in this project criticize Herzog for the decision to force so many people to endure the conditions necessary for this film and question the necessity of actually moving the boat over the mountain. This interview-heavy feature allows Herzog to rebut the criticism. The piece shows that Herzog is not quite the nutcase filmmaker that some see him to be. He has a deep commitment to making the movie exactly as he sees fit. The direct quotations also provide an example of Herzog’s conversational style. When he bluntly calls the story of the original rubber baron “stupid,” one can therefore infer that he sees the story of the exploration and seeking to establish a rubber plantation as relatively unimportant in the film. The moving of the boat over the mountain appears to be the greatest part for him, along with most other viewers. Additionally, the shaping of the fictional character demonstrates the huge importance of opera in understanding the character of Fitzcarraldo.
Kamp, David. “Woody Talks.” New York Times on the Web. 18 November 2007. University of Pennsylvania Van Pelt Library, 06 April 2008. <http://movies.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/books/review/Kampt.html?pagewanted=1&sq=annie%20hall&st=nyt&scp=9>
This recent book review of Conversations with Woody Allen from the New York Times mentions Annie Hall, although it does not directly focus on the film. However, it does focus on Woody Allen’s directorial achievements throughout his career, which is pertinent because Allen’s choices in directing Annie Hall allowed it much of its success. Kamp first addresses Allen’s notorious inability to give himself credit, enjoy himself or celebrate his achievements (with another reference to the “anhedonia” title once given to Annie Hall). This omnipresent issue in Allen’s life is also the driving force behind Alvy Singer’s inability to succeed in a romantic relationship with Annie Hall. Kamp mentions how the book succeeds in making light of Allen’s development of his most famous stylistic trademarks on the set of Annie Hall. Ultimately, the review is a slightly negative one, in that the author finds the book to lack drama. He attributes this, though, to the lack of drama in Allen’s life and behavior; Allen’s demeanor does not ever seem to change drastically over the decades of his career. He makes sure to comment on the strong relationship between the author and Allen to highlight why the lack of drama may have been a conscious choice by both men involved. Kamp criticizes the author, Eric Lax, for not being aggressive enough in his approach to interviewing Allen. Kamp does conclude, however, by noting Allen’s continuous ability, through his film and through such things as the interviews included in Lax’s book, to entertain.
Kamp’s investigation of the book, and his deeper exploration of Woody Allen - the character and the director – confirms Allen’s status in the industry as one of the most influential and well-respected directors of our time. Although it does not particularly consider Annie Hall in relation to Allen’s career, the discussion of Allen alone shows how all films by Allen, including his most successful, Annie Hall, have had a deep impact on the film world and on society in general.
"Graduating with Honors" is the New York Times' first review of The Graduate, written by Bosley Crowther on New Years Eve 1967. Crowther claims that writing about this movie as his last ever review as a Times film critic is an honor. It is one of the strongest film reviews that I have ever read in the New York Times, praising everything from the music, to the acting, to the direction and humor. The article recognizes the "american-ness" of both the setting and the characters. It talks about Nichols ability to create a brilliant satire on the American affluent society, with its roots in his older skits with Elaine May.
Crowther describes the cinematic style as "aggressive and full of surprise", which is exactly what Nichols was going for. Interestingly, he does not refer to Simon and Garfunkle as the celebrated artists they are today; rather, he nonchalantly mentions that their music is included in the film, creating appropriate moods. He also keeps referring to Dustin Hoffman as a new talent, which seems so interesting looking back, although it is reasonable that this movie would have put him on the map as an actor. Anne Bancroft is deemed the best woman for the role of Mrs. Robinson, and Katherine Ross is claimed to be the perfect mixture of innocent girlishness and naivety to form a believable Elaine.
Crowther reveals the affair with Mrs. Robinson in a slightly different light from many other critics. After describing the typical nature of the affluent Beverly Hills society, he indicates that this incident is a revelation of the corruption that is often present behind the scenes of such phony lifestyles. It seems significant that a writer at the time, who was probably emerged in a similar lifestyle, was able to recognize and indicate the fallacy of the "perfect" suburbs.
This article is especially important because the New York Times is probably the most widely influential newspaper in the country. Movie fans await the rare occasion upon which the Times will give such high praise to a film. The Graduate is one of the few films deserving of such wonderful ratings in all of its various facets.
In this original New York Times review of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, published on March 16, 1972, columnist Vincent Canby describes specifically the plot and themes of the film. He then proceeds to sing the praises of Coppola’s efforts. Ultimately, we can see how this popular film was well-received even upon its initial release, given that Canby’s article was nothing short of glowing.
Canby begins the article by introducing Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel The Godfather first. More often than not adapted screenplays from novels aren’t well liked, partly because there is a great deal of expectation surrounding them, but also because creating what many people have envisioned differently is a daunting task. Still, Canby begins his series of compliments by praising Coppola for being able to stand up to the task and really make the film as good as if not better than the novel, while still remaining true to the characters and plotline.
He continues by turning to the complexities of both the characters as well as story difficulties, describing how characters that are very well liked may very well act out in later scenes, making it difficult to establish whom to vote for. For instance, the typical mafia wars here are not particularly glorified, nor does Coppola hide the brutality of the family business. Instead, despite the rather small portion of a community that has actually experienced it, he gives us a full and true sense of both the violence as well as the love and respect present within the Corleone family.
Finally, Canby attempts to make a brief mention of the superb acting in the film, but with so many incredible people, most of whom would go on to lead very successful careers if they weren’t already, he struggles and only specifically calls out Marlon Brando for his incredible return to film, and Al Pacino, who starred. Coppola receives many compliments for his rather lengthy feature film, 175 minutes in fact, all of which are of course well deserved.