Behind the Scenes: About Curating

(Originally posted by LaDonna to the OtherWorlds TV Facebook Page 2018-11-05)

Evening lurkers,

Since Charlie has been giving you a peek behinds the scenes on the technical end I decided to give you one on the curating side. Grab a cuppa, this is a bit long.

First, all the movies, clips, etc. we use fall into three categories Public Domain (copyright free), Creative Commons (since we don’t charge a per view or subscription fee we can use them as a non-commercial entity) and things we have permission from the creator to use (like Horror Hosted shows, and Kevin’s Beer Reviews).

We don’t use copywritten/licensed material because it’s stupid expensive. An example is Lair of the White Worm’s use license is $3,500.

Some channels have tried to sneak some of those anyway but they have paid, dearly. We are talking $XX,XXX amount paid in fines. So yeah, we aren’t going there.

But what does that leave us? Well, if you ask most people they will tell you only things made before 1978. Well that’s only partly true. Videos made before 1978 are consider public domain in the United States IF the copyright hasn’t been renewed by a LEGITIMATE Party. We’ll get to legitimate later.

Now, there are also plenty of things that were made after ’78 that are public domain as well. Why? Copyright costs, and super low budget movies often can’t afford it. Or if a studio makes a dog of a picture, they will revoke copyright in order to get some of the registration money back. That way they don’t completely lose their shirts. There are also some directors and producers who release their catalogs into the public domain upon their death, bless them.

What that all means is we research everything before we air it to make sure (as far as we know) we are not breaking the law. Most times it’s a 1 minute search. But sometimes it gets real interesting. Some of my favorites:

Betty Boop – Betty Boop is in the public domain but her dog Pudgy isn’t. If Pudgy is in the movie, you are in violation.

“Silent” Movies – A movie we wanted to show was Public domain but not the sound. The soundtrack creator filed copyright on the music as an attempt to get paid for working on the movie since the production company left them high and dry.

No dub – Spectreman is public domain. But only the original Japanese. When the episodes were dubbed, the dubbed versions could then be copyrighted because a significant change was made.

Squatters – Just because someone says they own the copyright and filed paperwork doesn’t mean they own it. Squatters will snap up whole catalogs from defunct studios and slap a copyright on it saying they are working “on behalf of” the company. But the copyright office only keeps their application on file, they don’t approve it until the Squatters can prove they have the legal right to them. Meanwhile these squatters will try to convince the unknowing to pay to show these movies in order to avoid court. But squatters don’t want to go to court, they know they will lose.

All that’s to say is sometimes no matter how much we want to show something, we can’t. That doesn’t mean don’t stop asking. There are literally 1,000’s of videos we can play. Just not everything.