Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

First Few Doctor Who Episodes May Fall To Public Domain Next Year

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the people's-doctor dept.

Sci-Fi 216

First time accepted submitter wmr89502270 writes "Doctor Who is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The special The Day of The Doctor will be broadcast simultaneously in over 75 countries and hundreds of cinemas in the UK. Across the world the hotly anticipated special episode will be screened simultaneously in full 3D. According to Copyright law of the United Kingdom, the copyright in a broadcast program expires 50 years from the end of the year in which it is broadcast, which means the first episodes will fall to public domain next year."

cancel ×

216 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Although I must add... (5, Insightful)

Lirodon (2847623) | about a year ago | (#45032795)

It probably won't hit PD in America until 3025. Like any other cultural work.

Re:Although I must add... (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#45032855)

I don't know why it was modded troll. If the work was originally copyrighted in the UK with a 50 year copyright, why can't the US distributor claim 75+ years on the US copyright? If it's PD in UK, why would that require it to be PD in the US? Didn't Amazon get in trouble with Australian 1984, PD in Australia, but not the US? That indicates to me that the US rules are in effect for the US, even if the work was copyrighted outside the US.

the mouse will just make it so there is no time ou (1, Troll)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#45032867)

the mouse will just make it so there is no time out and give you same time that you get for trying get into an bank vault if you dare to try to put some thing that the mouse said it's time to put in there vault just to come out again at full price years later.

Re:the mouse will just make it so there is no time (3, Funny)

rakslice (90330) | about a year ago | (#45032891)

You said it, Time Cube Guy.

Re:the mouse will just make it so there is no time (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033045)

I think that guy smoked a bunch of "herb" then had a few beers before deciding to get on the Internet.

Translation from drunk stoner who can't seem to use grammar: "Disney keeps extending Copyright in the US so that they can keep taking movies out of circulation and put them in the so called 'Disney Vault', taking it off the market and exploiting Copyright which prevents anyone else from legally fulfilling the demand allows for demand to build up artificially so they can then start selling the mothballed movies again at full price in 're-release'".

Re:the mouse will just make it so there is no time (1)

jalopezp (2622345) | about a year ago | (#45033747)

Only ten more years, it'll also be in the public domain

Re:Although I must add... (3, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45033219)

That indicates to me that the US rules are in effect for the US, even if the work was copyrighted outside the US.

That is, more or less, how the law operates. Now when I say more or less, the devil's in the details. There are numerous treaties covering cross-country patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc., so filing in one country extends similar protections simultaniously to all the other signatories... but the implimentation of treaty terms can vary from one country to another, as can the interpretations of some provisions. In Japan, for example, you can patent something that is in every detail identical to your competitor except it's a slightly different shade of muave and it qualifies as a unique work. But that doesn't mean you won't get sued in the United States for patent infringement if you try to market it. The laws are a patchwork of often conflicting and vague tombs of treaties, federal, state, and local law. Hell, California routinely tries to supercede federal authority; Pick up a canister of oxygen sometime "This product is known to cause cancer in the state of california." But nowhere else, apparently. Anyone who wants to sell their product in California has to do business by their funktastic and horribly deranged environmental regulations... and the EPA has been forced to write new legislation specifically to say "... We only have to make a new law about this because California rode the short bus on this stuff. Again."

Re:Although I must add... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033717)

The got it wrong. Actually it was California that was causing cancer.

Re:Although I must add... (1)

edjs (1043612) | about a year ago | (#45033241)

This depends on how the the rule of the shorter term [wikipedia.org] is applied. It looks like you are SOL in the US.

Re:Although I must add... (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#45033363)

Obviously, we must immediately extend copyright legislation everywhere else in the world, retroactively, to be AT LEAST what is enacted in the US or whatever the longest limits are anywhere in the world, otherwise...civilization will end.

And we don't want that.

Re:Although I must add... (2)

3247 (161794) | about a year ago | (#45033469)

That indicates to me that the US rules are in effect for the US, even if the work was copyrighted outside the US.

"Copyrighted outside the US" is nonsense. That's not how copyright law works. In fact, every work is copyrighted in every country according to the laws of that country. Even if a work was created in the UK, it is copyrightet under UK law, US law ... and the law of any other country that has the concept of copyright.

Thus, if the doctor becomes PD in the UK, that only means that it is PD with respect to uses (such as copying) performed in the UK. If it's not PD in the US at the same time, then you infringe on US copyright laws if you do the same in the US.

Re:Although I must add... (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#45033645)

Thus, if the doctor becomes PD in the UK, that only means that it is PD with respect to uses (such as copying) performed in the UK. If it's not PD in the US at the same time, then you infringe on US copyright laws if you do the same in the US.

If you can copy it in the UK, then you have a valid legal copy there. Are you allowed to bring your valid legal copy into the US? If so, then it's in PD in the US, in that anyone can go to the UK, print 10,000 copies, and bring them back, right? If not, then the US law applies everywhere, but only is enforced when you are in the US. I wouldn't put it past them enforcing a law against making Dr Who copies in the UK while outside the country and bringing back no copies. Much like traveling out of the US to have legal sex and returning to the US is illegal in the US, and people are arrested for it (depending on some variables around the sex).

The answer they use is "no". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033661)

Buy jeans in thailand and ship them to the UK to sell? Grey imports are piracy!!!

They will do you for copyright infringement even if you get it from the UK by arguing that you had to make a local copy to store it in the USA, so you'd have to go to the UK and copy it to a medium that is then set to read only and NEVER COPIED AGAIN.

And then they'd say they are suspicious that you are importing with intent to break the law and stop you anyway.

Re:The answer they use is "no". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034077)

And then they'd say they are suspicious that you are importing with intent to break the law and stop you anyway.

Wait, they can stop you because they suspect you intend to break the law?

What's next, speeding tickets on the ground of "while you didn't drive too fast, we suspect you intend to do so as soon as you are away from our radar post, so we fine you anyway"?

Re:Although I must add... (4, Informative)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#45033685)

If you can copy it in the UK, then you have a valid legal copy there. Are you allowed to bring your valid legal copy into the US? If so, then it's in PD in the US, in that anyone can go to the UK, print 10,000 copies, and bring them back, right?

No. There's a legally-recognised difference between importing for personal use and importing for resale.

See also controlled medicines, alcohol and tobaco.

Re:Although I must add... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#45033903)

No. There's a legally-recognised difference between importing for personal use and importing for resale.

See also controlled medicines, alcohol and tobaco.

Which is prohibited by copyright?

Re:Although I must add... (3, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#45033531)

People are getting confused here. It is only the broadcast rights that are falling into public domain, not the public performance rights.

If you take for example The Snowman, Raymond Briggs wrote the music. He retains the copyright on the music until 70 years after he dies. He is still alive so the clock hasn't started ticking yet. Other people have copyright in all the cartoon drawings, and I believe they are all still alive. The copyright exists on them until the last of them dies. Channel 4 first broadcasted it about 30 years ago. They own the copyright on the act of broadcasting it on public television anywhere in Europe for 50 years. There is about 20 years left to run on that.

So, if for example RAI (Italian TV station) wants to broadcast it, they must get permission from Raymond Briggs, from the cartoon drawers, and from Channel 4. In 20 years time, they no longer have to ask Channel 4, but they still need permission from the other copyright holders.

Re:Although I must add... (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#45033557)

Correction: It was Howard Blake who wrote the music. Raymond Briggs drew the cartoons. Both are still alive.

Re:Although I must add... (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#45033741)

The Berne Convention says (warning: massive simplifications ahead) that each signatory must treat works copyrighted in other territories as if they were copyrighted in their own territory. That means that if something is copyrighted in the UK, then it is subject to UK copyright law in the UK, but if you are in the USA then it is subject to US copyright law. This means that it can be in the public domain in one place, but not in another.

Re:Although I must add... (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#45033915)

So 1984 is copyrighted in Australia because it's copyrighted in the US and in the public domain in Australia, so Australia has to treat it like it's copyrighted, as it is in the US, and the US will treat it as copyrighted as it is in the US. So the most restrictive laws win?

Re:Although I must add... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#45034041)

No, Australia has to treat it as if copyright were filed in Australia, and so it is in the public domain there, the US has to treat it as if copyright were filed there and so it's in copyright there.

Re:Although I must add... (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#45033287)

I was just thinking about how the new episodes will likely not hit public domain until 2105 at the very earliest. Of course, who thinks current 95yr copyright law will really exist for the next hundred years and not be extended to "forever"?

Re:Although I must add... (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year ago | (#45033355)

Speaking of new episodes, I for one can't wait to see how Peter Capaldi will work out...

Ladies and gentleman,

The New Doctor [youtube.com]

(Note: "strong language" doesn't even begin to cover this bit.)

Re:Although I must add... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034205)

Sweet! I can watch it whilst piloting my 'Mech!

Of course the actual copies existing is in doubt. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45032797)

Thank you BBC beancounters. Thrifty today is costly tomorrow.

Re:Of course the actual copies existing is in doub (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#45033761)

The first serial (An Unearthly Child) survives and has been restored into pretty good condition. The second serial (The Daleks), also survives. The fourth serial (Marco Polo) is missing some episodes, and so are several of the later ones. Most of season 3 is lost (including all of four of the seven serials and most of several of them, such as The Daleks' Master Plan) and so are some important bits of Season 4 (including most of the last episode, when the first Doctor dies).

It's a very good argument for shorter copyright, as copyright holders apparently can't be trusted to ensure that our cultural legacy survives.

Re:Of course the actual copies existing is in doub (1)

jeremyp (130771) | about a year ago | (#45033831)

When Doctor Who was first broadcast, nobody knew that one day it would be part of our cultural legacy.

Re:Of course the actual copies existing is in doub (3, Insightful)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | about a year ago | (#45033879)

When *anything* is broadcast, nobody can be sure whether one day it will be part of our cultural legacy. Even when there's a time machine in it.

Re:Of course the actual copies existing is in doub (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#45034045)

Any form of entertainment that is enjoyed by a nontrivial proportion of the population is part of our cultural legacy. It's only later that you can tell how important a part it is.

Re:Of course the actual copies existing is in doub (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45034139)

They made the right call at the time, given that the alternative to was to archive every tape and stack up a nontrivial fraction of the BBC's budget in a vault in preparation for applications that didn't exist.

Most media go through a period where the recording format is too valuable not to reuse (magnetic tape) or too fragile to store (nitrocellulose film, early print). Some day maybe we'll invent a way to record brain patterns, but I'm inclined to expect it'll be in a medium like defect-free carbon-hassium nanocrystals that cost $500,000 each. I don't doubt that some re-recording in whatever technology we come up with.

NASA recorded over the Moon Landing masters, at a time when they were better-funded than they have ever been. The BBC is in good company.

Rise up to the public domain (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45032811)

FTFY

So the juristiction is growing. (4, Funny)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | about a year ago | (#45032837)

The MPAA and the RIAA must be absolutely scared shitless about the logistics of having to police the galaxy up to 55 light years to make certain that "I love Lucy" is not being pirated. At least the Brits only have to police less than 1875 star systems for pirates. Man those aliens must be really happy out past 50 years that they are finally going to be able to record DR WHO! They must be wonder when they will be able to digitize Gun Smoke and Bonanza but that might not happen in their life times.

Re:So the juristiction is growing. (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | about a year ago | (#45032907)

X stir men 8 (c)

Re:So the juristiction is growing. (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about a year ago | (#45032929)

Why didn't submitter just sit on this news for a year? Wait until it happens, or you're just warning the enemy, and giving them time to prepare!

Re:So the juristiction is growing. (2)

Sabriel (134364) | about a year ago | (#45033263)

By the time typical terrrestrial radio/tv signals get about fifty light years out, they're almost indistinguishable from background noise. High-powered radar (the kind used by the military and in astronomy) has a lot more range, but isn't in the MPAA/RIAA's bailiwick.

http://io9.com/are-we-screwing-ourselves-by-transmitting-radio-signals-493800730 [io9.com]

Re:So the juristiction is growing. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45034143)

How does copyright work in a relativistic universe, anyway? In whose reference frame do we count the passage of time? Does the clock start when the original is created, or when I enter the light cone of the creation of the original?

BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effect. (5, Informative)

robbak (775424) | about a year ago | (#45032861)

Namely, destruction of all extant copies.

BBC destroyed the only copies of most of those episodes decades ago. The only existing copies are some that were sent overseas and temporarily lost, so they were not recovered and destroyed. Others only exist in the form of home-made speaker-to-microphone reel-to-reel audio tapes.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (4, Informative)

Lirodon (2847623) | about a year ago | (#45032889)

Namely, destruction of all extant copies.

BBC destroyed the only copies of most of those episodes decades ago. The only existing copies are some that were sent overseas and temporarily lost, so they were not recovered and destroyed. Others only exist in the form of home-made speaker-to-microphone reel-to-reel audio tapes.

Actually, "wiping" was a rather common practice for every broadcaster back then. Tape was expensive, etc.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#45033129)

Not only that but that old tape was VERY temperamental about how much climate and humidity it would tolerate so had to be kept in...well practically a vault with strict climate control which is why so many shows from the 40s-60s were lost both in the USA and the UK, the cost to keep early tape in playable condition was just insane.

Also you have the fact that as TVs switched to color most folks really didn't seem interested in watching some old B&W show, they all wanted color to enjoy on their new sets which made corps like the BBC figure that B&W shows would never be worth a nickel and when you figure in the insane costs of storing the film and the cost of the films themselves? not really surprising that they didn't keep them.

Finally as for copyrights? I believe until We,The People have a seat at the table they should be looked at as what they are, unjust laws bought by bribes and like all unjust laws should be ignored as much as possible. What we have in america does NOT fit either into the framework the founders wrote nor any idea of a "reasonable time", no what we have is Valenti's "forever minus a single day" because every time it looks like that fucking mouse will end up in PD Disney will bribe the politicians for another stay. this is why if you want to pirate something? Please by all means pirate Disney, don't give those bribing bastards a single cent of your money. I mean how fucked up is it that Walt has been dead longer than many here have been alive and many of his first works, made when planes were made of cloth and antibiotics were but a dream, is STILL under copyright?

Until copyrights actually have limits again we,the People should simply ignore them, they no longer serve their intended purpose and now merely enrich a few old white guys that lock more and more of a culture behind a paywall.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (3, Insightful)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45033143)

Also, don't forget that the Actors and Musicians union limited the number of repeats that could be shown in any given year; nowadays it seems to be mostly repeats with a few new programmes thrown in to the schedules occasionally.
The Union members hated repeats as their members didn't get paid as much compared to first-run broadcasts. So effectively, the TV broadcasters were accumulating large amounts of material that they couldn't reshow.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033247)

Also, don't forget they had a fire which burnt many archive copies of shows, not just Dr Who.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45033927)

No, this is not true, sorry. There was no fire at the storage facilities. People use this as an excuse for the BBC's dire archival status, but the only "fire" was in the furnaces that the BBC utilised and into which episodes of many TV shows were thrown.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#45033285)

On the other hand, there is a ton of television content from the 40s, 50s, and 60s which is available in full. Dick Van Dyke Show, Honeymooners, Andy Griffith, and so on.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (3, Interesting)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45033941)

Yes the US archival situation is a lot better than the UK one. One reason is that multiple copies of TV shows were made so that they could be shown across the states in multiple time zones and with more copies, there's more chance of something having survived.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#45034277)

That's a clever point. I hadn't even thought about that.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

havana9 (101033) | about a year ago | (#45033443)

Most episodes were also on 16 mm film. Unfortunately if they were not on modern safety film the temperamentality of old reel was like the one of a dynamite candle. When affordable VCR were available everybody started to telecine the fire liability with images on that they had on storage. Some episodes of doctor who were destroyed because the master 16 mm reels were marked wrongly as telecined and sent to recycle factory.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45034273)

Not only that but that old tape was VERY temperamental about how much climate and humidity it would tolerate so had to be kept in...well practically a vault with strict climate control which is why so many shows from the 40s-60s were lost both in the USA and the UK, the cost to keep early tape in playable condition was just insane.

Or you can just put it in a salt mine, done and done.

Which indicates their abuse. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033667)

They never, NEVER, intended to hold up their side of the copyright bargain.

SO WHY THE FUCK DID THEY GET COPYRIGHTS???

If I borrow money with never any intent to pay it back, I can be done for fraud.

If they knew they would routinely destroy the only legal copies, why the hell do they get copyrights when they were only going to allow the benefits, not the cost?

Re:Which indicates their abuse. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45033675)

If the nefarious scheme you're describing seems too diabolical to believe, maybe the destruction of the tapes has nothing to do with your postulated scheme.

Re:Which indicates their abuse. (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#45033721)

They never, NEVER, intended to hold up their side of the copyright bargain.

They never actually thought about it.

I mean, copyright expiration was something nobody really planned for, it just happened, and the material was out there. The situation with TV can be compared with the controversy of GPL on SaaS platforms: because the service provider never distributes the object code, they never have to redistribute the source code. Broadcast material has no physical medium, so there was initially no way for the receiver to archive it. It wasn't a conspiracy, just no-one thought about the implications.

It's worth noting that in books, the principle was established in many countries that copies must be provided for "deposit libraries" that archive them to ensure that the contents are never lost to academics. Why wasn't this extended to broadcast media? I'm guessing the initial motivation wasn't campaigning by the broadcasters, but intellectual snobbery by the librarians (TV is still looked down on by many "serious" types as a frivolous triviality) and the immense cost of storage for the very fussy early film/tape media.

Re:Which indicates their abuse. (1, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#45033743)

What the fuck are you talking about? There is no requirement for someone to keep a copy of material they create. What sort of reality do you live in?

THEFT of intellectual property (5, Interesting)

fritsd (924429) | about a year ago | (#45033939)

What the fuck are you talking about? There is no requirement for someone to keep a copy of material they create. What sort of reality do you live in?

Why not, actually?

I mean, it's an equilibrium between the rights of the work's creator and the rights of the people: the people must forego their right to what has been added to their culture for a limited time, during which time the creator's income from distributing copies of the work is protected by the government.

After this period of time, the deal is that the people can freely distribute copies of that work of art. It probably works differently for e.g. sculptures than songs, but what's wrong with the following idea:

  • The work's creator gets 14 years of copyright, no registration fee or anything, just © 2013 Michael Mouse
  • The work's creator may buy an additional 14 years of copyright in exchange for € 100 and a signed written statement that a certified digital copy exists
  • The work's creator may buy an additional 14 years of copyright in exchange for € 10 000 and a signed certified digital copy, to be put in the national library. Sue 'em for € 10 000 per work if they lost the certified digital copy or if the signature checksum doesn't match the one from 14 years before. (*)
  • After the second copyright extension, anyone can download the digital copy from europeana.eu or loc.gov etc.

(*) If the work's creator doesn't cough up the work after having bought one or two extensions, sue them for ..... TADAA...
THEFT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

(I've been looking forward to using that expression in a context where it actually makes sense). For indeed, if you have a contract with your culture to enrich it with your work after profiting from it yourself for a time, and after that time you or your descendants don't live up to your end of the bargain, then you have indeed *stolen* intellectual property from its rightful owners, the society that nurtured your creativity.

I'd like to add that there should be no penalties if the creator didn't buy an extension and lost their source code in a harddisk crash; let that 14 year copyright extension be a signal that the work is of commercial value.

What do you think? (Especially if you're Rufus Pollock)

Re:THEFT of intellectual property (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#45034093)

I like the periods... but I'm not sure of the need to require keeping a copy? Is this solving an actual problem? ie are creators deliberately destroying their work to prevent it falling into PD? That sounds bizarre and insane... and anyway, it only works if you have the only copy, any distributed copy is also out of copyright so that can be distributed by whoever has it. Is this actually going to help anything?

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#45033769)

Some of the older material for shows of this era is preserved on cellulose. Unfortunately, as it ages, it becomes a lot more reactive until it will spontaneously ignite on contact with air. I spoke to someone from the BBC archives a few years ago and they have some warehouses with rolls of cellulose in barrels of oil (so that they won't come into contact with any oxygen). Each of these barrels is under a hopper of sand so that, if it does ignite, it can be extinguished before it spreads (a warehouse full of oil is not exactly a safe environment for fires). They're waiting for restoration techniques to improve before they can extract much of it.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (5, Funny)

greg1104 (461138) | about a year ago | (#45032893)

The missing episodes [wikipedia.org] don't start until a few serials in. There are decent quality copies of all of the first three serials [wikipedia.org] floating around. Almost all of the Second Doctor Patrick Troughton episodes are missing though. A few of the key ones are intact--"The Tomb of the Cybermen" and "The War Games" for example--but for the most part his entire run is gone.

If only we had a way to go back and keep this happening, by using some sort of "time machine"...

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033019)

People ask me why I work with emulators like MAME and MESS, and I cite examples much like this one. It often ends up being that it is the fans, years or decades later, that are the ones who end up preserving a company's works and content, rather than the company itself. There have been several real cases, at least as far as arcade games are concerned, of major manufacturers like Sega and Taito releasing retro arcade packs that are only possible because emulators like MAME have created an incentive for massively redundant preservation of these companies' works.

Similarly, things like early episodes of Doctor Who are only preserved because of the few enthusiasts who have doggedly insisted on keeping archives of things for years, if not decades. There were countless people who worked on these games, movies, TV episodes, what-have-you, and yet their works are otherwise doomed to the bit bucket of history with people who, ironically, care about a given IP more than the company that gave rise to it. I don't see any good solution to this problem, but it's heartening to know that even now people are still uncovering long-lost episodes of television shows and movies.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (3, Insightful)

odie5533 (989896) | about a year ago | (#45033223)

You don't see any solution? How about shorter copyright terms so people can redistribute the works instead of needing to privately hoard them for 95 years.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (5, Informative)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45033087)

Episodes from Tom Baker's era onwards exist in their entirety. The catalogue of stories from before this is rather patchy, and I've put a list of what exists and what doesn't on my website [paullee.com] (though you'll need to make sure Javascript is running to see the what the key of icons represents.)

Interestingly, when the "junking" of old Dr.Who episodes stopped in 1978, both the stories you cite ("Tomb" and "War Games") were either missing completely or the majority of episodes had gone; obviously they have since been recovered (the missing "War Games" episodes from the British Film Institute in 1979 and "Tomb of the Cybermen" from Hong Kong in 1991.)

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (2)

Tapewolf (1639955) | about a year ago | (#45033705)

AFAIK all the Jon Pertwee episodes exist, but not all of them exist in colour. In these cases, the Quad tapes were erased but the 16mm B/W copies for export survived. Some of them exist in colour but derived from low-quality copies (IIRC they managed to digitally marry the chroma signal from a Umatic copy of the NTSC conversion with the higher-res 16mm print to improve the quality).

A couple of years back someone devised a way of partially reconstructing the colour signal by digitally decoding the RGB triads on a high-res scan of the print, so the B/W-only episodes may yet be colourised.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45033961)

Yes, you're right and this is why the weblink I gave above is a kaleidoscope of colours for all the different formats between 1970 and 1974; fortunately all those episodes are now in colour to varying qualities. The "Chroma Dot/Colour Recovery" process of which you speak has been used on 12 episodes of Dr.Who with varying degrees of success, and two non-Dr.Who episodes. But, in a nutshell, the Jon Pertwee now exists in colour in its entirety.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | about a year ago | (#45034063)

Yes, you're right and this is why the weblink I gave above is a kaleidoscope of colours for all the different formats between 1970 and 1974; fortunately all those episodes are now in colour to varying qualities. The "Chroma Dot/Colour Recovery" process of which you speak has been used on 12 episodes of Dr.Who with varying degrees of success, and two non-Dr.Who episodes. But, in a nutshell, the Jon Pertwee now exists in colour in its entirety.

Ah yes, I knew I'd forgotten something - checking that link out. Thanks, it was well worth reading. I particularly liked how the NTSC icon was washed out compare to the PAL one...

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45034153)

:-)

I know technology has improved a huge amount since then, but some of the 1970s/80s PAL to NTSC conversions were awful. Reds looked pink, blues looked turquoise and so on. So my little icon was a subtle "dig" at that ;-)

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

coolmadsi (823103) | about a year ago | (#45033735)

Episodes from Tom Baker's era onwards exist in their entirety. The catalogue of stories from before this is rather patchy, and I've put a list of what exists and what doesn't on my website [paullee.com] (though you'll need to make sure Javascript is running to see the what the key of icons represents.)

There is the Tom Baker episode Shada [wikipedia.org] which wasn't completed as opposed to being wiped.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45034237)

Well, yes, but does that count ;-) ? Whatever was completed before the strike dug its talons in has been preserved.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about a year ago | (#45033897)

If only we had a way to go back and keep this happening, by using some sort of "time machine"...

Oh but maybe we will go back and cause(d) it to happen...

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#45033745)

Namely, destruction of all extant copies.

BBC destroyed the only copies of most of those episodes decades ago. The only existing copies are some that were sent overseas and temporarily lost, so they were not recovered and destroyed. Others only exist in the form of home-made speaker-to-microphone reel-to-reel audio tapes.

I think you're being funny, but for the benefit of those who have modded you 'informative'... it's absurd that this was an intentional avoidance of copyright. The BBC have been putting an inordinate amount of effort into recovering the lost material.

Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (2)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45033999)

You'd be surprised.

From 1993 onwards there has been a British Film Institute Initiative to recover lost British TV. Its called "Missing Believed Wiped." I attended the first two of these and we were told that anything - brief clips, audio recordings, cine film taken from a TV set, domestic VCR/VTR material etc. was of interest. But I know of a few cases where audio material was offered up and there was no interest. One BBC Engineer was given a lost Harry Worth TV episode and he kept it in his locker for the better part of a year before giving it to the archives.

And then there is the matter of the wiped children's shows. You might think these don't count; only vid kid after all? But people have fond memories of some of those TV shows and were horrified to discover that the BBC Archivist had decided on his own back in 1993 to wipe many episodes so that the 2 inch tape could be sold to countries that used this obsolete format (Australia, being one I believe). Some of those shows only exist because commercial copies had been made for overseas sales, but the original tapes are now gone. When the BBC wanted to put together a tribute night to one of the people involved in one of those kids shows, they were horrified to find that a lot of stuff had been erased. And the BBC Archivist kept his job. At the same time as he was doing this, he was on the podium at "Missing Believed Wiped" telling the audience that the BBC were interested in lost material. Oh, the irony. Oh, the hypocrisy.

Doesn't mean you can copy it. (4, Insightful)

Jason Pollock (45537) | about a year ago | (#45032865)

The music, script and everything else will still be under copyright, and those rights are required to make a copy of the show.

What you _might_ be able to do is make a derivative work of the audio+video in the episode.

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (2, Informative)

TeXMaster (593524) | about a year ago | (#45033049)

Wrong. It does mean you can copy it. That's exactly what copyright is about. You can (re)publish (and thus create copies of) works in the public domain as you see fit without paying royalties to anyone.

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (3, Interesting)

Jason Pollock (45537) | about a year ago | (#45033553)

I think you should go read the legislation. Scripts and music embodied in video do not lose their rights by being embodied in the video.

That's why music creators get royalties for every copy made.

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (0)

u38cg (607297) | about a year ago | (#45033583)

No, you need to read the legislation. You can't re-record the music or scripts, but you most certainly can make copies of the tapes and do whatever you wish with those copies.

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (2)

Jason Pollock (45537) | about a year ago | (#45033613)

If what you say is true, Steamboat Willie, as well as Fantasia are both out of copyright in the UK. I wonder why no one has started selling copies?

The first time I saw the whole "50 years on fixed performances", I went "YAY! I can put them online!" Thankfully I talked to a lawyer who told me that the script and music rights are transitive and _not_ extinguished by being embodied in another work.

Of course, my IP lawyer might have been wrong. Personally, I'd love for you to be right. How about you put something up in the UK and see what happens?

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (1)

fritsd (924429) | about a year ago | (#45033983)

If what you say is true, Steamboat Willie, as well as Fantasia are both out of copyright in the UK. I wonder why no one has started selling copies?

<troll>
Dunno, maybe because of George Michael [youtube.com] ?
</troll>

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (1)

u38cg (607297) | about a year ago | (#45034275)

Because Steamboat Willie & Fantasia are not covered under the broadcast copyright. They may though be public domain in the UK, though I don't think so - they depend on the lives of authors, screenwriters, and no doubt one of them lasted until relatively recently. There is also they issue that they include trademarks, which complicates matters slightly.

You may have slightly misunderstood your lawyer - the copyright in underlying scripts, music, etc, survives the work, but you still have the right to make copies of the fixed work. So you can't copy the script from one of these episodes, but you can (shortly) distribute a copy of the episode.

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#45033759)

So how does this work? Does it mean that my a VHS copy from a UK Gold repeat is now in the public domain, but a purchased copy isn't? Or does the broadcast copyright mean that the copyright on all versions of that expire after 50 years?

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034137)

Your VHS recording is technically illegal in the UK. The law allows you to use recordings for time-shift viewing, not programme archival.

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45034235)

It's a time shift. Just a really, really long one.

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45034227)

So, if I edit it into a nonsensible, illegible mish-mash where neither story nor music exist any more, it'd be OK? Shouldn't US commercials solve that then?

Re:Doesn't mean you can copy it. (1)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | about a year ago | (#45034221)

We're talking about the BBC. If any part of the work was contracted out rather than being produced by a BBC employee, they would have bought the rights to it.
Any generic music there might have been would be easy to change (c.f. the Quantum Leap DVDs).

Finally I can stop uploading them to rutube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45032869)

or will they still get a copyright takedown notice on youtube?

Re:Finally I can stop uploading them to rutube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033113)

They sure will

Don't count on it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45032981)

... the Mouse will buy a range-extender for the underpowered copyright.... What? England??? Ohhhhh, so sorry. It will be the BBC who buys (with the money they get from their victims) the copyright extension so they can exort even longer for the stuff the License-Payer allready paid...

Not rushing to Youtube to watch (1)

ljhiller (40044) | about a year ago | (#45032997)

To be honest, I think I can go the rest of my life without seeing The Aztecs or Land of the Giants again. On the other hand, I'd pay real money to see The War Machines.

Re:Not rushing to Youtube to watch (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45033091)

Well, "The War Machines" is out on DVD...

Re:Not rushing to Youtube to watch (2)

greg1104 (461138) | about a year ago | (#45033109)

You can pay real money to get The War Machines on DVD [amazon.com] .

Re:Not rushing to Youtube to watch (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033455)

No, that's real real money. He was talking about hypothetical real money, i.e. he wouldn't actually pay anything, but he really wants to be able to download it for free.

Re:Not rushing to Youtube to watch (1)

Typical Slashdotter (2848579) | about a year ago | (#45034201)

No, what it is is too much real money. $20 per serial? For a 50-year old show? Seriously?

extension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033103)

can't they apply for an extension? Pretty sure I've seen this happen for other shows, possibly from disney?

Re:extension? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45033199)

We did extend the term recently, but only for music - the EU passed a directive in 2011 extending the term from fifty years to seventy. It was passed as a result of intensive lobbying from the music industry spurred by many classic works of rock and pop music nearing expiration, most significantly the early music of the Beatles. The term extension only applies to music though, so the Dr Who situation isn't affected.

I don't know how the situation works with music embedded within a TV broadcast though, like the famous title theme.

Elvis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033677)

The problem was Elvis.

The *AAssholes proclaimed The End Of The World when Elvis came out of copyright in the UK.

No such thing happened and they were shown up to be wrong.

To prevent this happening again, they insisted that copyrights be extended for other works.

Re:Elvis (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | about a year ago | (#45034163)

I bet that when it was announced Elvis's songs were coming out of copyright, he was "all shook up."

;-)

wrong title (1, Insightful)

sxpert (139117) | about a year ago | (#45033269)

should read "elevated to public domain"

Relativity to the rescue (2)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | about a year ago | (#45033275)

50 years... in which time frame?

Witness the BBC lobbying for copyright extension.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033707)

NOT.

Seriously America, get your shit together.

Long time.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45033829)

In the U.S., it's a max of 28 years (14 years + 14 years if renewed).

Re:Long time.... (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#45034015)

WOW! I never would have believed the 1790s would ever ACTUALLY call.

Hey, while you're listening, could you make sure they fix the whole slavery thing? Trust me, it'll cause problems in another couple of decades. Also, clear up this shitty second-amendment misunderstanding, will you? Hurry.

Oh, and enjoy your 28-year copyright terms while they last. They'll be increasing them to 42 years within your life, and you've seen nothing yet - in our time it's up to 120 years! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Long time.... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#45034021)

(On an unrelated note, where the hell did you get that telephone from.)

Doctor Who Past Episodes Links (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#45034049)

https://thepiratebay.sx/torrent/6725378/Complete_Original_Doctor_Who [thepiratebay.sx]
https://thepiratebay.sx/torrent/6715960/Doctor_Who_2005-2011_Complete [thepiratebay.sx]

Going to need to find 2012-, but they are all there on TPB also.

Remember, if you like Doctor Who, support it in some way.

Copyright extension.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45034107)

in 3.. 2.. 1...

Peter Pan & Doctor Who... (1)

Richard Kirk (535523) | about a year ago | (#45034125)

The UK laws granted a sole case of perpetual rights to 'Peter Pan', which J.M.Barrie had given to the Great Ormond Children's hospital. This isn't quite copyright that 'never grows up' ( see http://www.gosh.org/gen/peterpan/copyright/faq [gosh.org] ), but it comes pretty close. I think the UK legislation could be a bit flexible to a time traveller too.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?