Re: UbuWeb: Bad for Business!

From: DOMINIC ANGERAME (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Jun 15 2008 - 09:40:11 PDT

As a ps......I believe it was me that wrote to UBU
some time ago asking that they remove Bruce Conner,
Peter Kubelka, and other filmmakers whom I knew only
had thier work with Canyon Cinema and had no desire,
intention, or inclination to digitize their work and
present it to the public that way....for either
preview or exhibition purposes......they do not need
to pad their resumes and add another lecture tour at
least no thru UBU

Dominic Angerame
Canyon Cinema
--- Zev Robinson <email suppressed> wrote:

    I'd like to question thebasic assumption that Joel
started off with, not saying that he'sentirely wrong,
but just that it is not that it is not as simple as
hestated, nor is it necessarily one side or the other.

Is it really bad forbusiness?

Are there any stats on claims of a loss of revenue?
Are thoseartists who become better know because of
internet (ubuweb, utube, p2p)more or less likely to
increase sales of dvds or cds?

Are their overallearnings more or less likely to
increase via lectures, commissions,teaching
opportunities, screening fees, purchases by
institutions, andotheropportunities?

On the whole, does ubu increase the popularityand
renown of the artists on the site, and thus increase
sales? ordoesn't it? And how many people _do_ buy a
dvd because they first sawit on ubu and decide that
they want a better quality copy? Just becausesomeone
does see something on Ubu or utube, it doesn't
necessarily meanthat they would purchase a dvd if it
were not available. Nor doesseeing something on Ubu
mean that someone won't buy a dvd to view on alarger
screen and with better quality.

I noticed that there are some links to re:voir to
purchase the dvd ifone wishes to.

I recently read that obscurity is a much greaterdanger
to artists than file sharing. There are many articles
anddebates out there on the complexity the
relationship between filesharing and sales and the
overall earnings of bands and how often itmeans an
increase in revenues. My feeling is that Ubu provides
aservice where people can see a copy or reproduction,
quality issuesaside, of things that they may otherwise
not see or know about, andthat broadly, enhances and
disseminates an alternative culture, andthat can only
be good for artists.


Zev Robinson

Joel S Bachar wrote:
Dear Frameworkers and Directors of the Board of
UbuWeb:We would like to address some serious concerns
of ours and theartists/labels/distributors we
represent in regards to the practices ofUbuWeb, and
some of the opinions posted about it on this
Listserv.The recent threads have shifted to the
quality of online viewing which wewould not like to
address here as this is another issue.We feel that
some of UbuWeb's practices are illegal and unethical
and weintend to make every effort to protect our
business and the property of ourcompany and/or the
artists and company's we represent should we see
suchpractices occurring.Let's begin by quoting a
question direct from the UbuWeb's FAQ:Q: "Can I use
something posted on UbuWeb on my site, in a paper, in
aproject, etc.?"A: Sure. We post many things without
permission; we also post many withthings with
permission. We therefore give you permission to take
what youlike even though in many cases, we have no
received permission to post it.We went ahead and did
it anyway. You should too. Source: It is
unfathomable to us that the Board of Directors as well
as the variousPartners of UbuWeb, including the
institutions that fund and support thiswebsite, find
this an acceptable practice! This has nothing to do
withCreative Commons or Copyleft or Fair Use - this is
outright infringement ofcopyright and theft and this
type of practice is a direct threat to ourbusiness and
livelihood and thus the livelhood of the hundreds of
artists werepresent.One direct example are the films
of Maya Deren. We are the exclusive NorthAmerican DVD
distributor of her collected films and the film The
DivineHorsemen, through an agreement with the label,
Mystic Fire Video. MysticFire has been informed of
this and is not in agreement with these filmsbeing
made available on UbuWeb.Other infractions have been
found in relation to the short films of Man Rayand Un
Chien Andalou. In all of these cases, these films are
readilyavailable on DVD for reasonable prices - both
for retail and EducationalPPR. In addition our
company as well as many other are spending time,
moneyand resources to develop quality streaming
solutions for these importantfilms. We agree with
UbuWeb's lamentation that many works are only
availablethrough distribution via prohibitive pricing
but we do not agree that theanswer is to simply flout
the system. This ignores the fact that
manydistributors are adjusting the changing
marketplace and other new entrantare developing new
ways to do legal business.We have every intention of
doing a thorough search on an ongoing basis ofUbuWeb
for any film (s) that we distribute and we encourage
others to do soand take the appropriate action - which
is to have these films taken offunless proper
permissions are given. In addition - the Presidents
of theUniversities where the UbuWeb Board Members work
and their respectiveGeneral Counsels should be made
aware of the practices their faculty membersare
supporting. The IRS should also be informed as the
UbuWeb Foundationshould have its 501 c 3 status
revoked. I guess this will earn us a nice spot on
UbuWeb's self-righteous Hall ofShame. (Doctorow's
light essay is about HIS decision to give HIS work
awayby the way...) Maybe you should get permission to
give work away. A lot of our time and energy and
resources is spent researching rights,negotiating
contracts, selling and marketing and promoting
filmmaker's worksand paying royalties. Most of the
time this work is done in consultationwith the rights
holders. We are not getting rich off of this but it
is ourlivelihood and we like to think that we are
providing a service to thefilmmakers and the industry.
We do not have the luxury of having a paid position
and then moonlight tosteal copyright protected
material under the loose veil of academia or worseyet
501 c 3 status. We assume the reactions to all this
would be different if Ubu was part of afor-profit
company like Google or owned by a company incorporated
in a statethat has lax copyright laws.One Frameworker
asked about UbuWeb:"Does the economy of this kind of
work mean ubuweb's "grab and post"attitude is the only
way such a comprehensive archive could come
intoexistence? "Our answer:Not necessarily - there are
many movements afoot in the industry which aregoing in
the direction of providing better and cheaper access
forall..whether it be by commercial or legitimate
non-profit means. Our guessis that it will be a
balance of private, public, and 501 c 3 concerns
thatfind some way to communicate.But the continued
weak reaction of our industry for illegal activities
wouldmake the case for this stronger as time goes by.
Grab and post is not an"attitude" it is a self serving
philosophy. New web technology and changingconsumer,
copyright owner's attitudes are changing and the day
will comewhen a legal Ubu-web type entity will exist
in harmony with allinterests..our company is working
towards that goal.but when we seecompanies like Ubuweb
(with respectable board members??) walk all
overartists and copryright holders whilst
philosophizing - it makes us wince.Like them or not
there are copyright laws in this country that
equateintellectual property to physical property.If we
could steal gasoline with impunity right now we would
start a verysuccessful airline - that would benefit
society and stop us all from havingto pay such
outrageous prices for air travel and remedy terrible
service. Next I will start stealing wheat. Then
electricity. We ask that UbuWeb's Board of Directors,
content partners, filmmakers andall of you on
Frameworks and in any media-making community begin
take a VERYhard look at these practices and think
twice about being involved with themand/or endorsing
them in anyway.UbuWeb Board of Directors: S.
Bachar and Patrick Kwiatkowski, Founders of
MicrocinemaInt'l/Microcinema DVD1636 Bush Street, #2,
San Francisco, CA 94109(415)
info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at
<email suppressed>.

info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at
<email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.