February 01, 2005
We absolutely cannot believe this - we had never anticipated that anyone would try to stop students and community members from watching a film about the Civil Rights Movement. Apparently, the law firm that contacted them says that the school district does not have the proper licenses. This is really unbelievable-- if there is any fair use, free speech right at all, it applies to screenings of a historical documentary in a school (wikipedia on fair use). This is a public screening in an educational, non-commercial, one-time use setting. Messing with a school district in Virginia is a whole different ballgame, don't you think?On the bright side, this pushes the issue of absurd and harmful copyright restriction into the fore; hopefully an EFF or similar can step up and challenge this right away. Being Black History Month, there may not be better opportunities for political cover like this.
UPDATE: It's gotten back to Downhill Battle themselves: from their website moments ago:
we have taken down the torrent links to these videos at the request of lawyers for Blackside, Inc. This sucks!I have to believe they were looking for this fight or at least knew it would come. Luckily, I think this was publicized well-enough amongst the major blogs that I imagine the video got pretty well distributed. Folks with friendly web hosting ought to step up and host torrent trackers …