December 4, 2002 · Lessig
Jason Schultz has done more amazing work calculating any “chaos” that would come from striking the 1976 Act. Using the Internet Movie Database, he confirmed the Copyright Office’s numbers that about 37,000 movies were released in the period 1927-46. (IMDb reports 36,386). Of those, only 2,480 are currently available in any format, or 6.8%. 93.2% of the films during that period are are commercially dormant. Another way to put this: Jack Valenti’s crowd says exclusive rights are the only way to assure content gets distributed. So we have a nice experiment: For the films between 1927-46, exclusive rights fails to make available 93.2% of the content produced. Does anyone really doubt the public domain would do better? Jason’s email is here.