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Tintin DVDs: any official Asian edition?

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#11 · Posted: 19 Oct 2004 03:33 · Edited by: Jyrki21
Expect the Canadians to launch a Japanese-backed extradition to China on behalf of the Belgians any day now...

I'm on it! ;)

Incidentally, we're covering fair use (or "fair dealing" as it's known in Canada) in my intellectual property class right now, and, yes, I have to weigh in on jock123's side that "Spreading the wonder of Tintin" is not an enumerated nor analogous ground under the U.S. Copyright Act. ;)

And yes, if anyone asks, the image from The Black Island on my Mac's desktop which is very visible in this class is, er, entirely licensed by Moulinsart. Heh heh. :)
#12 · Posted: 19 Oct 2004 09:32
Surely if you own a copy of the Black Island you are allowed to make a copy of the works for your own personal use? So as not to damage the original?

#13 · Posted: 22 Oct 2004 10:25 · Edited by: Pelaphus
No, of course, as (I hope) was clear from my last post in this thread, I was kidding: I don't think "spreading the wonder of Tintin" is a fair use example either.

That said, I actually have some trial/legal experience in related matters (I was once sued by a crazy lady for trademark infringement; I won, by the way) so I find the law on this stuff interesting.

And subsequently I wrote an article, for my fellow musical dramatists, about how to make research copies of source material off protected VHS tapes and DVDs using readily available and legal consumer electronics (really, honestly, research and reference copies, nothing for illegal distribution or profit, lest my OWN royalties be at stake!) -- but I eventually let the article go unpublished. Despite its noble intentions it just seemed too dicey a subject. But in the writing of it, I had done some research on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, because knowing what it said was key.

And I have to say (not being a lawyer, nor meaning to assert that my opinion in this is correct -- merely as a reader) I found the language a bit vague, because it didn't cover every contingency of possible "fair use" nor did its examples read as hard-and-fast rules, but rather as a template. To bring this back to Tintin, let's take the musical. Wholly hypothetical example. It probably didn't happen this way, but for the sake of discussion and debate:

The two word guys are Seth Gaaikema (lyricist and co-librettist) and Frank von Laecke (co-librettist and director). They're puzzling out how to most cleanly put CRYSTAL BALLS/PRISONERS on the stage. How to best set up the show's permissions and kick off a narrative with complex exposition. They're finding the opening really problematic: Tintin coming home to Marlinspike isn't strong enough on its own, plus it's not planting the seeds of foreboding, danger and the possibility of magic properly. They need something stronger, but still relatively faithful to the story.

And (let's say) von Laecke flips on the animated episode, just to clear his head, see what another adapter has done. And there's the scene of the Sanders-Hardiman expedition, Tarragon and crew discovering the tomb of Racar Kapac. And von Laecke thinks, "Holy cow, that's it!" (This did, in fact, become the opening of the musical too.) He phones Gaaikema and says, "I think I found the answer. I'm gonna messenger a cassette to you." And then HE DUBS THE EPISODE FROM THE DVD TO A VIDEOCASSETTE so they can both refer to it independently and as needed. It's not a backup copy. It's a separate copy for Gaaikema. But it is being used, to extend a definition, for study purposes.

Now ... bear in mind: The musical's use of Tintin material is authorized. But even if it weren't, it would have to be authorized eventually or it could never get produced; thus the copyright owners would have to be paid for an option on the work, AND when the play was produced, they'd get a continuing interest in the piece. More money will come their way as a result of von Laecke making his dub for Gaaikema than they'd get from an extra consumer purchase of the DVD. (And let's say, to simplify matters, that the animation and the original books are part of the same copyright well; that if someone has to be paid additionally for the rights to use the prologue idea, that has been, or will be, taken care of too.) We all clear on the parameters? Good. Okay.

Now ... Is that fair use? This kind of thing (it seems to ME) is where the language is vague. What do YOU Tintinologists think?
#14 · Posted: 22 Oct 2004 13:07
Well, I think the situation is pretty clear - the VHS copy is illegal. I therefore would strongly suggest that you change your hypothetical to two fictional chaps, and make the musical fictitious too - no need to make criminal suggestions about innocent parties, even when you have set the situation as specious.

The defence of “for study” isn’t nearly enough for the copying of the entire episode for someone else to use. You can only copy a fraction of a printed work for study purposes, and even schools and churches have to pay for copyright material usage. The guy is simply bootleggingTheir use is wholly commercial (“We want to make bucks for this musical!”), so they should pay.

Were I to judge it, I’d say that it was their choice to work in such a way that they weren’t able to view the same copy at the same time. It also seems a trivial amount of money to go and get a second DVD (of course there wasn’t a legal box-setavailable when they were writing!) - certainly less than the cost of his time to make the copy, arrange the courier and send it across!. Cough up guys, you have been caught bang to rights...

Whether or not Nelvana/ Ellipse have rights in the prologue would depend on their contract with Moulinsart; I’d guess that they would have surrendered any rights in their adaptation back to the copyright holder in return for the rights to make the series.

The overarching point in this case is that in spite of the illegality of the copy, the composers are more or less agents of the copyright holder, who would be unlikely to prosecute their case, as they stand to profit in the musical. Nelvana/Ellipse are out to the tune of their cut in the DVD profits - that’s where the case lies.
#15 · Posted: 24 Oct 2004 02:06 · Edited by: Admin
<<The defence of "for study" isn't nearly enough for the copying of the entire episode for someone else to use.>>

Actually untrue. I'm not saying legal (yet) you seem to have the knowledge base there. But here's a REAL LIFE example -- presented as a hypothetical, to keep the names at bay.

One of the teachers in a renowned musical theatre workshop (e.g. a class whose mandate is to train and nurture musical dramatists) moderates a Master Class several times a year. This class is different from the regular classes in that an invited panel of two "star" writers sits in. Two projects-in-progress each give a 30 minute presentation for criticism and comment by the visiting dignitaries. The moderator guides the discussion, but the invited panel's response is the focus.

In anticipation of each Master Class, the moderator wants to try having the Masters as prepared as possible to assess the material. In the case of, say, a developing musical based on a film, they might comment on the effectiveness of the adaptation. To that end, though, they need to know the film. The moderator sees to it that two copies of the film are dubbed (from an original copy, purchased or rented) and sent to the master panelists, so they can view it prior to the class, the better to discuss the project comprehensively.

Legal? Based on what you've already said and specified, likely not. But a legitimate educational basis for necessarily needing the ENTIRE film ... absolutely. No?

(Administrator: many apologies for veering off Tintin topic here. I won't make it a habit, and if it wants to go on further, I'll ask if my esteemed correspondent has any desire to move it offline with me. Each new beat of this thing is just so interesting, is all ...)

[Admin's reply: yes, we are veering off topic. Please take this debate to the Members Lounge forum; if this debate is between only 2 people, then please take it off-forum. Thanks! :-)]
#16 · Posted: 24 Oct 2004 23:34
I don’t really have anything to add to this, other than that the distinction between what is just and what is legal is vast, and that Moulinsart and the Fondation are obliged to act in order to maintain the rights they have. Whether you are a teacher in a college or a bootlegger hunched over a duplicator, the law is the yard-stick aginst which the legality of your Tintin copies will be judged, and both will be found wanting.

The upside is that the money going into the coffers of the Fondation will come out again in the shape of the Hergé museum!
#17 · Posted: 20 Jan 2005 02:34 · Edited by: Admin
The Asian manufacturers of the discs mentioned by Pelaphus have made a few glitches:

Incorrect language settings: you need to go to the Languages section, select English, then Off to get English audio and Chinese subtitles. For any other language, select the language, then off, the lanuage will be what you had selected and the subitles in Chinese.

Incorrect labels: in my set, two of the DVDs were switched, 'The Broken Ear and The Castafiore Emerald,' to a disc with 'The Lake of Sharks' picture on it.


[Note from Admin: off topic posts are generally removed, but we are saving this one because the points made suggest that the Chinese discs are unlikely to be the official Asian release--if it exists at all.]

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