May 17, 2005

Well, this should be good. 'Andrew Chambers' eh?

A couple of days ago, I got a somewhat cryptic email. Its subject was simply "eyes dvd ok to buy?" and the body was a link to an eBay auction for (yet another) illegal DVD copy of Eyes on the Prize. I sent back an email thanking the person for checking, and explained that said DVD was an illegal transfer and hence illegal copy.

I received back this email:

Thanks for the reply... Wow strange that ebay allows these to be sold. I'd really like this on dvd, but don't want to risk being sued or anything like that!

-Andrew

I explained eBay's position on the whole matter as experienced from the copyright holder's end, and thanked 'Andrew' again for checking with me.

So then today my auto eBay search turns up an eBay auction for a DVD release of the '2 hour condensed' Eyes on the Prize Documentary...with the following in the middle of the posting:

This is an import DVD. The disc comes with a beautiful full color high-res label, and comes in a single-dvd box, with a gorgeous cover. **English audio, no subtitles, menus all in English..**

I will not be bullied and threatened on eBay any longer, so, if you are bidding, it is YOUR responibility to either know what these dvds are, or to ASK ME, please! One further note, I will only give a refund if you are polite, as I am.. and don't leave negative feedback before asking! That's it! That's all it takes Thanks..

If you would like a FAST RESPONSE to your question, please use these links: email or AOL Instant Message (or the icons just below)

Hm.

Check email...yep.

From: 	Chambers <home@achambers.com>
To: 	'J.B. Zimmerman' <jbz@------.--->
Subject: RE: eyes dvd ok to buy?
Date: 	Mon, 16 May 2005 13:28:29 -0400
----------------------------------------
Thanks for the reply... Wow strange that ebay allows these to be sold.  I'd
really like this on dvd, but don't want to risk being sued or anything like
that!

-Andrew 
So looking lower down on the eBay auction listing:

Seller's payment instructions
Mail payments to: Andrew Chambers 5872 Grand Canyon Dr Orlando, FL 32810
I can take Paypal at paypal@36studios.com Credit card Paypal payments at paypalcc@36studios.com
Paypal is preferred, however I will also accept check (hold to clear) or money order. 
*Please note check/MO may significantly delay your item, if you need the item quickly use Paypal!

Hello, Andrew. Nice to meet you. Or 'peace_-man' or whatever your name is on eBay. How many copies of my Uncle's movie have you churned out so far? There was, in fact, a PBS condensed version of Eyes available on home video. But according to Forman Entertainment and PBS, it was only released on VHS videocassette. No DVD pressing of Eyes was ever made. So sure, I suppose, it's possible you bought this from someone else...but given your query to me roughly six hours before this item was listed in which you intimated you did not own the item in question, that seems...unlikely.

Thanks for your identification and home address. See, eBay typically won't give those to Blackside's lawyers without a lot of arm-twisting. But said lawyers love when people give them to us for free.

And yes, I said 'lawyers.' I have had a couple responses to this thread vilifying me for daring to bring lawyers in to 'protect' my family's 'property' for varying reasons - because it 'should be free,' because it 'is in the public domain,' etc. To all those who object in such a way: If you have objections to going after people selling patent counterfeits of the product and taking the dollars thus gained for themselves, I'd love to hear a justification. Come on. Please. I'm waiting. You've fired 'em off before, let's have 'em in the comments this time.

Sure, this could be a mistake. Andrew could have bought this from someone else on eBay and now be trying to get rid of it. But really...an 'import' DVD? From PBS? With no mention of such a product on their store? Hm.

Let's see. You make a big deal of the indexing and teacher tie-ins. How about this:

The new Web site works in conjunction with PBS VIDEOindex VHS titles. Each tape includes a small on-screen clock that allows every segment of a program to be identified through a minute-and-second time code. The online index makes it possible to search for video clips by keyword, date range, academic area, grade level and other criteria. The Web site's database also includes program, chapter and segment descriptions, providing the video selections with even more context.

(snip)

The PBS VIDEOindex collection boasts an extensive repertoire of renowned PBS programs, exploring history from the early-Egyptians to the events and people in the news today; scientific concepts and theories in astronomy, biology and brain theory; and the breadth of the arts in music, dance, the visual arts and architecture. These films have earned numerous Emmy, duPont-Columbia and Peabody Awards, as well as popular and critical acclaim. The videos include such documentary series as Africans in America, American Experience, The Civil War, Eyes on the Prize, Frontline and Liberty! The American Revolution, Jazz, I'll Make Me a World, American Visions, Stephen Hawking's Universe, Triumph of Life, and The Secret Life of the Brain - works by renowned historical interpreters such as Ken Burns, Henry Hampton and David Grubin. Video segments can be used throughout an institution's curriculum as interdisciplinary resources in history, geography, sociology, science, health, literature, language arts, economics, government and the humanities.

Well, apparently yep, there was a way to get an indexed and timecoded 2-hr version of the program from PBS. That was through this program, now reachable here: http://www.pbs.org/teachersource. However, you should note that this was for VHS titles. Furthermore, the licensing for works from this program is explicitly spelled out here and gee, they sure don't make any reference to copying this content and reselling it. They mention explicitly that this licensed content is handled differently from PBS Home Video product, as well.

Orlando, Florida, hm...

Posted by jbz at May 17, 2005 5:48 PM | TrackBack

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