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Archive for February, 2005

Screening in Virginia Shut Down

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

The teacher who was planning a February 8th screening of Eyes on the Prize at James Madison High School in Vienna, VA for students and community members has been forced to cancel after a threat of lawsuit from the “licensee level”. 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. For those of you who don’t know, you don’t need a license (no such thing exists) if you have fair use rights to screen the film. 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?

UPDATE: There have been some questions about what kind of copy of Eyes on the Prize the school has: they have VHS school-version copies from when Eyes was available.