Recently discovered through a routine Google search that the Henry George School in Chicago exhibited our movie title, ‘BookWars‘ in a public performance setting: no advance notice, request or payment was made to copyright holder, which constitutes theft of our IP (Intellectual Property).
Kindly note that Camerado is an independent media producer and not a large, exploitive Chicago landlord.
The costs of production of the work which was stolen, are still being paid off and it is very disappointing to learn that Henry George’s original philosophy respected the ‘value of that which had been fairly created’, (such as the production of our title, ‘BookWars’). This stands, or should stand, in contrast to an objection exploitation of the commons that Georgists are noted for.
However, in this case, the work of an individual property owner – Mr. Jason Rosette, copyright holder and producer of the title ‘BookWars’, which was produced with great effort, cost, and at great risk – was abused by representatives of the Henry George Schools in Chicago under the assumption that IP is a ‘common good’ and not a ‘fairly created’ and devised and owned property.
Two staffers of that school, Mr. Chuck Metalitz and Bob Matter were very disagreeable and resistant to work with on this issue, and Mr. Metalitz was furthermore very resistant to the notion that IP has any value at all or that the work deserves any compensation. Kindly note that, as in the past, the copyright holder may well have offered a significant discount in the screening fee had any outreach or request from the Henry George School been undertaken in advance on some cordial, reasonable fashion. A detailed overview of the situation will soon be forthcoming, along with information about a fundraiser designed to raise the standard screening fee, in the event the school continues to avoid paying the requested fee for their use of the content.
Additionally, the fundraiser will support the development and publication of a PDF ‘Quick Guide’ for institutions to use in determining what is proper fair use and what use constitutes public performance.
Though they have removed the original advertisement from their website (*notable that more time was spent in removing any trace of their theft than in undertaking any proactive outreach to content rights holder in the first place) a cached version of the illicit screening advertisement can be found HERE; an archived version is also available on the Camerado website.
Update 7/22/2015 FOR TRANSPARENCY PURPOSES: THE COMPLETE EMAILS (*minus one which was sent to Bob Matter via a webform, if I can find a copy will include)
On 06/19/2015 11:34 PM, J Rosette wrote:
Hello Henry George School:
I noticed you have screened our movie ‘BookWars’ at your June 13th event; I am the filmmaker and writer-director, Jason Rosette.
I’m glad you found our efforts to be worthwhile, as the movie was incredibly challenging to make, and believe it or not I’m still paying it off to this day!
Speaking of which: I would like to ask what sort of arrangements had been made for the public performance and advertisement of the film – this usually involves the rental of the movie for an agreed sum, even if it’s being shown for free.
Had I known about your screening earlier, and understanding the mission of your organization I would have considered waiving any fee to screen the movie, and could have fully supported it with outreach, etc.
But now that the event has passed, and I was never approached, I think it’s appropriate to discuss this now.
Please let me know what you propose, or if there’s any 3rd party arrangement that may have been made which I’m not aware of –
I had sent a message to the curator of film programming, below, but have received no response so far…
All the Best,
How did the screening of the movie go?
I came across the listing on the internet – I am the filmmaker & director of BookWars (Jason Rosette)
If you’d let me know I would have done some kind of Skype interview.
Kindly let me know any audience reaction – am assuming you have the Public Performance screener rights…?
All the Best
from: Chuck Metalitz <email@example.com>
cc: robert j matter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date: Sun, Jun 21, 2015 at 8:02 AM
Hello Jason Rosette,Bob Matter did receive your message, yesterday I guess, but told me he did not immediately respond because:
Fridays are bad days for me because as usual I worked the full day at the law firm straight thru without lunch, followed by over-time mailing stuff at the post office until 6:15 p.m., followed by rushing to Facets to work my normal Friday night shift there, followed by my hellacious commute home via the South Shore. So my day begins at 6:30 a.m. Friday and does not end until about 12:30 a.m. on Saturday without a break!
We are a nonprofit school of Political Economy. The film was shown in our classroom,to a group of six people, comprising graduates of our Principles of Political Economy program and friends. The purpose was to stimulate post-film discussion on aspects of political economy, particularly the Law of Rent. Bob reports that
Immediately after the film I went to the marker board and gave everybody a refresher lecture on the law of rent and how it influences the market-set minimum wage (what you can earn on the best available free land). Bookwars was about sidewalk booksellers who paid no rent or other fees. They just set up tables on the sidewalk and sell used books. They were able to do that because of the First Amendment. Scrappers, the guys who troll the alleys for scrap metal to sell are in the same category.
According to information posted by the University of Minnesota here, no permission or payment is required.
While the showing was open to the public, the posted listing apparently did not attract anyone.
That said, it’s fair to compensate you for your work, and if you propose a payment for what we did I am sure we can agree on a reasonable amount. If you’re interested in knowing more about what we teach, courses worldwide are offered thru the Henry George Institute.
Please get back to me.
Henry George School of Chicago
J Rosette <email@example.com>
Hi Chuck –
Thanks for getting back to me; yes I’m (very) aware of the classroom fair use exemptions for display of motion pictures, as I’m often deflecting it in the course of defending the rights to my hard-earned copyrighted material.
Probably a better source for that info, since you’ve brought it up , would be:
You’ll note that the activity is restricted to students enrolled in the institution only, and does not permit general public to attend, or the advertisement of the even in such a way that it would even appear to be open and available to the public (see attached screenshot).
Bob Matter appears to work at Facets, according to his email, and so should already be fully aware of the scope, limits, and implementation of public performance…in fact , Facets did do a legitimate public performance screening of BookWars when it was first released, and we were paid for it. (as should be the case)
You stated below that ‘friends’ of the program also attended, so this alone confirms that the work was displayed under a public performance environment.
The reason that this component is so vital is that it prevents loss of financial gain, and my ability to recoup costs involved in production of the work – which I’m still paying off. Even so, whether or not I am still paying off the work does not limit the scope of the copyright holder’s ability to generate revenue towards a fair and sustainable livelihood.
By way of example, if we had another Chicago screening taking place on or near the same time of your publicly advertised event – and it was clearly publicly advertised, because that’s how I discovered the information, online – then your event could have unduly impacted revenue from that event while interfering with my ability to legitimately display the work.
I bring this all up because the ‘classroom fair use’ issue was brought up right off the bat, though it was wrongfully implemented. It would have been more reasonable for your group, if financially challenged, to undertake outreach to the copyright holder (me) to seek a waiver or discount.
It also would have been more polite, respectful to the work, and ‘felt better’ all around, no?
So, in light of the fact that:
a) the burden to locate the source of the illegitimate screening is placed upon copyright holder (me), and somewhat unapolegetically it seems to my perception, while
b) I do in fact still owe money on the production of the movie, and the work would not even exist without said investment
c) I have every right to recoup my investment, while
d) outreach could have easily been done to me in advance, as it is being done now by members of your organization, in order to arrange and confirm an affordable non-public screening and to seek some special arrangement with the copyright holder
e) Your organization also surely has some operating costs, despite the scope and scale of your mission; therefore some reciprocal understanding should (have) been all that much more in order, especially with regarding to an independent, grass roots, non-studio title such as ‘BookWars’ and the nature of the subject matter that was being discussed
I do, therefore, accept your offer to make a payment in compensation for that public performance screening, and would seek to secure that in any case.
The cost of public performance screenings can vary; why not take a look around at other public performance screening events and see what figures you come up with.
Then, kindly drop me a line with some data ($) and a proposed amount;
Finally: yes, your school seems interesting, I did take a look around the website.
J Rosette <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forgot to attach this, anyway all the best
J Rosette <email@example.com>
Hi Chuck –
to me, Bob
Hello Jason Rosette
Bob Matter has had ISP difficulties, and has been too busy earning a living to find any useful information about this. He tells me that film web sites typically do not post prices, but merely invite inquiries which he has not yet been able to pursue.
From the point of view of revenue lost to the owner of the “intellectual property” comprising the film, I am sure most of the attendees would never have paid anything to see it, especially since you already posted it to youtube so they could have watched it privately for free. But we may pretend that they would have each paid $10 (which seems to be the amount Facets and the Music Box charge), and that all of this would have gone to the owner. We can further assume that our classroom might have been filled for the exhibition, a total of twelve people. That would yield you a total of $120, which is the amount I am proposing to settle this matter.
And that is far more than we would be able to pay routinely to show any film.
Hi Chuck –
Jun 27to me
Hello Jason RosetteThe advice I got, repeating what you said, was to look at actual charges for “public” screenings of the sort we did, for small documentaries. I was able to find a few sites where specific fees are posted. I have seen none of these films, nor have I seen yours.
Bookwars: It appears that we could have bought a copy of the DVD, with rights to show it at our School and Library, for $45.
The Tiger Next Door: Screening fee $50, on special from usual $85.
Craft: Screening Fee $150, includes a DVD
Any (or all?) of three films from Navis Pictures: $50
The Voyage that Shook the World: $100
Henry George School of Chicago
30 E Adams #1207
Attorney in private practice
Consultant in Organization and Politics
Paralegal and Bicycle Advocate
Real estate investments and development
Research Director of the Henry George School
President, Scott W. Walton & Associates
Jun 27to Chuck
Hello again Chuck -As mentioned, I’m proceeding with a fundraiser to cover the cost of a standard fee and to produce the educational PDF. I’ve already put in enough time and effort dealing with this situation and in this way I will consider it resolved.Insofar as I don’t feel like waiving the standard fee for a group (Henry George School) that holds such an outspoken, destructive position towards independent content holder rights, I feel it is more constructive overall for me to seek remedy through the fundraiser and associated production of the educational PDF.You could have bought a copy of BookWars for library circulation, for $45 yes. But then again, that would have been an implicit recognition of the rights of an IP holder, and IP in general – a notion which you dismissed in previous messages. You even provided supporting links to prove your point. So, that would be an ideological contradiction, aside from the practical limitations in its use.And of course, even if those rights were available, the operative word there is ‘could’, which implies your group’s hypothetical effort in seeking rights in advance, and recognizing them in monetary terms.This is something that you’ve expressed antipathy for repeatedly. Alternatively, that process would require taking the time to undertake outreach to the content rights holder to seek a waiver, given your group’s financial limitations. But your group does not seem to recognize as a component of a content producer’s livelihood, or even to consider the notion of civil, normal outreach to content producer as a way of seeking a waiver for the use of their property, which is the core of this whole issue and the production of the intended PDF.In any case, at this point I’m done dealing with you all in this issue. I have opted, in the course of this unpleasant yet illuminating process, to handle it independently through the fundraiser, as mentioned.The issue is thus resolved. I’m not sure how much of the standard fee, or what portion I will raise, but that is the target at this point, with any ancillary revenue to be applied towards the time and effort of producing the educational PDF.
There will be no cost to your group, which will relieve any potential financial burden which you have cited a number of times.
Finally, you can track down my copyright for BookWars in the Library of congress.
I’ve already received approval for the fundraiser, and it will proceed shortly.
Regards, and good luck – my final suggestion would be to seek a waiver or permission to screen any content rights-holder’s work in advance of your intended event. They will likely try to work with you if this is done in a friendly, approachable way, and not the hostile, defensive, and spiteful manner I’ve experienced so far…
Hello Bob –
Jul 3to me, Chuck
Hi Jason,Bob Matter here. I received your 6/29/15 e-mail sent through my
employer’s web site. I asked Chuck Metalitz if it would be OK if I
wrote to you directly, and he said it would be. So, over the holiday
weekend I will attempt to write a letter to you explaining the origin
of this whole misunderstanding, barring any unforeseen emergencies
that may arise. I am at work now and too busy to devote any time to
personal activities.Best regards,-BM
Jul 3to Bob, Chuck, aetoole
Hello Bob -Yes, more information would be usefulIn any case, it’s unfortunate that you did not take the opportunity to clarify this further would not have been taken much earlier.As you know, I undertook outreach to you ages ago, nicely, to see what may be some sort of explanation. Never heard from you til now.You chose to avoid addressing the issue, which I think was a diplomatic error at the very least. (*maybe my State Department experience coming to the fore? Who knows)Anyway, If things had been handled differently from your side, the outcome now would probably be significantly different.By the way, this point keeps being raised and I would like to address it: the notion that only a select few people are ‘busy earning a living’ and are thus too busy to handle the issue of this abuse/theft of IP.We are ALL busy. You are busy. Chuck is busy. I am busy. My legal contact and advisor in Chicago is busy.
My sister, head lawyer of IP and domains at Amazon, is also busy.
The street booksellers are busy.
We are ALL ‘busy earning a living’, and more – ie., producing work, such as ‘BookWars’ which was undertaken at great personal and financial risk, with a lot of time and effort invested.
I had to PAY for the audio mix. I had to seek out, secure, negotiate, clear and PAY for the music licenses. I had to PAY to use the editing gear. All the while, holding down jobs and doing what I could to generate finishing funds, with every shred of my extra time, money and resources being poured into the production of that movie.
I took a look at Henry George on Wikipedia, didn’t know about him previously. It’s interesting to see, highlighted as a core part of his stated philosophy, that
“people legitimately own value they fairly create”
That clearly indicates that a motion picture which took years of effort and a lot of time and energy to create was fairly created – and thus I legitimately own it, even according to Henry George.
Chuck seems to have confused the part regarding ownership of that which people fairly create, with George’s notion regarding the use & exploitation of the ”commons’, ala, land ownership, rents, broadcast spectrums.
In any case, after the manner in which this was all handled, I reiterate again that I’m seeking my standard rate of compensation for the use of my work, while exploring additional and other means to initiate this as well.
Jul 13 (9 days ago)to me, ChuckImages are not displayed. Display images below – Always display images from firstname.lastname@example.org
I apologize for taking so long to finish this letter. Because we have a trial coming up this week at work, I ended up working one of the days I was supposed to be off over the holiday weekend to prepare. Subsequently I came down with a wicked summer cold, and to top it off the clothes dryer in my building broke down this weekend, necessitating a bicycle trip to the laundromat to do my laundry (I don’t own a car).
Jul 15 (7 days ago)to Bob
Hello Bob -Thanks for the belated explanation; honestly, if you all had been forthright from the very beginning this would have gone a long, long, long, long way towards diffusing or at least ameliorating this situation.I have in the past offered screening waivers for grass roots groups, and/or reduced fee waivers for public performance screenings such as the one involving BookWars.The reason a publicly advertised event differs from a private event is because it has some impact content’s position in the marketplace. That is, if the screening is intended for internal purposes only then a) why advertise the movie at all and b) why utilize discrete materials (ie., copy, imagery etc) to promote the event in such a way that is can be considered ‘an attraction’?In short: if the exhibitor wants to utilize the content itself to draw an audience, then that requires payment for use, which is what I’m seeking.Secondly: if there had been any doubt about whether the screening in such a format was legitimate….why not contact the title holder? It only takes a minute or two. Contrast this to the 3-5 years and significant effort and sums of money required to actually produce the title, in this case at least.I’ve noticed numerous other titles listed on your website, all similarly advertised. I’m not in a position to say whether you have secured PPR for those or not, but if not, the same factors would apply.As you may recall, my initial outreach was cordial and reasonable. However, the response I received from Chuck Metalitz was defensive, unpleasant, non-apologetic, and he was quick to point out his (incorrect) position regarding the HG School’s right to the ‘common good’ nature of the privately produced work and its advertisement as a public performance event.
Any reasonable response or explanation, such as yours, was delayed beyond any constructive point; it only served to reinforce the perceived position which appeared to be, and was, unlawful/illegal.
Barring any normal, immediate response to explain any mitigating factors, any reasonable person would draw the same conclusions that I have regarding the abuse of their property.
As such, I was (an am) disinclined to offer any such screening waiver, and I’m still seeking the full, standard screening fee for the event in any case.
At least on Wikipedia it says, regarding Henry George’s philosophy:
‘people legitimately own value they fairly create’
Maybe your accountant can find a way to write it off as a loss, who knows?
As I mentioned to Chuck, my alternative is to undertake a fundraiser to generate the fee, in which case I’ll be putting together a quick guide/checklist for organizations to help clarify these factors to exhibitors.
Good luck, I hope you can help bring the teachings of Henry George into the 21st Century regarding the legitimacy of IP as a ‘fairly created property’.