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Weird Smithsonian Happenings

IMDb has a small blurb about a proposed deal involving the Smithsonian and Showtime. Long and short of it, is that an on-demand channel would be created, and it would have right of first refusal to any commercial documentary that uses Smithsonian materials. A large group of documentarians have banded together in protest, including Michael Moore and Ken Burns. This means that Showtime could take control of a Michael Moore project because it uses Smithsonian materials. Then Showtime could exert editorial control over his work. Now this isn't a big threat to Moore or Burns, but they are giants in a field filled with starving artists.

I have to admit that I don't have all of the details. However I did get more from the Patry Copyright Blog, which had a larger rundown on the issue, but from a copyright point of view. Long and short of it, this sounds decidely wrong. The Smithsonian is funded by the government of the United States, and therefore by the people of the United States of America. It was intended to be a resource for all, and placing any corporate monopoly is a big middle finger to the American people. --Terrence Ryan

Posted by on April 18, 2006 7:52 PM
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