If You Break the Skin, You Must Come In

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


eye of the storm?

there is a pervasive silence that has hung over us for the last few days. All we know is that lawyers are talking. It has been several days past when we were told we would hear something. Clearly, the situation is far more difficult than anyone had originally thought. I suspect that it is turning out to be especially difficult for those at DHS that thought that they could easily stamp their foot and put the kibosh on the whole thing. I can say easily that this will not be the case.
I'm full of speculation at the moment but what else could I do when no one is saying anything. I suspect that there might be some difficulty deciding legally where this case falls into. I spoke to a volunteer lawyer for the arts and what I get from him is that this could fall somewhere in between an intellectual properties case and a first amendment case. From an objective viewpoint, I find that to be pretty interesting. From a personally perspective, it is extremely frustrating. The sense that I am getting from certain people at DHS is that this is a personal issue that they are having with the film that they wish to see taken care of though giving us scores of legal problems. DHS is also claiming to be looking out for the welfare of the kids, which they should be doing since they are technically the kid's legal guardians. Unfortunately, what they are doing here is flailing wildly to protect their own image at the expense of the kids.
If I wasn't clear enough before. The AIC (who are a division of DHS) own half of the film. The ICA own the other half. That alone makes little logical sense but that's how it is stated in the original (half-assed) contracts that were drawn up. The Big Picture Alliance (who hired me) and the ICA have sole creative control. This might mean very little considering that the BPA don't own any of it. The creators of the film, myself and eight kids, own zero, nothing, nada. What kind of authorship or first amendment rights we might have is still in question, considering that it is a government institution that both own the film and are trying to censor it. Zoe Strauss, the subject of the film, also owns zilch, a big fat donut hole.
Simply put, the people that care about this film the most and would benefit from it the most and who have put the most work into it are left in the dust while the institutions, one that could only claim it as their own and the other that would like to destroy it, own everything and can conceivably keep the project in legal limbo forever. Real nice.

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