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44 Responses to “US government sends itself a takedown notice over JFK documentary: you decide what to do!”

  1. TheOven says:

    And I’ll be downloading my copy asap. That way we’ll have at least one copy with which to repopulate the interwebs.

  2. bzishi says:

    There is definitely a value in preventing the government from creating and distributing domestic propaganda. But censorship after the fact isn’t really the solution, even if it was leaked back from something that was created solely for international propaganda purposes. And since this film is nearly 50 years old, it won’t serve many propaganda purposes, so there is no compelling reason the government should be concerned. Really, as far as the problem with government propaganda, the primary issue should be with the creation of it, not the distribution. If the government doesn’t want to violate the domestic propaganda law they should just stop making all types of propaganda.

    I recommend keeping this video online.

    • Boundegar says:

      * The USIA was prohibited by law from distributing films in the
      United States as it was then illegal for the government to propagate
      domestic propaganda.

      A purer and more innocent era.

      • bzishi says:

        A purer and more innocent era.

        Nah. Congress was far more functional decades ago, but it certainly wasn’t an innocent era. It is easy to romanticize the past, but the level of institutionalized discrimination and playing with puppet states dwarfs anything that is done today. I’m not happy with today’s politics, but I certainly wouldn’t trade the circumstances of the past with the present.

      • blindwanderer says:

        That is right, it was illegal, NDAA2013 took care of that pesky
        Smith–Mundt Act.

        My suggestion is simple: Create a website around the propaganda ideas of the video and distribute it as propaganda. The JFK Center lacks exclusive propaganda distribution rights to the video. If congress wanted to grant them those rights they would have, it’s status as propaganda was well known as that was what was preventing it’s distribution. To add to the charade write the entire website in Russian and give the video soft subtitles in Russian.

        Ohhh better yet write the page in British English and give it British English subtitles!

  3. Cal Dones says:

    Seriously, what exactly happened on “December 23, 1963″? 

    •  If you were to ask about November 22, 1963… well, then, I was four years old, see, and I was outside playing with a new friend, who was also about my age, who lived around the corner.  Me and my new friend went into my house.  We saw my mother sitting by the radio and crying.  Do you really want this story?  Because, you know, I remember every bet of it.  But on December 23, 1963, that was the day the United States Information Agency (USIA), with the assistance of citizen Gregory Peck, started to produce a 90-minute film called John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums.  Or so I have been told. I don’t remember it, myself.

  4. Personally I would do two things at once:
    1- I’d ask the NTIS for proof that someone holds the exclusive distribution rights, as you clearly have evidence that they only have 6 copies and that the copyright/distribution remains the property of the USA.
    2. I’d reach out to the Kennedy Center and ask them “Really?  You actually want to assert ownership of this film, produced by the US gov’t, and keep people from viewing it?  Is that what you really want to do?   Really?  Really”

    • kinscore says:

      1) Public Law 89-274, Senate Joint Resolution 106, House Concurrent Resolution 285 give exclusive distribution rights (though depending on the wording of the law allowing propaganda within the United States, and perhaps others, that may no longer be the case).
      2) Hopefully this would convince the Kennedy Center to allow redistribution: “that the people of the United States should not be denied an opportunity to view the film”. 


      • Joe Vanegas says:

        Dd PL89-274 give exclusive distribution rights to the work or to the six film copies USIA transferred? It seems just as likely that the physical videotape that USIA retained is not subject to PL89-274, and that is the copy that is being distributed now.

        In general, works produced by the US government are in the public domain. That makes me think it is difficult to write an agreement granting exclusive rights to a public-domain work. On the other hand, it would be reasonable to do so with a physical copy of the work.

  5. gwailo_joe says:

    “We strongly support increased funding for the Kenendy Center, but submit to the jury that removing a 50-year-old, federally-funded film from the Internet will -not- make a marked difference in their bottom line.”


  6. Dan H says:

     Assuming that copyright wasn’t renewed on this film, it would have entered the public domain in 1991.  Keep it alive and available on the internet!  Just in case, I’ll also be downloading a copy with which to repopulate the web like TheOven.

    • austinhamman says:

       copyright law retroactively extended copyright of all currently copyrighted material to the current limit of lifetime of artist + 70 years the +70 years part hasn’t even passed.

  7. Ron Kuhlmeier says:

    OMG – 01:42 – Star Wars titles!

  8. vetnoir says:

    Tell them politely, but firmly, that you decline to do so unless they can prove in court that they have the sole and definitive authority to claim the copyright on the film. 

  9. oasisob1 says:

    I removed a copy from the internet to my hard drive. Problem solved.
    This is US (maybe even World) History – it belongs where anyone can see it.

  10. aam641 says:

    Given that this material was produced by the federal government, wouldn’t it automatically be in the public domain (within the US)?

    • anansi133 says:

       Exactly. Publications made by the US government *can’t* be copyrighted, so unless there are other grounds for demanding its withdrawal, (and there may be) they don’t have a case.

    • kinscore says:

      Unless it was produced by a non-federal contractor on behalf of the federal government, which in my cursory investigation[1][2][3] does not appear to be the case. It appears to have been created by (not just for) the United States Information Agency (USIA)[1] and in the public domain[2]. There’s some possibility that Gregory Peck or Embassy Pictures had a significant enough involvement to be the originating copyright holder, but as far as I can tell it would otherwise have originated in the public domain.

      The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts appears to have been given exclusive distribution rights (or exclusive commercial and educational media distribution rights within the United States) but not, explicitly, copyright.
      Public Law 89-274, Senate Joint Resolution 106[4] gives “exclusive rights to distribute copies thereof, through educational and commercial media, for viewing within the United States” (but not “copyright”) to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
      House Concurrent Resolution 285[5] gives “exclusive right to distribute it through commercial and educational media for viewing within the United States” (but not “copyright”) to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
       Depending on later laws (particularly those regarding propaganda within the United States), they may still have exclusive distribution rights (at least in commercial and educational media within the United States). But the intention of giving exclusive rights was clearly “that the people of the United States should not be denied an opportunity to view the film”[4][5]; I think that availability online through youtube, archive.org and public.resource.org shows that exclusivity is no longer needed to encourage making the film available.

      [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy:_Years_of_Lightning,_Day_of_Drums
      [2] http://archive.org/details/gov.ntis.ava11312vnb1
      [3] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060562/
      [4] http://pepperdine.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15093coll1/id/3103/rec/6
      [5] http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/collections/gdoc/hearings/5/50060443a/50060443a-0053.pdf 

  11. Garymon says:

    Keep it online. 

  12. chosen at random says:

    just let them know that happy mutants have removed the file for you multiple times.

  13. ImmutableMichael says:

    This is truly a “reductio ad fustercluck” situation. The court orders some banging of heads together until you sort it out.

  14.  This wouldn’t be the first time an agency of the US government issued a takedown notice on JFK.

  15. As BB’s self-appointed judge and jury, I hereby order you to keep it up.  Turn it into a torrent for good measure, too.

  16. Ian Wood says:

    I find it difficult to believe that one agency is responsible for this.

  17. UFIA says:

     Great propaganda.  It made me want to be a jelly donut. 
    Keep it up unless you are made to take it down. 

  18. Please keep the film online.

  19. suesue says:

    First, there is no way it is ever going away now.  Even with a court order it is out of your hands.  Second, like oasisob1 says, this is actual history now.  It is no longer illegal for the US to distribute propaganda and it may very well be useful to modern researchers.  I haven’t seen the film yet (I don’t actually care about JFK.  I wasn’t born until….9 months later) but there may very well be interviews or discussions that contain information that has been forgotten since.  People who haven’t been interviewed since the movie was made will have doctoral candidates showing up with questions.

  20. Giuseppe says:

    Isn’t it the case that any work produced by the US government falls under public domain?  I don’t understand how they can reasonably claim copyright over it.

    Anyway, public.resource.org should keep the film online, but someone should upload it to TPB and a smattering of other torrent communities, just in case they’re forced to take it down.

  21. James Penrose says:

    The film was produced with taxpayer money by an agent of the people (the government).  Therefore the copyright as such belongs to the people as a whole and cannot be transferred arbitrarily by non-elected officials.

    Or at least such is my opinion.  Keep the thing up until forced to take it down by proper legal means.

    It is also my understanding that a government produced item cannot be copyrighted in the first instance which would seem to make their request moot absent it being classified or of “National Security” level which would be a tough one to argue.

  22. Michael Brian Bentley says:

    Have someone who lives outside the US post the work online?

  23.  http://bazasofta.ru/

  24.  http://bazasofta.ru/load/0-2

  25. Carl Malamud says:

    At 1:13 PM – 27 Apr 13, the following message was transmitted to the United States government by means of Twitter message number 328240450106437632:

    Dear @NTISInfo @kencen: We received your request and asked the Internet. http://fax.org/Z1d45q  Sorry, but they said no. cc: @boingboing

    Source: https://twitter.com/carlmalamud/status/328240450106437632

    Thanks everybody for your help!

  26. teapot says:

    Keep it on the net and tell the Kennedy Center to go fuck themselves. They didn’t pay for it, the American citizen did… and so it shall stay in their hands.