Monday, April 14, 2008

Iconic historic images/video must be free

2Couple of years ago at a lecture I played 15 minutes of a compilation of dramatic video from 911.

It was a 2 hour lecture; way, way too long for normal classes, but the pictures mixed to the sonorus score of Classical composer Shirley Thompson's New Nation Rising created a mood, you need not exercise yourself to imagine.

It's worth thinking, some to todays undergrads and media students may have been too young at the time of 911 to have seen or acknowledge its utter profoundness.

This week I'm fixed to talk to some secondary/High school pupils and while researching a project came across this quotation by Abraham Linclon.

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

Abraham Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.

The "stormy present" gave me cause to pause and think about that september. The journal of the present often takes its cues from the past.

But alas I'm mad with myself.

I can't find the tape. It was a digital vid compilation. After a fruitless search, I got mader, but about something else, but related.

Video from one of contemporary history's most indelible news images is not freely available for use.

They reside in the library of news agents, who scooped up the rights soon after, and whose usage therefore will incur some cost by the minute.

This surely should not be the case.

Some images - a page in history - are just too precious to be owned by a corporation. In the same way great and historic pieces of art are available on display, though yes I'm not allowed either to do as I please with them, BUT i can aquire digital versions, sometimes free of charge.

There have been a llimited number of images that mark their own year zero in history. Haunting images from Nasa's flights to the moon are but one - and they've been made avaialble to use by the public.

Recently the BBC announced it was to make some its material available for mash-ups; the public to do knead,edit and produce their own versions.

The Net has spawned a common license, copy left, so for educational purposes no money changes hands, or at least it's token if anything.

Some images are just too important to be locked away. And if you're a philanthropist who believes that news and historic events e.g. collapse of the Berlin wall, End of World War II, the Atom Bomb, Tusnami should be there for generations, buy up the stock and release it on the Net.

And whilst you're at it it go to the agencies and do the same for 911. I have got some names and number of people to contact if you're interested.

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