Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why buy the DVD?

Some of the most frequently asked questions deal with copyright and licensing issues, in the guise of "Can I show the movie to my youth group?" and questions like that.

In college, like every other poor college student, I hated buying albums (CD's were just coming out at that point). But I'd put them on my own mix cassettes and wanted them any way, so no pirate Dan there.

Then software rolled out as the personal PC took root. $50 for that game??? Are you kidding me? So a group of us would get together and buy a game and share it, copying the manuals etc. Until I got convicted.

Software, music, movies-- I do believe it's stealing to make a copy and give it to another person. Especially when it's labeled that all over.

So what is right before God and Country and the Laws of this land? A movie DVD has a "license" on it. You're not actually purchasing a "movie" as much as purchasing the permission to display it. I'll say it another way-- when you buy the DVD, you're not buying the movie-- technically, you do not won the movie, you own the right to play it in the location and manner deemed by the license.

Home DVD generally means that you may display the movie in your home, before friends and family. There might be a number limit... that I'm not sure about.

If you're going to show it to a youth group, up at the church, you will need a public exhibition license (for Imposter, it would be here).

Now, whether or not you think it's right/wrong to use a home DVD for showing to your group at church, please keep this in mind. I take I Tim 5:8 very seriously-- I am trying to provide, through this filmmaking, for my family. I am not a wealthy person at all. The revenue that comes in from the movie gets split between PureFlix and their partners and us. Most of what we receive will go back to the investors who have believed in this project for the last few years.

Yes, this movie ministers, but filmmaking is my "tentmaking" and is how I support my family. There's not a church somewhere putting me on staff so I can make the movies. I need your help.

My hope is to be able to do the next movie. Your buying the DVD helps us. So for those few who have asked-- this is the answer to the licensing question. I do ask that you walk in integrity.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. It's important to educate about copyright law, because so many churches abuse it.

    It's like a church robbing a Christian book store, and justifying it by saying, "Those books and Bibles are meant for ministry, and that's what the authors wanted, so there should be no problem with us stuffing as much as we can in our sweatshirts and running out the door."

    That would never happen, yet many churches have no problem screening the Christian DVD they bought for the entire youth group.