Re: RARA-AVIS: Using film noir in the classroom

From: James Rogers (
Date: 09 Apr 2000

At 11:00 PM 4/9/00 +0200, you wrote:
>Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but I figured if anyone could provide
>an answer y'all could.
>I'd like to obtain authorization to use a number of classic film noir
>films in my classroom: The Maltese Falcon, The Third Man, The Lady from
>Shanghai, The Big Sleep and Key Largo. I need to know the agency that I
>can request authorization from, both to use short excerpts from these
>films and on occasion to show one or more of them in their entirety.
>In the past, short citations from films (up to 3 minutes in length) were
>considered to fall under the fair use provisions, and thus were exempt
>from the need to obtain prior authorization. A new interpretation
>commissioned by the education ministry asserts that to show a small
>portion of a film infringes on the artistic integrity of the work, and
>hence is not allowed. So if I'm to avoid becoming a hardened criminal, I
>need to request authorization.
     In the U.S. such small takings would likely still fall under "fair use".
     _Falcon_, _Big Sleep_ and _Key Largo_ I suspect are still owned by the studio, Warner Bros., that produced them. Doubtless they have their own licensing division. Can't recall who produced the two Welles films on your list, and they may have sold their catalogs anyway. Both are available on videotape and their should be the copyright info on the box. In the U.S., such copyright permissions for film are generally dealt with directly by the holder rather than through an agency such as ASCAP, though there will be a licensing/ public performance mechanism for showing the film as a whole.
    I realize that's probably not as helpful as you would like. For a fuller and perhaps more specific answer, you might try the cni-copyright mailing list which can also be accessed through the web.


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