Assemblog: March 22, 2013

Published on March 22nd, 2013 in: Assemblog, Copyright/Piracy, Film Festivals, Horror, Legal Issues, Movies, Trailers, True Crime |

Under The Bed

New this week on Popshifter: LabSplice says Brad Anderson’s new movie The Call is “guided by a very sure hand”; Emily thinks Shooter Jennings is worthy of his dad’s crown on The Other Life; Paul recommends Old Man Markley’s Down Side Up; I unabashedly gush about Suede’s Bloodsports, categorize the movie Deadfall as a “gritty, rewarding genre exercise,” admire the fashion sensibilities of Redd Kross in their new video for “Uglier,” and review four films from Canadian Music Week Film Fest 13: Ain’t In It For My Health, The History of Future Folk, The Last Pogo Jumps Again, and Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Film.

Please note: there will be no Assemblogs for the next three weeks. I’ll just be providing round ups of that week’s articles. The Assemblog will be back in full effect on April 19.

I’m sad to report that our ongoing column “TV Is Dead, Long Live TV” is on hiatus. If you’re interested in picking up the coverage of the transformation of television from linear to its currently shifting model, please drop me a line at

Last November, I talked about the First-Sale Doctrine and the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., which addressed whether or not consumers have the right to resell copies of books, movies, or songs. The first-sale doctrine, as defined by US law, states the following:

The first sale doctrine, codified at 17 U.S.C. ยง 109, provides that an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy, notwithstanding the interests of the copyright owner.

In this particular case, Wiley, a textbook manufacturer, was suing US resident and student Supap Kirtsaeng for $600,000 because he resold copies of foreign-edition English-language textbooks that his family and friends in Thailand had purchased and sent to him. The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 vote (one of the dissenters being Scalia—no big surprise there) found in favor of Kirtsaeng, with Justice Stephen Breyer writing the majority opinion. I’m quoting the next four paragraphs from The Hollywood Reporter in their entirety because I feel they are that important:

For instance, to interpret these words geographically, he wrote, would mean that anyone who buys a bumper sticker in Canada, Europe or Asia couldn’t display it in America. He also says that “to interpret these words geographically would mean that the teacher could not (without further authorization) use a copy of a film during class if the copy was lawfully made in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Africa or Asia.”

The ramifications of a ruling that favored the publisher would be dire, says the judge. Libraries might stop circulating millions of books made abroad. Cars might not be able to be resold without the permission for each piece of copyrighted automobile software. Art museums might not be able to display foreign-produced works by Cy Twombly, Rene Magritte, Henri Matisse or Pablo Picasso—and Breyer asked, “What are the museums to do, they ask, if the artist retained the copyright, if the artist cannot be found or if a group of heirs is arguing about who owns which copyright?”

The entertainment industry had its own concerns that taking an expansive view of the first-sale doctrine would increase piracy and gray-market sales and limit the ability to price copyrighted works in accordance to local economic conditions on a global basis.

“Wiley and the dissent claim that a nongeographical interpretation will make it difficult, perhaps impossible, for publishers (and other copyright holders) to divide foreign and domestic markets,” Breyer wrote. “We concede that is so. A publisher may find it more difficult to charge different prices for the same book in different geographic markets. But we do not see how these facts help Wiley, for we can find no basic principle of copyright law that suggests that publishers are especially entitled to such rights.”

TAKE THAT, RIAA AND MPAA. For a full understanding of the case and its potential ramifications, you should read the entire article. (And if someone can explain the comment from “Copyowner” to me, I’ll be grateful, since I’ve read it five times and still have no idea what the person is saying.)

Another intriguing legal case, also discussed on The Hollywood Reporter, is the Lifetime movie based on the murder of Peter Porco and the attempted murder of his wife Joan by their son Christopher, who was convicted in 2006. Porco sued Lifetime, saying that they violated his civil rights under New York state law and Judge Rober Muller issued an injunction which banned Lifetime from airing or promoting the film Romeo Killer: The Christopher Porco Story. Since then, “New York Supreme Court’s appellate division issued a stay on the injunction and ordered Porco to show cause on why the injunction order shouldn’t be lifted.”

I find this incredibly interesting and wonder what Porco was trying to gain from this lawsuit as well as if there is any precedent on these kinds of lawsuits. What do you think? Should movies be made about convicted killers? If no, why not? Does it violate their civil rights?

IndieWire has an excellent article on film festivals and how they need to ask why they exist in the first place. It’s a response to a previous article by Sean Farnel and includes links to other response pieces to Farnel’s original piece, which essentially demanded that film fests pay screening fees to directors. For anyone who cares about the future of indie film, all these articles are must-reads, particularly the comments on each.

And now, it’s trailer time! First, Snap, which played at SXSW, has a teaser trailer. It reminds me of a more murderous Fight Club. (H/T to Fangoria.)

Have you heard about the upcoming Netflix series, Hemlock Grove, directed by Eli Roth? Now we have four trailers! Some elements are repeated in each, but here’s what I’ve gathered: there are secrets, gypsies, werewolves, gore, and there is a guy who reminds me of Steff from Pretty In Pink. I’m interested.

The other three trailers can be viewed on

A movie that I first heard about last year, but never saw a trailer for, was Under The Bed. Just the title gives me the creeps. comes to the rescue again, with a French trailer for the film (which will be called Scary in Europe). It looks scary indeed.

—Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor

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