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New York Week: IFP

Glenn Otis Brown, September 28th, 2004

On Friday the 24th I attended the final day of IFP New York‘s week-long conference on independent film.

I felt very lucky and humbled (frequent feelings lately) to be on an afternoon panel, “Responding to the Copyright Crisis,” with such heavies as Jonathan Taplin (producer of To Die For, Mean Streets, among other films); Marjorie Heins (founder of the Free Expression Policy Project); Jeff Levy-Hinte (producer of Thirteen and editor of When We Were Kings); Michael Donaldson (author of Clearance and Copyright); and Mark Nadel (author of, among many other pieces, the thought-provoking copyright article “The Overlooked Impact of Marketing“). David Bollier, author of the forthcoming Brand-Name Bullies, moderated.

After the panel, John Perry Barlow, who helped bring many people into the information debate back in the 1990s — even those of us who disagreed with him — waxed eloquent about the parallels between riparian rights (that’s water law) and copyright, and the connection between today’s information policy debate and current events around the world. He finished with a note of cautious optimism: “The dinosaurs are dying, there’s no doubt about that. But being locked in a dark closet with dying dinosaur doesn’t mean you’re going to come out okay. So we have to be brave.” It was a fitting, funny, and inspiring ending to the week.

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