Other People's Property

Academics Square Off Against Hollywood on Internet Content

Balogh stresses the site's features that make his use of the material lawful: multiple passwords, the use of brief excerpts only, and its strictly educational purpose. "It would be nice if a site like this were available to the public—I get requests all the time to make it available, but I can't take the password protection down because then I'll be in violation of the current copyright law," he says.

Likewise, many films that Prelinger previously offered on the Web have been ushered out of the public domain by the Bono act. "We now have a great deal of post-1964 material that remains unusable except to look at in-house," says Prelinger. Still, in what may come as a surprise to Valenti, the project has actually increased Prelinger's business—the archive effectively works as advertising for his offline enterprise.

illustration by Lloyd Miller

"We see this project as an example of a new business model for providing access to cultural property—the intellectual property preserve," Prelinger says. "Its concept supports freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression."

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