The problem faced by this documentary film is common to all such works - which, unlike newspapers etc., must secure permission to quote when it uses news film clips, etc.
Yes it is. It is also true that every performance of Samuel Barber's Symphonies, and Eliot Carter's String Quartets carry a price as well. As does a play, musical, reprint of an article. There is a huge difference between quoting for an article and the use of material that MAKES the article.
Quotes and "Fair Use" have been with us for quit a while. Because the medium changes, some think that the ownership of the work and how it is used should change. While I agree there is room for compromise, I do not believe a wholesale move to the 'let me have it, I want it NOW' mantra is going to work all that well.
And telling me that some great historical item will be lost if the people who CREATED the work in it are to be paid is - well - falling a bit short on reality. If there is a market, there will be payment.
"The five-year licenses expired and the company that made the film also expired. And now we have a situation where we have this series for which there are no rights licenses. Eyes on the Prize cannot be broadcast on any TV venue anywhere, nor can it be sold."
That is really sad, and it would be wonderful if it could be saved.
But it is equally as sad that the people who say they care about such things cannot raise the money to keep it going. They can raise $50M for a slapstick movie about redneck car racers, or frat house kids dying a thousand different ways.
But they can't raise a crappy ass $500K?
The people who made the content need to be paid. And if it is such a wonderful film, why is no one trying to raise the money and get it back?
The problem is that no one obviously thinks the film is worth $500K. I am not saying it is or it isn't, but for a lousy $500K they can renew it and no one can get that money together?
And why is that the fault of the people who created the works used in the film?
"And right now, the law is a serious hindrance to transmitting history and culture to new generations:"
Depends on which side of the creatin' and makin' you sit. If you are one wanting to make money off the sale of the film (somebody gotta be making some money - distribution, copies, packaging) then it is in your best interest to cut out any extraneous costs.
The people who put their lives and fortunes on the line to create the work you are discussing are not the place to cut.
I am not sure what will happen with all this "we gotta save the culture" stuff when it comes to IP, but ripping it away in the name of the culture seems short sighted, illogical and downright cruel to the creators.
Want more culture?
Create some yourself.