[click image to play video in Windows Media Player format; 15 meg, 0:04:51]
This video I created was inspired by the story of my Great Aunt and Uncle, members of what Tom Brokaw termed "The Greatest Generation." In the video, I juxtapose media elements, mostly photos, but also visual representations of textual pieces, against a recorded song to tell their story in a universal manner.
The major use of copyrighted material comes from the song used throughout the entire video, "Under Winter" by Rachel Davis. Although this is the most obvious piece of copyrighted material in the video, the other elements represent more complex uses of such materials.
The narrative of the story is told mainly through pictures, either family-owned, stock photos, or copyrighted images found on the Internet (mainly through use of Google image search). My use of family-owned images is justified, but other images in the piece raise more complicated questions—specifically, images from the World War II (WWII) era—posted on a variety of websites and pages, some of them belonging to members of educational institutions, found using a search engine. I knew or know nothing of the origin of the majority of these pictures, did not gain permission to use them, and no statements of copyright use were found along with them. Other images I used include reproductions of popular WWII propaganda posters, taken from thumbnails on poster retailer websites. These images—for example, the Rosie the Riveter poster—are widely recognized historical artifacts, but the digital reproductions I found may bear questionable copyright.
The textual pieces used in the video also introduce further layerings of copyright issues. The video incorporated reproductions of two letters published on the Internet: the first is the letter to Private Art Pranger, whose letters during the war are published online. The second letter, from a woman to her serviceman husband, was published (both in original form and as a transcript) on the Lancaster County Historical Society website in an exhibit of wartime love letters.
And finally, visual representations of my Great Uncle’s obituary and a line from a popular Emily Dickinson poem were used in the final scenes of the video. The obituary was published in the local paper but written by his funeral director. Would its use be fair, especially if the director were to raise objection? The line from the poem, “Parting is all we know heaven / and all we need of hell” (from poem XCVI) is short enough to allow it some fair use, but it is also widely recognized. Which side of copyright law would this use fall on?