Because the theaters in Bloomington-Normal, IL don't offer much to the art house crowd, members of the Illinois State University Cinema Society rented movies that were more their style, and got together to watch them. Unfortunately, they listed their screenings on the internet, and New Yorker Films happened upon the list. Noticing that they happened to hold distribution rights to 20 of the films screened by the group, they sent along a bill for $8000 in back fees.

Needless to say, the members of the ISUCS were shocked - shocked, I tell you! - by the bill and, since their budget is about $1300, can't really pay it. According to Curt White, the group's faculty advisor, New Yorker's bill is not only "a shakedown," but will also have the unintentional consequence of rendering the region completely free of independent and foreign films.

Here's the thing, though: wasn't it was sort of White's job to be aware of rights issues, and to advise the group about them? I mean, I worked at a little Midwestern high school, and not only did the faculty have to sit through a yearly copyright meeting, but my film class was also subject to exacting scrutiny by those in the know, and we spent a lot of time sorting out our distribution concerns. If this guy wasn't aware of them, he was careless. And yeah, it's sort of low for New Yorker to be demanding payment from a minor film society, but come on - aren't faculty advisors there for a reason? Quit whining and take some damn responsibility.

[via Movie City Indie]
categories Movies, Cinematical