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Mr. YOUNG. The question of ownership rights is also indisputable. Because the studios hired the directors and the actors and everyone else associated with the production of films, they also owned the product. The decision on how to market the films belongs to the studios that made them or whoever bought the rights.
Once more, the company that owns those rights has an obligation to its investors to maximize the potential of the library and, in so doing, it helps television networks and individual stations by maximizing their audience and hence revenue. It also is helping raise the level of programming by making available neglected quality films.
Mr. Chairman, we believe that for the production of future new releases, the issue of colorization is one which should be negotiated between the directors and producers or owners of the films on which they are working. Over time, the directors, through the basic contract negotiated by the Directors Guild and in their individual contracts with producers, have obtained certain rights. The colorizing of motion pictures belongs in the same arena.
If Mr. Allen, or any other director, chooses to negotiate a contract with the producers or backers of his films that precludes the colorizing of those films, he should have that right. We would absolutely refuse to color any motion picture when such colorization would be a violation
of an existing contract. Senator LEAHY. That really gives nothing. You say you would have to refuse, but you could do it any way if you were not going to run into a contractual problem.
Mr. YOUNG. What I am trying to point out is that we are not breaking the law right now.
Senator LEAHY. Nobody is suggesting you are, Mr. Young. I hasten to add I think your technology is an absolutely remarkable thing. I find it totally fascinating. I cannot understand how it works, but then I had a hard time getting my word processor turned on in the morning. So that probably does not say a great deal for me. I think you can take a great deal of pride, all of you who are involved with it.
I just want to still stick, of course, to the issues we are dealing with here, which are the legal issues or potential legal issues which arise when color is added to black-and-white film. I think everybody has to acknowledge that the technology is fascinating.
Mr. YOUNG. Thank you.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, our critics do not like our product and think we should not have the right to convert black-and-white to color. Colorization itself infringes on no one's rights, but successful efforts to take away the right of owners to color copies of old black-and-white films would, in our opinion, be a clear violation of a person's right to his own property.
Furthermore, we assert that the American people have the right to choose between a colorized version of a film or the film in its original black and white state. I do not believe any pressure group should or governmental body would tell them what they can and cannot watch.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I want to express my appreciation for hearing our side of the story. (The statement of Mr. Young follows:)
STATEMENT TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON TECHNOLOGY AND THE LAW OF THE
U.S. SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
MAY 12, 1987
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, my name is
Buddy Young and I am President of Color Systems Technology. I appreciate
the opportunity to be here this morning, along with my colleagues Roger
Mayer, President of Turner Entertainment Company and Rob Word, Senior Vice
President of Creative Affairs for Hal Roach Studios.
We ask that the written testimony submitted to the Committee be
printed in the record and for the purpose of brevity, we are summarizing
our statements this morning.
The company I represent is less than five years old. In 1985, we had
40 employees. Today nearly 200 persons work at Color Systems Technology.
Like all new businesses in the United States, we represent entrepreneurial
spirit. We have put our personal assets at risk in this new venture.
of us risked virtually everything we own to form our companies, with the
hope of providing ourselves and our shareholders a good return on our
investment, while at the same time providing entertainment that the
American public wants, accepts and enjoys.
Mr. Chairman, in the ongoing debate over the coloring of films, our
critics have attacked our work, questioned our motives and demeaned not
only our artistic taste but also that of the people who enjoy watching our
product. A great many false claims have been made and misconceptions
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We have additional videotape which presents a fair example of our work
and addresses a number of questions regarding our business.
Mr. Chairman, I think you could see from the foregoing how good our
work is capable of being, certainly far better than such innovations as
sound or even the early Technicolor were at this early stage of their
As a matter of fact, we now have the ability to restore some of the
great Technicolor movies that have faded with time, classics like
"Oklahoma" and "South Pacific" which have become almost unwatchable due to
the degraded condition of their prints. This is another form of
enhancement in the service of the motion picture art.
Because of the technical and artistic training of our people and of
our growing experience in this new field, we in the business of coloring
films have the ability and the responsibility to improve our product. This
is important not just in terms of marketing movies, but because of what it accomplishes in allowing us to provide the American public with solid,
We aim to make these films available to an entire
new generation of Americans.
We are coloring some of Shirley Temple's most endearing movies.
intend to color those wonderful classic cartoons that you watched as
children. Many parents would prefer that their children watch the older,
less violent cartoons than those that we see today.
We will color Abbott
and Costello shows, the Laurel and Hardy films, and a number of family
oriented, black and white television programs that were serialized during
the days when color programming was not offered the general public.
You saw from the earlier videotape that sneers about "computer
coloring by number" are entirely unmerited.
artists, expert in the psychology and application of color
make all the
No computer ever has, or will, color a movie on its
it colors what it is told to do, just as a word processor does the
will of the writer.
Further, the members of this Committee know, as do our critics, that
colorization of black and white films does absolutely nothing to destroy,
damage or alter the original films. They are untouched, intact and
preserved in their original form.
The original versions of some of these
films are being shown throughout the United States in art theatres, film
institutes, and on television. As a matter of fact, since the telecast of
the colored versions of "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's a Wonderful
Life", the original black and white versions have had increased exposure
via telecasts and home video sales and rentals.
These are peripheral issues, designed to obscure the purely emotional
argument over an author's creative rights
rights which were unheard of
at studios when the films we are coloring were made.
Very little reading of the history of Hollywood is needed to discover
that the great black and white films were the product of the studios.
Ronald Haver, Curator of Film for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art,
recently said that "Most of the films that we're talking about, the period
under consideration, they were not directors' films, they were studio
If anything, they were writer films because the writer wrote down
every single aspect of what the director directed. The director changed
the director was another craftsman in the creation of the
overall motion picture.
So to say that the director may not have wanted
this film to be in color, I think is overstating the case on behalf of the
Mr. Chairman, I refer to Mr. Haver, not to diminish or demean the work
of the directors. Many are truly gifted and have been handsomely rewarded,
both financially and by acclaim and accolades from the public and their
professional colleagues. I merely wish to inderline the historic fact from
the beginning, filmmaking has been a collabrative effort, relying on the
creative contributions of many talented people.
Movies are not solely the
work of their Jirectors.
But whether their attacks are motivated financially, since these early
works were not subject to residual payments, or by wounded pride, we urge
the Committee to look beyond the rhetoric designed to capture headlines or
a minute on the nightly news and concentrate instead on the substantive
issues involved, from both an artistic and an economic vantage point.
We believe that this issue revolves around the constitutional
guarantees of individual rights and property ownership and the public's
right to choose in the marketplace. There is a great deal of elitism
involved here, the intellectual intent of a few to impose their own views
and tastes on millions and millions of Americans who have already expressed
their own opinions in unequivocal terms as measured by polls, television
ratings and videocassettes sales.
The evidence is indisputable that the films we have colored for
television release have attracted enormous audiences
dwarf those who have watched the same film in black and white.
The question of ownership rights is also indisputable. Because the
studios hired the director and the actors and everyone else associated with
the production of the films, they also owned the product. Turner
Broadcasting purchased the riGM film library at an enormous cost.
decision on how to market these films, as well as the rights, belong to
that company, not the actors, writer or director.
What's more, Mr. Turner