Saturday, October 22, 2016

Alice in Wonderland, Homemade

Looking for pre-Internet examples of fan-works, (before copyright [it's complicated {1}], what we'd consider "fan works" were something of a norm), I found the first film of Alice in Wonderland, 1903, at the endlessly intriguing vault of the British Film Institute (BFI) youTube channel.

People are always making new versions of Alice, including a book by our own ArtSparker:
Dreaming Alice (links to viewer where you click on photos to turn pages). 

These are just the film's highlights--you can watch all 9 surviving minutes of the original 12 min. film, restored.

Directed by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow in 1903 at the Hepworth studio, 37 years after Lewis Carroll wrote his novel and eight years after the birth of cinema. [2]
"…The Cheshire cat is played by a family pet [@ 1:25], and the film features the family dog, Blair."
--from BFI Screenonline

Star Trek TOS used Alice too, in "Shore Leave" (1966).
Alice asks Dr. McCoy if he's seen a large white rabbit and he points in the direction he saw it go.
  {1} "Q: Are the [Alice] books and the pictures still copyright protected?

"A: No. When the Alice books were published, they were copyright protected until 42 years after the first publication or 7 years after the author’s death, whichever was the longer. Later, the 1911 Act replaced the 1842 Copyright Act which extended the period to 50 years after the author’s death.
This means that the copyright on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” subsisted until 1907 and that of Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there until 1948.
As Tenniel died in 1914, his illustrations came into the public domain in 1964. This includes the colored illustrations for the Nursery Alice.

Notably the British Copyright act did not protect the stories and illustrations from being reproduced abroad. Many foreign publishers, for example in America, were therefore able to publish the story and Tenniel’s illustrations without permission from Carroll, while they were still copyright protected in the UK.

"Disney’s cartoon movie still remains in copyright. If you wish to use movie stills, video, audio, or anything else from the movie, you’ll need to ask permission from Disney Consumer Products."

[2] Birth of Cinema: the Lumière Brothers "Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory" (1895) [links to youTube].

More on the films of the Lumière Brothers.


ArtSparker said...

Common as Air, by Lewis Hyde, is a fascinating read on the history of copyright. Let's just say protections have increased considerably over the years- Benjamin Franklin, back in the day, made the plan for his heat efficient Franklin stove available to all in the newspaper.

ArtSparker said...

Thanks for the refererral, by the way.

Fresca said...

SPARKER: THanks for the heads-up about the Hyde book---I'd very much liked his book The Gift years ago. Fandom works like he describes a gift economy(though some of that is starting to change a little bit), since most fanwork cannot be sold because it's skirting copyright--this enforced noncommercial nature being a weird upside? to the sometimes ridiculous "protections" huge corporations like Disney have pushed through, as you know.

ArtSparker said...

As an artist who sells work online, the sale of fanwork makes me sad on so many levels, because I believe that along with the legal ramifications, people should be developing their own personal magic kingdoms.

bink said...

I had seen that 1903 film before. I always love seeing movies like this because they make me think "I could do that!" And in a way, we have, with some of our little films.