Using News Footage for Parodies
December 16, 2004 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Inspired by the question about publicly available news footage: Is it possible to download somewhere all 7 (?) parts of Frank Capra's WWII series "Why We Fight"? I know it's in the public domain, having been produced with taxpayer dollars, but all I can find is people selling it on DVD and VHS, with the exception of the final title, which Prelinger has. Are there MPEG-2 or avi versions of the other titles somewhere?

Also, if I could sneak in a twofer -- Where do Jon Stewart, SNL, etc. get the video and stills they use in their news parodies? I know parody is protected, so they probably don't have to clear rights, but do they just copy it down from regular programming? Or is there some kind of archive they're tapping? Does CBS, for instance, just give you this stuff if you ask for it?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
The company I work for has a subscription to a service that sends typed feeds of news reports from all the radio & TV stations & newspapers in town. So I'm guessing there is an archive they're tapping.
Plus if they're willing to spend the money, they can subscribe to Associated Press image services or something of that nature.
(And I bet their network gives them access to whatever images, film, etc. that the network owns. I don't think that the news room "owns" their work - the network does.

But there's probably someone here who knows more of the details than I do.
posted by raedyn at 11:44 AM on December 16, 2004

Response by poster: Comedy Central has no "news division" associated with it (Unless you count Daily Show)
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:47 AM on December 16, 2004

The Library of Congress has it, but it's not online. You could try emailing them.

Whart raedyn said. SNL gets what it wants from NBC i believe. Jon Stewart gets CNN and CBS footage, mostly, or else they just call up for permission--i'm sure they pay for a feed too, or share it with other shows. Stewart has a deal with CNN and an edited version of the show that runs on CNN Int'l, and CBS is owned by Viacom which also owns Comedy Central, i think.
posted by amberglow at 11:47 AM on December 16, 2004

I have a friend that works at a film archive in NYC. I know that SNL, Daily Show, etc. tap places like that for a lot of the older stock footage.
posted by m@L at 11:54 AM on December 16, 2004

The seventh and final installment is on, but no more.
posted by pedantic at 1:32 PM on December 16, 2004

I've seen some pretty crummy quality video on The Daily Show.
posted by smackfu at 3:32 PM on December 16, 2004

It's quite possible that the Daily Show is a subscriber to one of the video news agency feeds, like Reuters or APTN (Associated Press Television News.)

I think they also just tape a bunch of shows and networks -- I've seen the on-air versions of CNN and Fox excerpted on Comedy Central (with tickers, bug, et cetera). They can use this under the fair use guidelines.

There are also outfits (like this one) that supply tapes of programming on demand for a fee.
posted by Vidiot at 3:58 PM on December 16, 2004

Here's a site with a lot of WWII propaganda links (though many are broken).

Don't assume that the propaganda films are in the public domain. Capra and others made the films but were allowed to retain the copyrights. I can't find a link right now, but I'll look for the copyright info when I get to work Tuesday.
posted by ?! at 9:31 AM on December 19, 2004

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