The Renegade Picture Show is a drive-in movie experience with a Renegade aspect taking place in the Norman and OKC metro. The location can change from night to night and the way the movie is shown is unique. A multimedia LCD (or similar) projector is connnected to a laptop and/or DVD player and the image is projected on the side of a building, wall or structure. The movie audio is broadcast via a FM transmitter to a car stereo or portable radio. That means you can sit in your car or on the ground or a chair…you get the idea…and watch and listen to the movie. That means that virtually anywhere could become a potential theatre!
So where did this concept stem from?
The motivation: movies. It’s as simple as that. Show movies to the masses in a unique way. Combine these two things and you get the RPS!
As genius as this seems I was not the first to come up with this idea. Internet research quickly led me to two main places – the Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive In and MobMov (a spinoff of the GDI). Both of these organizations fit exactly into what I was looking for. Both have been showing movies publically for years and other shows have sprung up across the U.S. If it worked for them surely it can work in Oklahoma.
To infringe or not to infringe, that is the question…
The first hurdle: copyright. The Santa Cruz GDI takes the stand that copyright is “brain theft” and furthermore says that copyright lawyers can “bite us.” Talk about Renagade! Damn. MobMov takes the opposite approach and encourages those running MobMov-endorsed events to gain the necessary permission from movie rights holders for public showings of films.
The copyright laws are clear on this:
The rental or purchase of a Video does not bear the right “to perform the copyrighted work publicly.” (Section 202)
Videos may be shown without a SEPARATE license in the home to “a normal circle of family and its social acquaintances” (Section 101) because such showings are not considered “public.”
All other public performances of Videos are illegal unless they have been authorized by license. Even “performances in ‘semipublic’ places such as clubs, lodges, factories, summer camps and schools are ‘public performances’ subject to copyright control.” (Senate Reprt No. 94-473, page 60; House Report No. 94-1476, page 64).
Both for-profit organizations and non-profit institutions must secure a license to show Videos, regardless of whether an admission fee is charged. (Senate Report No. 94-473, page 59; House Report No. 94-1476, page 62)
Given these rules it’s clear that someone could get in deep if they were to blatantly ignore copyright law. You’d be looking at a $150,000 fine or more. I’d rather not take that chance.
As much as I sometimes hate copyright law and support Creative Commons I understand and respect it as well. Looking at it from the artist’s POV – I write screenplays and hope to make movies one day myself so I understand the importance of utilizing copyright to protect one’s work. And I certainly understand those that make movies and want to be compensated for them. So in an effort to keep this event legit and sustainable I’m going to do everything I can to jump through the copyright hoops, so to speak.
I’ve contacted the MPLC and New Yorker Films in an effort to gain a license to show their films publically. We’ll see how it goes. If the costs for obtaining a license are too high I’ll have to stick to what I find in the public domain, namely Archive.org and the Library of Congress along with other small film companies and individuals whom allow me to show their films.
As far as locations go I have one location secured. It is a private and at present, undisclosed, location in the Bricktown area of Oklahoma City. I’m working on gaining access to another location in Norman. Getting the one in Norman would be ideal – it’s a near perfect spot.
More to come on the type of equipment used and how the show will be run…