By now you’ve probably heard the anguished screams of Star Wars fans having their souls raped by George Lucas — presumably bored and with nothing better to do — continuing to tinker with his beloved cinematic masterpieces. But what’s funny, or not, about this is that George Lucas was against manipulating films with digital technology before he was for it.
The website Save Star Wars dug up a transcript of Lucas testifying before Congress in 1988 pleading for lawmakers to enact laws that would … wait for it … prevent anyone from using advances in digital technology to make changes to films, arguing that films belong to the public more than they do the copyright holders, who he contends are merely custodians of art owned by the people. He then calls on Congress to, in the interest of preserving America’s cultural heritage, use its power to do whatever it can to preserve films as they were when they were originally released.
People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society … Creative expression is at the core of our humanness. Art is a distinctly human endeavor. We must have respect for it if we are to have any respect for the human race.
These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tommorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with “fresher faces,” or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor’s lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new “original” negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires … Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.
I think it’s time to send in the Storm Troopers.
(HT: AV Club)
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