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Artists' Rights

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Artists' Rights

Steven Spielberg quite on artists' rights The idea of "artists' rights" actually is an integral piece of why widescreen has such strong support of movie makers and movie aficionados.

Widescreen videos and DVDs gained popularity because film makers were tired of seeing their wide aspect ratio, often wonderfully panoramic, movies modified to fit the TV screen. They wanted their movies to be seen in the aspect ratio that they felt would be the best way to show their movie. Additionally, videophiles and those who have an appreciation for movies were tired of seeing only half of their favorite movies.

Unfortunately, the whole widescreen argument has degraded to "what people want to see on their TVs." Perhaps if one were to argue economics, this would be a partially valid statement; however, it tramples on the concepts of artists' rights.

Contrary to what some have attempted to argue in in the past, the defense of artists' rights and the desire to preserve the original aspect ratio of movies and TV shows are not mutually exclusive. Explaining the widescreen process and defending those who create widescreen movies are mutually inclusive. After all, those film makers who want their works to be viewed in their OAR are the film makers who are providing us with the original version of their movies.

Some people have asked why the film makers should even care. After all, their movies are still being viewed and enjoyed by millions of people around the world. The problem, however, is that the people who are questioning the judgement of the film makers are the same who feel that because they purchase a movie they should have the right to see a movie the way that they want to see it. This is in fact a ludicrous and specious argument. A purchase of $15 or $20 can not and should not supercede the wishes of film makers who have spent millions of dollars in possibly obscure places on earth having to juggle finances, logistics, framing, lighting, set creation, deadlines, distribution, casting, and more tasks than most of us will ever experience in our entire lifetimes.

To demand a full screen just because one purchases a movie at his local store is like demanding that Disney paint Cinderella's castle florescent yellow just because he purchased a ticket to Walt Disney World; or demanding that an author remove specific chapters of his book because the purchaser considers the book to be "too long"; or demanding that an painter modify his painting because the one who paid to view the painting finds it to be too dark or too bright.

As much as some will argue against this, all of these examples are valid. In every example someone purchased the privilege of viewing someone else's creation, but incorrectly (and possibly arrogantly) believed that he had the right to force the creators of those works to modify those creations to his liking.

Widescreen.org does not support the belief that the consumer's rights supercede the rights of those who made those movies available to the consumer. The creators of movies, who we so very often take for granted, should have rights over how their works are displayed.

Film makers and studios have to face this type of disrespect on a regular basis. The widescreen process is the only method by which film makers can preserve widescreen movies in their original aspect ratio; and as artists they should be supported in their desire to keep their original works as they intended them to be.

Widescreen.org supports the film makers' rights because defending the widescreen process (or more specifically the showing of movies in their original aspect ratio) is defending the rights of artists to have their movies seen in the way that they were originally intended to be seen.