David Friend to Jeffrey Wells: “Earlier this week I received a legal notice from the studio that owns most of Ingmar Bergman‘s films, trying to halt a YouTube series I’m doing on his career called Breaking Down Bergman.
“A little background on myself — I’m a reporter by day for The Canadian Press news wire and a longtime movie fanatic. I recently launched this Bergman series with a friend. We intend to watch all of Bergman’s directorial efforts in chronological order, and discuss each one in a 10-minute video using our opinions, comments and brief clips from the movie to illustrate our points. The intention is to encourage others to delve into Bergman, especially younger viewers who might know him by name but haven’t seen his movies.
“There is no profit involved — we’re doing it because we love film.
“However, Svensk Filmindustri, the copyright owner of his films in Sweden doesn’t want us using any footage AT ALL ,and after a recent conversation threatened me with legal action if I don’t stop the series. As far as I can tell, they are completely disregarding fair use laws. We’re not putting Bergman’s films online and we are actually providing promotion for this studio. So, it seems to me it is a service to the community and thus qualifies as fair use.
“Because we don’t profit from this, we also don’t have the money to hire lawyers, so we’re weighing the decision of whether to take down all of these videos and abandon a project we intended to spend the next two years on, or stick it out and see if they launch a lawsuit. I haven’t received any official legal statement from the studio lawyers at this point, but I don’t think they necessarily have to do that. Of course, these big guys at Svensk have a lot of money to challenge us and could probably hurt us financially even if they launch a lawsuit that they don’t win.
“I think it’s hugely important for us to continue engaging in a dialogue about Bergman’s films, and potentially about any other director’s films in a future series. We’re not officially movie critics. We’re just Average Joes talking about movies, and this seems like a dangerous precedent they’re putting forth.”