Clearing Copyrights

Rights renewed, ‘Eyes on the Prize’ returns [pdf]

“Eyes on the Prize,” which chronicles the history of the civil rights movement, was first shown in 1987 but has not been rerun since 1993, after which rights to much of the abundant archival footage in the series expired.

After an arduous process of renewing rights, the first part of the series is scheduled to run in two-hour blocks on Oct. 2, 9, and 16 on WGBH’s “American Experience.”

Henry Hampton and his South End-based Blackside Inc., the largest black-owned documentary film company at the time the film came out , produced the two-part, 14-hour series, which won numerous awards. The first six hours took 10 years to fund and produce. The second part will be aired at a future date, a spokeswoman for PBS said.

[…] The clearance rights for the astounding amount of material, which had originally been negotiated to be used for varying periods of time by Blackside, gradually expired.

It took four or five years to raise $915,000 for research, rights clearance, and post-production costs, said Sandra Forman, Blackside attorney and director of the “Eyes on the Prize” Renewal Project.