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Odds: Wednesday – Fair use and run times.

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Tales From the Public Domain.
At Wired News, Fiona Morgan interviews law professors Keith Aoki, James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, who co-wrote and produced "Bound By Law? Tales From the Public Domain," a must-read for any documentary filmmaker, as it lays out intellectual property laws, including the boundaries of fair use and public domain, in clear and charming comic book form (you can read it online here).

WN: Why did you decide to focus on documentary film in this book? What is it about that art form in particular that makes it an especially good topic?

Jennifer Jenkins:
First of all, documentaries are incredibly important records of our history and culture. They’re visual histories, and they’re increasingly based on copyrighted culture. Our book describes several instances in which the telling of that history has been thwarted by permissions issues. An example is Jon Else having to pay $10,000 for a four-and-a-half-second clip of "The Simpsons" playing in the background of his film ("Sing Faster: The Stagehands’ Ring Cycle"). The makers of "Mad Hot Ballroom" had to pay that same amount to EMI because a cell phone rings in the background of one of the scenes, and the ringtone is the theme from "Rocky." These examples really resonate with people. They understand that these are instances where copyright is not working the way it’s supposed to.

At the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw complains about bloated runtimes and how many blockbusters have acquired a three-hour span just to testify to their own grandeur and epic qualities. He runs through some of history’s great butt (or in England, "bum") numbing flicks, and we have to appreciate this bit about Erich Von Stroheim‘s 540 minutes 1925 silent film "Greed":

Anything we could have lived without? What a tactless question. When his masterpiece was hacked down to two hours by the studio, Von Stroheim first wept and then punched mogul Louis B Mayer. Most of the remaining seven hours of film was destroyed, but the bastardised two-hour version was still hailed as a masterpiece. A four-hour version was cobbled together later, but it wasn’t the same.

Film Threat‘s Phil Hall compiles the "Top 10 Unfinished Films of All Time" (and there’s that "The Day the Clown Cried" at number 9), while the Onion AV Club offers up their list of "Classic Movies It’s Okay To Hate": we vaguely feel that we’ve seen both of these lists in some form before, but the AV Club offers an interesting turn of allowing another staff member to rebut each choice.

We might be somewhat obsessed with "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" (though we haven’t actually managed to see it or anything) — at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Kimberly Chun‘s nice catch:

[T]he absolutely weirdest quirk that Lin brings to "Tokyo Drift" is the fact that he has "Better Luck Tomorrow"‘s Sung Kang reprise his role as the honorable teen grifter, Han, in the film. "Tokyo is my Mexico," Han says mysteriously at one point, referring to the Wild West gunfighters who’d run for the border. Han’s character bleed, it’s implied, might be attributed to a flight from "Better Luck"’s black market of cheat sheets. It’s fitting then that Kang strides into his initial frames of "Tokyo Drift" like Sergio Leone‘s Man With No Name or Seijun Suzuki‘s Tokyo Drifter. As if we’re supposed to know who he is. I loved "Better Luck," but I still didn’t get it till I checked Internet Movie Database. If only Han had a classier vehicle, one that wasn’t built for a quick buck.

At LA Weekly, John Payne and Caroline Ryder talk "Wassup Rockers" with Larry Clark and Jonathan, Kico and Milton (a.k.a. Spermball), the South-Central Latino skaters Clark found to play South-Central Latino skaters in the movie.

"Wassup Rockers" is a "quintessential" L.A. story, as they say, and possibly of more interest now with the success of "Crash," which deals with some of these issues in much cornier and less true ways.

At the Japan Times, Mark Schilling interviews Ryuichi Hiroki, who got his start in softcore "pink" films before breaking into the mainstream (2003’s "Vibrator" made the international festival rounds, but never found a US distributor). Schilling also reviews (and likes) Hiroki’s new film, "It’s Only Talk," here — the film, about a depressive blogger (oy) screens at the New York Asian Film Festival on Saturday.

+ Battling the Copyright Monster (Wired News)
+ Are you sitting comfortably? (Guardian)
+ The Eject Button: Classic Movies It’s Okay To Hate (Onion AV Club)
+ TOKYO DRIFT-ER (SF Bay Guardian)
+ Pretty Punk (LA Weekly)
+ Having a laugh with Ryuichi Hiroki (Japan Times)
+ Desperately seeking solace (Japan Times)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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