We've been promising joints for "The Wild Ride" and "The Violent Years" since October -- and for very good reason. October's when we recorded them. But you'll notice that they haven't been released yet. There's a tale behind that -- a tale of intellectual property. I know, an exciting topic.
Skulls and statues and boobs - oh, my!
Meet Alpha Video
. You might have met them already without knowing it. If you've ever bought a $5 DVD of an old b-movie with wildly-colored cover art, then that was probably Alpha.
Like many purveyors of the public domain, Alpha faced a problem. If you put out a clear, brilliant copy of a public domain film on DVD, you're pretty much inviting every fly-by-night distributor to use your DVD as a master for their own products.
After all, the movie is
in the public domain, and DVDs are pretty much pristine digital copies just waiting to be duplicated. All it takes is some ripping software, graphics software to make your own DVD label, and a few $5 DVDs to start your own lucrative movie distribution company.
Alpha Video gets around this easily. They don't sell public domain movies
. Instead, they sell "special editions." These special editions feature new sound effects, sometimes new music, and have often been edited to put scenes into a different order than they were before. All of this allows Alpha Video to copyright the movie as a new production.
Which is all in their legal rights, and helps protect their DVDs from becoming another company's cheap master. In essence, they're doing what the Kids on the Street do when they use a public domain film, as well -- they're making a derivative work.
This is Jack's "Serious" face.
Which brings us to "The Wild Ride" and "The Violent Years." Back in October, the Kids on the Street got together and decided to riff on these two classic juvenile delinquent films. We obtained an inexpensive master from a public domain distributor, Glen got to work on the script, and it wasn't long before we were recording.
It was in clean-up on "The Wild Ride" that Elizabeth noticed something - in the middle of a dialogue scene, for apparently no reason at all, there was the sound of a dog barking.
Glen recognized it immediately from recording his riff of "Time Out for Ginger." The bark makes an appearance in quite a few Alpha Video special editions.
A quick check revealed that yes, in fact, Alpha Video did have a special edition of "The Wild Ride," it did have a valid copyright, and the distributor they had gotten the master from had copied that same version of the movie, merely cutting the movie right before Alpha Video's copyright notice showed up at the end of the credits. Not only that, but the same thing was true of their master for "The Violent Years."
It always pays to do your due diligence, kiddies.
Both movies were postponed until we could track down a copy of the movies coming from a reputable dealer. We found such a dealer (Festival Films
FTW), got our masters, and now we're working on getting them ready for sale. There's just one more issue.
As we mentioned before, Alpha Video re-edits the movies they release. This means that our recording is all out of order for the clean copy we've obtained.
So Glen is at work, shifting back and forth between a scratch copy of our original riff and the editing files for a brand new edit. It's a longer process than usual, but we're sure that both will see release before the new year.