Old movies in Public Domain

06Jun10

I am personally fond of exploring and discovering rarely publicised artwork including pictures, audio and video mainly that are open or public domain licensed via few major sites like jamendo.com, archive.org, mininova.org, clearbits.net, etc.

Here I want to specifically talk about really old movies. Why?

  1. To explain how public domain is a wonderful thing
  2. To explain how really old movies are a wonderful thing

A content is published in the “Public Domain”, when no person(s) in particular hold rights on its usage, distribution or derivative works. Usually two kinds of ‘content’ go under Public Domain. Government data and artwork, the copyright of which has expired. There are exceptions, but in the case of artwork, copyrights usually take long time to expire and if someone buys the rights before expiration then the duration gets extended for many more years. Public Domain is a wonderful thing as it gives

  1. Citizens access to government collected statistics and archives.
  2. Any person in the world access to historical art content or sometimes even modern documentaries that benefit from the free-to-distribute-no-questions-asked nature of public domain.

When talking about really old movies I have specifically come across English movies made in hollywood. The first place to check out movies in the public domain are Public Domain Torrents . I won’t go into reviewing specific movies but in general, its awesome to

  1. See ancient instruments in action like a really old camera system they used with black cloth. A Penny Farthing bicycle.
  2. See the least bit of special effects. Not even dhishoom sounds from fist fights…just one punch n whoa…there he goes!
  3. Experience the dialogues and hairstyles that’d be so cliched in this day and age felt so natural then
  4. Have the short and bearable duration of the movies

Technology like digital video codecs have ensured that our generation can see and experience public domain movies of a platinum jubilee years ago on our desktops, laptops and portable media players. Since I was experimenting with the idea of watching these old movies. I used to download the really small iPod versions and watch them in 100% size (no full screen) on top of a fullpage view of blackle.com on SMPlayer. Given that i got a 0.2mbps line I download about 3 movies of 200mb each overnight.

Have you discovered anything interesting in the public domain? Check out http://archive.org for an exhaustive list of art’s history and even some modern open licensed works.

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