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Posted by Patricia Zimmermann at 10:15AM   |  112 comments
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Post written by Ann Michel and Phil Wilde, principals, Insights International, Ithaca/New York City

 In 1988, we made a film about kids growing up poor in rural New York State. This period was before the internet and perhaps many of our readers were born. 

The kids who were willing to be in the film, with the parents of those kids agreeing, did so out of a sense of wanting to share their stories with us as filmmakers they trusted. We explained to them that this film would be shown to social workers and people in the business of helping kids throughout NY State. 

The film was used extensively as a way to introduce professionals to the world as these kids saw it, so these professionals could better serve them. 

Only kids are seen and heard in the film – the presence of the adults is felt but not shown.  We used only the first names of the kids, and did not identify the places they lived. When the kids and their families gave us permission and access to their lives, we all had a sense of the extent to which this film would be seen and used. 


Now the question arises, should we upload this film online? 


We all know what happens the moment something is posted. It can be watched and used (if it is good) by people worldwide.  It can be sliced into bits, re-mixed and re-used. It can be quoted and misquoted. We will have no idea about where and how it will be watched and used. 


Is this online environment fair?


Is this reuse a violation of the privacy of the participants? 

At the time the people in the film agreed to participate, this sort of thing was not technically possible. Now it is.

What are the ethics of uploading documentary films shot when the internet did not exist?







Looking at what footage is online currently, most of it was filmed before the internet existed. Is this ethical? Because this is such a subjective topic, I personally believe that if consent was given for the film to be shown, the film should be allowed to go online. Even though the word "public" has changed dramatically since the rise of the internet, those involved did already agree to public viewing. Also, I think that integrity is a vital aspect in ethics, and because this project has good intentions behind showing this film on the internet, I think it should be. It could raise even more awareness now that we have the internet, and since that was their mission when they started out, the filmmakers should continue on and broadcast their film to a larger audience through the use of the internet.

I don't think there is anything wrong with posting something like this on the internet. Especially if permission was given in the first place. The only reason permission would have been taken away is if the parents disliked the film and wanted their children removed from it. And I bet that the children who are in this documentary (now adults) would enjoy getting to see this again. The internet is the easiest way for them to see it too. It's true that the internet can be unsafe and a tad bit dangerous but it's not like any harm could come to posting up something that can raise awareness.

There is no question that all steps were taken to keep the participants' privacy at high priority. Consent was given in all aspects of filming, so privacy is not the major issue. The problem more likely would lie in the unfairness and unpredictability the internet has gained as its reputation. People may butcher a wonderful work of art with amateur comments and unintelligent observations, immediately following the video above. The internet is a good venue for entertainment videos, but it is no place for a film with deep moral value.

I think that it would not be a good idea to post something like that on the internet, especially since at the time it was made the opportunity for thousands of people to have access to it wasn't even possible. If I were in that documentary, I would not consent to having it put online. On the other hand, it could be beneficial to post on the internet so that other people become aware of what's going on.

While I believe that this documentary would be very beneficial for many people to see I do not believe it should be uploaded unless the subjects give their consent. While it may be an inconvenience to track down the individuals involved in the film I feel that their consent is crucial to ethically releasing the film online. These people may very well have a problem with a snap shot of their childhood being available to anyone online. True, they did give you permission to present the film to social workers and those who help children, but presenting the film online makes it available to the entire world. People could view the film and comment on it. They could say things that could be potentially hurtful or rude towards the films subjects. What if the friends, family, or coworkers of the film's subjects recognize them in the video online? These scenarios could lead to distressing situations in the subject's life. Releasing the film to an audience completely different than what the subjects were initially told it would be is definitely a violation of their privacy.

I agree with the other comments on this blog post. I believe that since consent was given for the film by all the parents involved, that the film should not be kept off the internet for privacy reasons. While the parents did not know about the internet at the time, they knew that the film was going to reach others and that it would be exhibited. However, the tendency with the internet is to release too much information. In the information age, people are too used to having information at the click of a button, and they don't realize how huge that is. Just decades ago, it might have taken hours of searching to find the small piece of information you want. Today, its a google search away.

To protect the kids privacy (who are now, unless something happened to them, are full grown adults), it would have to be assured that too much information is not given away about the production of film. While even a small bit of information would seem small, it could be the only piece needed to find even more information on the internet about the kids.

First and foremost the online environment is not fair, but it is fair game. That is to say, while what people do to online material and how they manipulate it to their advantage may not be fair, because someone has posted that material online it is fair game. It is available to anyone and everyone who wishes to use it-- however they wish to use it. Certainly there are copyright laws that should protect materials, clearly users of the internet have found a way around that.

On a similar note, this reuse isn't a violation of the privacy of the participants. They gave up their privacy (to a certain extent) to make the film. If the same footage that was disturbed before the internet is distributed on the internet there is no reason it should cause feelings of violation. There is always the option of finding the children (who are now adults) and asking them for consent. However, it is ultimately the call of the filmmaker because that material is in their possession and they can do with it what they wish.

While it is possible for someone to slice and dice a film that has been uploaded online, the ethics involved with uploading it are really no different from making the film and exhibiting it in the first place. More people have access to the footage, but that may not necessarily be a negative. Although it took place a little over two decades ago, the situations of the children and the information presented in the documentary may not be very different from people living in poverty now; it could provide insight to a world that people otherwise may not have experienced. Furthermore, there is no concrete proof that this documentary, if uploaded, would be mutilated. Plenty of people go online, watch videos and movies, and leave the material in its original state.

To put it simply, I feel like posting this documentary on the internet would be the easy way out. This generation is characterized by the rapid growth of technology. The primary way of communication is focusing less on reliable, personal face to face communication and a move towards a streamlined, robotic method of communicating. By exposing this documentary on the internet, one runs into three problems, a lack of privacy and trust, a newfound lack of originality, and now a premature acceptance of awareness.

Firstly, the situation seems quite obvious that that children and even adults involved did not give consent. This was filmed before the dominance of technology. Consequently, when giving consent, both the children and adults were not even considering the implication that this video would be shared worldwide. There is a difference in consent to being filmed and a consent on letting one's neighbors and strangers simultaneously experience the story of one's youth. How does this internet exposure transcend to the subjects in the film? They will lose respect and trust for the filmmaker of the documentary. This is possibly detrimental for the documentary filmmaker's job opportunities because now they have past subjects not upholding their work and a negative reputation could be fostered.

Equally, now appears the problem of a lack of originality. The documentary maker's concept for the film will now be copied and possibly butchered and overused by many fellow internet users. The flow of the film will be destroyed when clips are extracted and possibly used for a lesser purpose, and even could be used to "make fun" and exaggerate the subjects and their actions in the film. Have you ever seen a Youtube parody? How do you think the subject of the parody feels about their newfound popularity through cruel means? Overall, exposing this film on the internet will somewhat give the film lesser integrity, authenticity, and just become another film anyone can view, not an original work that one can come across in an art cinema or film analysis class.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly is the topic of awareness. In the beginning this film's purpose was to be shown to professionals, those that have the merit to help and create change based off viewing the documentary. A reason to put this film on the internet may be for mass awareness. Yet will this awareness really be beneficial? Or is it a way for the filmmaker to stop finding real professional help because of the excuse that the film is available worldwide? Yes, there are many people that can help but one needs to personally contact those people, face to face because, in reality, those who view this film online will just do that, view it and move on.

In the end, it seems as though posting this film on the internet would destroy trust, violate privacy, allow the idea and content to be vulnerable to copying, and designate the focus of awareness to the wrong people. By keeping the film off the internet, more benefits will come over harm.

Personally, i believe that the film should be allowed on the internet. Because the children and parents both gave consent, the film makers should do whatever they desire with the film. I believe that in this situation the pro's out weight the con's. This film may be, "sliced into bits, and misquoted" but people will learn about kids growing up in rural New York. Though the internet, thousands or even millions of people will see this film and realize what rural New York was and still is today.

I see no ethical problems with releasing this film online. The consent for the footage to be shot and shown to complete strangers had already been given by the parents of the children and every step was made to ensure their privacy. Not only that, but the footage was collected over 20 years ago meaning that the chances of someone connecting the dots and locating these people (based on a first name and a general location) is rather low.

Likewise, the potential benefits to society of releasing this film which despite its age is likely still representative of life in rural NY far outweigh these unfounded privacy concerns. The beauty of the internet is that if you release something with a powerful message then it can spread just as fast as any viral video of animals doing ridiculous things. The move to the internet monumentally expands the potential for people to be affected by and moved to help the conditions of people living in poor rural areas. It is much more effective than showing the film to people who are already social workers... that is preaching to the choir, the internet is preaching to the masses.

Uploading this film may very well be unethical, however not unrealistic. The online environment can be very brutal in some cases, but it does not seem that this film had the children saying anything that could really affect them today. Yes, as it is stated, the film can be misquoted, re-mixed, etc. and that is the case with any element posted on the internet. It would not be a violation of privacy to post the film online because permission was given. If it is at all possible, getting permission again would be the ideal thing to do.

Uploading this film is in no way illegal. The parents and children in this case were fully aware of the situation, and if put online, there should be no real issue of invasion of privacy. I feel the choice to post the film online is completely up to the film makers in this case. Personally, I feel putting something on the internet is not a good idea for this film. Although the internet has its advantages of gaining viewers, popularity, etc., it also is highly at risk as stated in the blog entry. Many people find things on the internet now, and, if they like it, they will use it or claim it to be their own. The online environment is not very safe anymore as technology keeps advancing. To show this film rather than posting it on the internet, it would be best to enter into film festivals and other showings of independent films. This is the best way to get their specific name out there, as well as people appreciating and enjoying their film in a safe environment. The film does not belong on the internet in my personal opinion.

As far as the literal interpretation of your contract with the subjects goes, you have every right to publish this on the internet; prior to filming, they gave you permission to use the footage however you wished. Even in a more practical manner, I still think uploading this interesting documentary would by no means be an unethical decision on your part. It is the right, the duty, of every filmmaker to share their creations with as many as possible. The true karmic burden falls on the shoulders of the online community, and how they wish to interpret and use the film. No matter how specifically a film is tailored, a computer-savvy user could easily twist and distort the true meaning of a picture. So the real question is, do you have enough faith in the morals of those that browse the web to allow them to have access to your creation?

Technology has given a new meaning to the word private in the new and up coming decades. The way that original footage can be re-created and given new and different purpose then when it was first shot is a coming reoccuring event on the internet. In the case of the 1988 documenty, a viald question is brought up; if the film can be posted on the internet? The fact that the documentry was created for the viewing of social workers and people in the business of helping kids throughout NY State, it would be unfair to then reuse the footage and show it to the rest of the world, if it was still 1988. The film served its purpose in 1988 and for years to follow, only being shown to those who the children/children's parents had given consent to. Now, being over 20 years after, the film is allowed to be posted for the world's viewing. Even though at the time this sort of technical was impossible it doesn't mean that the growth should be cut short. I also think it would be a good idea if more people could see the film and understand what it was like in history and maybe it would spark interest in other filmmakers or people interested to see if life has improved. The privacy of "these now adults" is less important then the general well being of society just as it was back in 1988.

Technology has clearly changed over the years. Yes, the internet was not yet available for distribution of films, and it is likely no one had predicted that it would be a vehicle of such mass communication and distribution as it is today. As written in the original post: "The kids who were willing to be in the film, with the parents of those kids agreeing, did so out of a sense of wanting to share their stories with us as filmmakers they trusted." If the parents and children wanted to "share their stories," what good is it to only share it with a small fraction of the population ("social workers ad people in the business of helping kids throughout NY State") when these stories could potentially make an impact globally through use of the internet? Though the internet has been been used for harm in countless, unfortunate instances, it is also important to realize how much more beneficial it has been to distributing information to the masses, and allowing people to view films like these, amongst others, to educate themselves about what is going on in other parts of the nation and world. At the time, the parents and children did not specifically give consent to for the film to be shown on the internet, because it did not even exist yet; but, if it had, their desire to share their stories--if they genuinely mean that is what their motive was behind giving the filmmakers consent in the first place--would override any possible fears that the internet would corrupt the film, or put the families involved in jeopardy. We are in a time where virtually all films are accessible online, and people voluntarily put their information on the internet, so at this point it should almost be assumed that this film should be put online. If the film has an important enough message, and has educational value, the right people will see it, and promote it hopefully in the way it is intended to be. There are always going to be people that misquote and manipulate for the worse even if it were not on the internet.

The online environment is fair. Though there is a lot of bad information on the internet, the online environment is just another way to exhibit freedom of speech. Nowadays, the internet is arguably the most common way of exhibiting freedom of speech for the public, because of its accessibility. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people with radical and often hurtful view/opinions; but for as long as there is freedom of speech, the internet will remain fair game.

If the filmmakers are really that concerned about putting the film on the internet, could they get in contact with the people now, and see if it is alright? Obviously is it almost 20 years later, and tracking down these individuals would be quite the feat, but if they are worried about running into an ethical violation of trust with the subjects, then maybe that is the only way the filmmakers can feel okay with themselves about doing this.

A film is made so it can be seen, and it is not unethical to upload it to the internet if that is going to be the best way to distribute it--which at this time probably is. The filmmakers should not deny themselves the opportunity to have their film accessible globally, and the subjects should want to have their stories heard since that is what they said they wanted anyways! The subjects should not have given consent to be shown in the film if they were going to dictate the specific people that want to allow to share the film with. If the subjects wanted to limit the people who saw the film, they should have made that clear before agreeing with the filmmakers. Since the agreement was vague, the filmmakers have the right of way to distribute how they want. At the same time, the filmmakers, out of courtesy, should communicate with the subjects if the film is going online, just to give them a heads up, and take into consideration how it is promoted online.

If at all possible, getting the participants consent again might be ideal. However, I do not see anything unethical about posting the film on the Internet. They gave permission for the filmmakers to display their lives as a way to bring attention to the children growing up in rural New York. Why would they not allow the world to understand how life there is? Also if the film captures the right people's attention, it could be extremely beneficial for the people of rural New York. There could possibly be people who would like to help out such as donate money and lend their services.

Technology is ever growing and expanding, it has become our societies main source of news, entertainment, and general knowledge. It has also become an important tool by which young filmmakers and artists share their work, and the ideas they aim to convey. So why should a film that was meant to inform be kept from societies main source of information? It was said that "The kids who were willing to be in the film, with the parents of those kids agreeing, did so out of a sense of wanting to share their stories with us as filmmakers they trusted." These people were involved in the creation of this film because they wanted to share their stories, with the hope that viewers would benefit from hearing first hand accounts of what it's really like to grow up poor in rural New York. It was stated that: "The film was used extensively as a way to introduce professionals to the world as these kids saw it, so these professionals could better serve them. " Just because it has been twenty two years since the making of this film, and yes times and technologies have changed, it doesn't making the messages within the film irrelevant. Professionals probably can benefit just as much from this film now as they did back in 1988, the only difference now is that it has the ability to reach more people if it is made available on the internet.

I understand the concern with the film being torn apart and misquoted on the internet. People are ruthless sometimes, but it is not known for sure that this will happen. I feel as though the benefits of uploading the film heavily outweigh the possible negatives

Hmm. Difficult question. Really the internet poses the question of privacy universally, and not even just for the transfer of media. Unlike Ben Parker would advise, the internet has great power but very little responsibility. Regardless of simply the privacy of the individuals videotaped, with such websites as YouTube and the portability of cameraphones, anything we do can be recorded and on the web in a matter of minutes without us even knowing it, which has transformed this generation's concept of privacy into a radically different understanding than every generation before us.

Still, it's nice to see that, for now, there is at least some respect towards their privacy, even though I would imagine that under any legal scrutiny you would be fully within your rights to post that anywhere you please.

But I guess to answer these questions I'll just give my opinion that the documentary should be on the internet. The kids made the video to be seen. They expected to be seen and the bigger the audience, the more influence. And as for potential misuse, ideas have been misused since the beginning of time. Darwin's scientific ideas were corrupted into justification for oppression as Social Darwinism. Salinger's masterpiece touches generations of readers, but was also one man's inspiration to murder John Lennon. Whenever anything is published, on the internet or any other medium, there is an inherent trust for it to be used properly. If the documentary can do good and further the purpose to which it was created, and all considerations were made to maintain a comparable degree of privacy then it should be available for everyone.

The film was most likely useful in teaching people about impoverished youth at the time it was made. In fact, it could still be beneficial to today's time period since we face many of the same issues. However, I believe the film would only work in a controlled environment such as a theater or classroom. If the film is put online it could be taken greatly out of context and circulated in the wrong fasion.

While there is a risk that this film could be taken out of context, I think that if the film is well made in handling the situation these children are in, there is no reason why this film shouldn't be put on the internet. Therefore exposing it to all the possibilities that couldn't have existed when the film was made. The internet is one the largest sources for information we have today, and if this film could teach people what it's like, and help them to understand, then I find no problem with putting it online. It shouldn't be kept of the internet just because there is a possibility of someone taking it to mean something differently.

There is no problem uploading this film because consent was already given, unless there is some signed contract with a clause saying it can't be posted online. Now I know that it appears that this seems unfair to those being filmed/put online but that is how the internet is nowadays and nothing can be done to amend this situation. Because this is not the original publishers intent, it is not a privacy violation because nobody will know what will happen at this point. Just because this technology was not possible at the time and now it is you could go to the same people and ask their permission but that will most likely not be possible so even though the situation is terrible for those being recorded, there is nothing that can help them. So to answer the question there should be nothing legally wrong with posting this online, although there may be moral issues with this that is up to who is going to post the film.

There is no problem uploading this film because consent was already given, unless there is some signed contract with a clause saying it can't be posted online. Now I know that it appears that this seems unfair to those being filmed/put online but that is how the internet is nowadays and nothing can be done to amend this situation. Because this is not the original publishers intent, it is not a privacy violation because nobody will know what will happen at this point. Just because this technology was not possible at the time and now it is you could go to the same people and ask their permission but that will most likely not be possible so even though the situation is terrible for those being recorded, there is nothing that can help them. So to answer the question there should be nothing legally wrong with posting this online, although there may be moral issues with this that is up to who is going to post the film.

The internet can be a scary place. Once something is posted it can never be taken off. I strongly advise caution when posting any work. This being said you must way the consequences to uploading. Posting a work like this makes it accessible world wide, and can bring awareness to those who wouldn't otherwise have access to the information provided.

The main purpose of the film was for social workers to look at real footage of rural children. The internet can help make that information more available, its hard to argue that isn't fair when its just an alternative way for viewing data. Since participants in the film gave some consent for their lives to be viewed for others, I don't think this kind of public sharing is a violation of privacy. Who really owns this film are the makers of it, not the subjects.

Today the internet can be a dirty, scary place. However, it can also be resourceful and helpful. The purpose of this video was to show audiences and professionals how to better serve kids in poverty. I think it is important to put the film on to still maintain what you sought out to do. The internet is the world's largest library and it is important to have this story told. This film can maybe influence others. I think that since the parent's gave consent that the movie should be allowed to be posted. I agree with James that it is important to make sure that the children's names and lives are ket private. Copyright laws are important as well.

While there is nothing unethical or illegal about releasing this film into the hands of the internet, I wouldn't find it a fantastic idea to do so. If the main purpose of this film was to educate social workers and other people in the business about rural NY, then there are probably better ways to get it circulating rather than letting it go completely public. The question of whether to upload it is a tough one, because I don't believe that the online environment is always fair, especially with material as personal as this documentary.

Although I would agree with what seems to be the general consensus, that this is not technically a violation of privacy, it still seems a bit presumptuous to assume that the participants would agree to something that wasn't possible before.

Are you thinking of uploading the film simply to expose more people to it? Or is there something that the online community would add to the film's experience?

It is the job of the filmmakers to build an unquestionable trust with the people they are they filming. Without the consent of the children, this documentary should not be allowed to be posted on the Internet. Originally, the film was to be shown to social workers in the NY area which are in the category of private individuals. Now, you wish to show this documentary to the entire world by posting it to the Internet which is public. Without consent, you should without a doubt know not to upload it online.

Also, why would you want to put your original documentary online? Yes it will educate, but your documentary style and ideas could be stolen and copied by people (specifically capitalists and corporate agencies in film to make profit). There are other alternatives to spreading your documentary.

When it comes to privacy, it is a violation. The Internet did not exist back when you filmed, therefore the participants did not consider the footage being shown to the entire world. Filming children at an impoverished state is a very sensitive issue and should be kept private until the children agree.

I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons in this case. Posting this video online would increase the viewership by huge numbers, spread the word, let your video gain exposure. I think the internet is the greatest tool we have to bring something to the world's attention. Yes, people may remix it or do something offensive with it, but all material that is out there feels the same threat. The possibility of being misquoted is just something that goes along with sharing your ideas and your creative product. Even if it wasn't posted online, I'm sure people would still be able to get the footage from a DVD or elsewhere and fool around with it. And yet another thing to think about; sometimes when people create a spoof about something, the original footage gains positive exposure.
This film sounds like a great idea and it should definitely be posted and shared with anyone who wants to see it.

I think that it is fine to put this documentary online because it was made to educate people. By limiting the ways documentary can be used, it means that it is limiting the amount of people it can educate.
I don't think it should matter if the documentary is on video tape versus Youtube as long as it is educating people. There is a fine line between respecting/disrespecting someone's privacy. If the location and people's last names are protected than I think it should be fine.

First of all, it is perfectly within your rights to post the documentary onto the internet.

Second of all, the implication that the free-source nature of the internet inherently degrades the value of your work is preposterous. Just the other day I was watching "The Decline of Western Civilization" on YouTube, and the documentary has yet to lose its power or relevance.

My question to the author of this article is, do you really see your only options as either keeping the documentary off the internet or just letting any idiot have their way with it as they please? Isn't that kind of just reducing the situation to two extremes that don't really reflect accurately how the internet and media sharing works? Nobody said you had to post the documentary on YouTube or Dailymotion. You could just as easily post it on an exclusive website of your own. And even if someone did manage to post the video onto YouTube, doesn't the effort they put into doing that express to a certain extent the continual relevancy of your documentary?

You can not just make a decision based on whether or not a bunch of loud idiots will choose to exploit your work for irrelevant purposes. Nobody was suggesting that all copies of "Horton Hears a Who" should be burned and its film-adaptation be halted just because right-wing nuts were contriving it as having an anti-abortion message.

Yes, posting the film to the internet will be opening the film to much more criticism, but isn't part of the point of documentary cinema to promote argument and foster debate? If you refuse to transfer your film to a constantly evolving medium that is open to more people than ever before, isn't some of that possibly coming from your own insecurities about your work?

The participants in the documentary may have given their consent to be filmed without realizing how much the internet would explode in the next two decades, but refusing to post the film to the internet (if the film is still relevant and important) is kind of like saying that nobody has the right to see it unless they use the antiquated means and media.

I am curious to know why the sudden inclination to put this film online. The ability to upload videos has been around now for considerable time, and so I am wondering what the sudden inspiration was to consider uploading a two-decade old film to the internet now.

The pros of uploading the video would be more wide-range exposure, which since this is an eye-opening film exposing people to the issues kids face growing up in urban areas, would lead to more education about the cause to which the filmmakers set out to bring light.

A con is the potential for public misuse of the film, including doctoring and splicing clips to reveal a work much different than, or even offensive to the original work. However, since this is a relatively serious and dramatic work, re-mixing and re-use may be minimal (however, it is difficult to judge what people will do through the internet, since decent ethics, unfortunately, are not as applicable to an online world). Another con is the potential for the subjects of the film to feel as though their privacy has been violated. The article mentioned that the kids shared their stories with filmmakers that they trusted. Could uploading the film to the internet violate this trust? It's possible, but I think it's unlikely. The subjects (and their parents) originally consented to be in the film and have it exposed. I don't necessarily think that consent will change due to more exposure and ease of access. However, to be safe and to maintain the integrity that the filmmakers originally set out with, I think it is a good idea for the filmmakers to re-contact the subjects (who are now probably old enough to give their own consent), and ask once again for their consent to put it online.

I think that the filmmakers should ask if the kids would feel comfortable with the film online. However it seems to me that the internet might not be the best venue for this movie to be shown. There are a lot of people who don't appreciate deep, and thoughtful works.

Does your documentary hold truth? A documentary should be an exposition of reality. A documentary on the internet therefore has nothing to fear. The greatest fear one could have, one which certainly would lead to inhibition, is that once on the internet at the mercy of anyone with a computer and the desire, it could be mutated and falsehoods could be distilled. But this should not be the concern of confident directors, for if they have captured reality then they must know that whatever is distilled from their exposition must be a truth. There can be no negative consequences for exploiting what is true... unless we deem truth unethical. Do we?

The subject of privacy and ethical decisions is difficult in this situation. The parents of these children gave the consent to have their children in the film which is acceptable because the children were not adults at the time. This does give the company producing the film the right to broadcast it as they see fit. It is acceptable to put this on a public forum like the internet, but it is ethically acceptable? In my opinion, yes.

If the producers of this film are attempting to put this film on an open public forum in which anyone can see it then it is subject to recreation and can take away from the overall purpose of the film. This could jeopardize the privacy of these individuals who had no idea about the internet at the time and did not give consent to have it posted there.

On the contrary posting the film on a forum in which only viewers truly interested in the overall purpose of the film could be beneficial to spreading knowledge to those less informed.

In closing, by posting the film on the internet will raise awareness and popularity overall and I think the positives of posting it outweigh the negatives as previously stated in other comments. The children who were in the movie are clearly adults now and for them to see this on a public forum like the internet might make them feel violated, but they should be able to see the benefit of it and see that overall the message of the film can be broadcasted to a larger audience.

I suppose it's also necessary to question why you'd want to post the video at this point in time. Does the film still hold up in the modern day? Or have there been new studies concerning the state of low income children that will make the documentary obsolete? From what I can gather, the film is pretty unique (leaving adults out of the story completely) and would hold up today.

As for how the film will be used and quoted, this is my biggest concern, especially with a film that offers a twist on the traditional documentary style. Quotes from these kids taken out of context could create a completely different argument. Accurate quoting requires complete understanding of the the source of the quote, which could be easily lost in the vastness of the internet.

I agree with many of the other people who commented in saying that it would be acceptable in terms of participant privacy to post the documentary online, as it has been 22 years since it was made. In the intrest of politeness and courtesy, it would be advisable to make every attempt to contact the film's participants and notify them of each new use.
However, it must be taken into account how the film would be posted if it were to come to that conclusion. Public posting forums such as YouTube can make it easier for the content to be taken out of context, yet it can be a very easy way to give insight into the mindset and perspectives of the children to a multitude of people. It would seem more reasonable to go through a different posting medium that would ensure the film would be used as it was originally intended. A medium that would satisfy this restriction would be the American Psychological Association or any number of educational institutions, thereby ensuring that the content would be taken in a educational sense rather than as a common film with little ethical value.
In terms of the over all ethics of posting a film made pre-Internet to the Internet, I believe it would really depend on the content, privacy terms outlined during filming and how much personal information was revealed in the film. There are plenty of examples of educational based films being released onto the internet with participants who would currently be well into adulthood, yet these, for the most part, contain no personal information on the participants.

This is a very interesting predicament.

This is sort of the "journalist conundrum" where the artist of a certain work either must sacrifice creativity for the safety of his/her subjects.

I believe by exposing this movie to the web, it will be viewed by many eyes and in turn could affect how society fells about the topic. I believe this movie should be on the internet.

Those who would want to tamper with this movie online and manipulate it in a way that degrades the subjects should be blamed for any libel, not the studio or artist. The artist should not feel any guilt because it was another person committing libel. It would be like a shop owner feeling guilty for a woman whose purse gets stolen by another person. It wasn't his fault at all.

Some movies have such a powerful message that it needs to be heard and I believe this film needs to be heard.

As you mentioned in your post, the kids and the parents gave you permission to ask them questions and learn about their personal lives. The participants were fully aware that you were going to be creating a film that was educational and REAL. As long as the film presented their stories correctly (not taking words/stories out of context, for example) and the participants gave you the honest truth about their situation living in rural New York, then there shouldn't be a problem with showing it online. The participants knew that people were going to be viewing the movie and learning about their lives, so does it matter if 100 people see it versus 1,000? Also, these children who made the film over 20 years ago are now adults. They might actually be proud that their personal history can be viewed around the globe!

I believe that when filming a movie one of the most important aspects is the question: “Who is going to see this?” –a question that also underlies in the genre of the movie, as different genres generate different auditory. When filming the movie in 1988, the auditory was clear: social workers and people in the business of helping kids throughout NY state. In the pre-internet era, the control over the auditory could be easily manipulated. However, if that movie was to be posted online nowadays, the control over who sees this is limited, if not impossible sometimes. In my opinion that raises certain issues. For example, when families gave permission to enter their lives, they were informed who was going to be viewing it and what the purpose was. If it was uploaded online today, though, I think that the purpose itself might be lost somewhere along the way. As stated, the movie was used to allow professionals to see the world as the kids did, and thus they would be better suited to help them. However, if a person unaware of the situation saw it, he or she might interpret it in a different way, thus use it for a different purpose, which in my opinion violates the terms that the parents of these kids agreed to.

I agree with Neli, above me. The decision about whether or not to upload the video is dependent upon who you want your audience to be.
The immediate thought that popped into my head after reading this entry is how this work would be received now. Today in age, we are so dependent on technology and the internet, and cinema and television play such an important role in our day-to-day-lives that it would be a sharp contrast. Films are so rarely filmed from the point of view of a child that it would give the audience very thought-envoking point of view about how our lives have become so technologic. It would enable us to see the world through the simplistic eyes of children again rather than our corrupted and complicated visions now via modern day technology.

The online environment is never fair. Once the information is released into the wild west of the webs, just as you mentioned, nobody knows what can happen to it. Now should that stop someone from showing anything online? I don't think so. While some people may re-mix the information for their own liking, other people may benefit from watching it, in one way or the other.

In answering this question of ethics, it is important first to address the motives for uploading this documentary onto the internet. Primarily, the benefits of this action must be predicted and called upon. Some important questions surrounding this might be:
How will the internet boost the success of the original goals in filming the documentary (getting these children the help they need)?
Will the video be posted on a site that ensures it reaches individuals who are genuinely interested in its causes and/or groups that could actually assist those in need?
And finally, are the issues facing the children in this documentary still relatable and important today?
If all of these questions can be answered in a positive manner and the goals of the film can be achieved in a larger way (i.e. acquiring more help and more awareness), the "red tape" surrounding the online environment infringing upon the privacy of the participants should be generally dismissed.

I personally believe that this film should be allowed to be posted on the internet. Although permission to share the film with the public was given by the participants prior to the creation of the internet, permission was still given. Whether or not we all want to accept it we are currently living in a digital world. If a person wants to gain attention and garner immediate praise for their work, the internet is the place to go. In response to the question whether the internet is fair or not; of course it isn't. Yet there is so much in this world that isn't fair but we must find a way to work within the constraints society has created. Further if the creator of this piece wants to reach a wide variety and a great amount of people the internet is the main solution.

I personally believe that this film should be allowed to be posted on the internet. Although permission to share the film with the public was given by the participants prior to the creation of the internet, permission was still given. Whether or not we all want to accept it we are currently living in a digital world. If a person wants to gain attention and garner immediate praise for their work, the internet is the place to go. In response to the question whether the internet is fair or not; of course it isn't. Yet there is so much in this world that isn't fair but we must find a way to work within the constraints society has created. Further if the creator of this piece wants to reach a wide variety and a great amount of people the internet is the main solution.

There is no problem with posting this on the internet. Since consent was given by the involved persons, there shouldn't be a problem. Of course the internet has a lot of problems dealing with immature comments and unsupportive people, if it is posted on an appropriate site those problems will be diminished. I would exercise caution in posting it, but do not see a problem overall.

Personally, I feel that unless consent was received by all parties involved it would be unethical to post this documentary in a public fashion, say on youtube or vimeo. However, since the subjects consented to the film's use for social education purposes, it would be appropriate for the video to be posted on an online educational site. With the advances of technology, one should assume that the modern social worker would find this video more accessible online, and given the current technological state one should take full advantage of all opportunities while staying in line with all ethical standards.

A lot of people have made some solid points on this issue. My question to Ann Michel and Phil Wilde is Do you personally think the family is going to mind the exploitation of their lives now after all those years? They were made aware that the film was going to be made public, and I think that if it were put on the web then the film would only be exploited in a new form of online media.

Really in this specific case it comes down to an issue of legality. Assuming the families participating signed a consent form we would have to turn to that legally binding document and go over its wording. But that gets into the territory of law, something i am not prepared to argue on.
As a moral issue it would seem fine. The families consented to have their children viewed by others through out the nation and where ever else the film was shown. if this film was ever distributed on VHS it makes the case for putting it on the internet even more strong as VHS, in its own time, was the largest source for view film.
It is possible that the children in the film could still be contacted and asked for their consent again if necessary but as i see it they already signed away the rights to images taken of them.
Dr.Zimmerman said the films purpose was to "The film was used extensively as a way to introduce professionals to the world as these kids saw it, so these professionals could better serve them". putting the film on the internet would only increase the effectiveness of this and could even increase interest in youth living below the poverty line and help bring them more aid.
Dr. Zimmerman also raised the point that once the film is online "tt can be sliced into bits, re-mixed and re-used. It can be quoted and misquoted. We will have no idea about where and how it will be watched and used". What was once a collection of indepth stories about struggling youth could now become the next great internet meme with a few cuts and a new sound track. but that is the price everyone must pay when utilizing the internet as a means to display their art. Is this even a bad thing? it could still increase interest in the plight of youth.

"Is this online environment fair?"
well yes and no, you are able to spread your work freely amongst the entire population of the planet but once it is out there you lose all control over what it will be used for. Its a trade off

"Is this reuse a violation of the privacy of the participants? "
No it is not. The privacy of the participants has already been violated (in a polite and agreeable manner) it cannot be anymore violated. anyone reusing footage from the film can only use what is already there nothing more. The could replay an embarrassing moment for one of the participants over and over as part of a Gif, but anyone can still view that clip as part of the movie as well.

my last point is that in all honesty the chances of this movie being reused in an entirely inappropriate way is highly unlikely, in fact its unlikely that this would be reused in any way. there is so much film footage, professional and amateur alike, on the web that videos being reused over and over again are usually only highly popular videos. I mean this not as an insult to the film not being good but as a statement on what most people want to see on the internet in these times

It is obvious based on what you said that privacy was one of your highest priorities while shooting this and therefore, no matter who sees this, the privacy that existed originally will not change. Also, the children in the film are now much older and probably don't live in the same place (which was not even disclosed in the first place). Keeping this in mind, I believe that this could be put on the internet. I'm sure someone will do something with this video that it was not intended for, but that happens to almost anything on the internet (feature films and music are downloaded illegally for example) and therefore should not keep you from uploading this video. Once it can be viewed by everyone, maybe something good will happen as a result such as raised awareness.

If, as a filmmaker, you made this film with the intention that it reach social workers to help poor children in New York state I believe that you should post this video online. However, I do not think it would be beneficial to post it on Youtube or any blog websites where it could be easily manipulated or stolen. I would recommend going to a news website like CNN, NY Times, or local online newspapers. This way the video could get circulated to through the population without the integrity of it being compromised. When you release the video it would be under your own jurisdiction how the media can present the issue. I don't believe this would violate the rights of the participants. It could only serve to help your cause.

I think that uploading documentary films shot before the Internet is, at least in this case, ethically sound. The participants of this documentary and their parents did give their permission to be filmed, knowing fully well that the film would be viewed by many other people. Even though they could not have anticipated the arrival of the Internet nor its ability to reach a global audience, they knew that this film would be shown to many different audiences and for years to come. The uploading of the film to the Internet is merely an extension of their original agreement. If it were uploaded to the Internet, this documentary would become available to thousands of people who would never be able to access or benefit from it otherwise. Also, it seems like the privacy of the children and families in the film was very well-protected; it is unlikely for anyone to be recognized except by a personal acquaintance.

In the end, I think that the benefits of uploading this documentary outweigh any ethical concerns regarding the privacy of the children (now adults) and families depicted in the film.

Technology has advanced drastically in the past 10-15 years. Nowadays, almost anything filmed can be found online because majority of people post their work online for more exposure. In this circumstance, even though the film was made before the cyber generation, the filmmakers should still be allowed to post their film online if desired. I do not think it is in violation of any privacy laws because the people consented to be in the film in the first place. Even if it were posted, because of the major difference in time, no one would ever be able to recognize the kids in the film to what they look like now. If the participants were willing, then shouldn't it be up to the filmmaker to decide whether or not they want their work published online? Especially because this documentary was made to spread awareness, if it were to be released on the internet than it would have a better chance of creating a bigger impact than it would if it were limited to certain viewers.

There are a lot of ethical problems concerning the Internet. The sharing of photos, films, and other types of media can be argued to be both ethical and unethical depending on who is debating the issue. As a viewer, I would find this documentary very interesting. Many people view New York as entirely being a city like Manhattan, but that is not the case at all. A documentary such as this would show a different side to New York that people may not know about. On the other hand, being involved in distributing the film is another issue. Perhaps one could obtain permission from the people involved if that is possible. If it is not, then even though they agreed to have the documentary made before the Internet, they still agreed to let it be shown, and showing it over the Internet in some ways is not that different from showing it in, say, a theater. Most people just put anything on the Internet without questioning themselves or others, so the fact that this is even being brought up as a question of ethics is very interesting.

I believe that as a citizen in the era of cyberspace, he or she should have the ability to upload to a medium that has proved itself to be a crucial tool of communication across the world. I see where the privacy issue arises when concerning the film's ligitmacy against a world where anything can be retooled to even a insulting or embarrasing extreme, but that shouldn't stop one from utilizing a valuable tool. Permission should be obtained, but personally I believe if ambiguity is consistent as to not point out names, the film would remain a powerful raw exposure.

From what the message of the film is intended to convey, I feel that the film should be posted online. The online environment is not fair but it is one of the best ways of distributing information. By putting the film online it has the potential of making millions of people understand what these children went through. As far as the question of privacy goes, I feel like the participants whom were involved in making of the film should be consulted if possible and the film should be posted to a secure site where tit would make it difficult for the images to be taken and reused.

The online environment may be a scary place, but the kids are no where near to be cyber bullied or track down by an internet predator. If the parent sign a consent, there is nothing wrong with putting up the film. There are no private or personal information given out. There is nothing wrong with a stranger knowing a random child's favorite color or favorite activity to do outdoors. A documentary is there to document.

As for the copyright, people should be able to share their works with others. Those other people should be able to share it with other people. That is the point of a documentary--to inform. Of course there should always be permission before use and just a quick citation of the source. It is plain and simple.

This is a tricky debate. While the intellectual property legally belongs to the filmmaker, it's not them being broadcast to the entire world. They should have respect for the cast, and what the people in the film want. Sure, they were only kids with first names in the film but that is hardly a reason why the film should be online. It is only a rationalization for why it's not so bad. It's not impossible to recognize someone from when they were a kid. What if you're rightfully embarassed by your younger self? We all know the vast possible humiliation that the internet can provide, even from the simplest picture. Not to mention the internet was not even a possibility back then. None of these people had even the faintest idea what the internet could do. Putting it online without notifying them is wrong.

Personally, despite the unfair world of the Internet, I think the film should be put online. The topic of the film is extremely intriguing, and likely one of the only existing true portrayals of life as a poor kid in New York. The matter of privacy is a difficult obstacle. Obviously, without the Internet around, the subjects of the film didn’t worry about being exploited. However, considering how much time has passed since the film was made, the subjects are much older, and have likely been able to escape their childhood environment. They no longer look the same as they did in the film and their last names are not given- their identity is basically be concealed. Also, if the subjects accepted strangers watching the film at the time of its creation, I don’t see why it would be different now.

I find the posed question about the ethics of uploading a documentary film when the Internet did not exist particularly interesting. This concept makes me want to view the film even more. Although the idea of combining a film made many years go with such a futuristic medium likely feels “wrong” to do as the creator, it is also a really amazing opportunity for them. Their hard work and creative abilities can be showcased and further their reputation as filmmakers. Also, the viewers will benefit and be captivated by seeing a documentary that is close but just far away enough from the world of today as opposed to the more modern documentary uploads we come across on the internet now.

We learn about film by its history. Learning about a movement such as the French New Wave aids people like myself, born much after the time of the movement, to understand cinema as we know it today. While in school now we become very fluent with past cinema movements, very little or no emphasis is made on the history of the documentary film. By putting the film online, the creator would be giving the past to the future and in turn opening doors and the minds for filmmakers born in the age of the Internet

The questions that arise from this issue are interesting ones. Indeed, in today's day and age, media which is posted online can be viewed by essentially anyone who has access to the internet. Another interesting question that I think this dilemma raises is how our viewing of films has been affected by the ever increasing popularity of internet as a medium of publication and screening. Because so many websites such as YouTube and Netflix offer the ability to watch movies from the comfort of your own home, we find that going to the theater to see a movie is now an event; people are reluctant to leave their home, and they find that it is simply more convenient to watch movies through these mediums. In the past, movie-going was often a regular outing, with people relishing the change of scenery. Does this change in how we view movies have to do with a shift of the general nature of people, or simply that we have a fascination with the new technology and the convenience it offers?

Like most others who commented on this blog, I also think that this should be put on the internet. As long as the filmmakers got permission before shooting the film (and they did) there is no legal issue. Just because the film was shot before the internet, it was not before all media and a time before media was reproduced and shown to others. Photographs and film are obviously capturing a moment in time, and people, no matter what decade, know that there is a chance of people seeing them in the future. And especially considering the subject matter, this is an important piece of film; one in which the subjects are not being distorted or used i nan unethical way.
The online environment can be a scary place, but it still operates within people's freedom of speech. The usefulness of the internet to spread your ideas and gather information heavily outweighs the questions of fairness it raises, in my opinion.

The film should definitely be posted online. In retrospect, the film was created to spread a message and to ultimately give insight to the professionals as to help the children. By posting this online, professionals worldwide could learn from the film and use the information to help better their own professional situations. Rather than localizing the film, it becomes global once it's on the internet. Of course, the privacy rights of the children is certainly a factor but one must consider the fact that when they agreed to be filmed, they knew what they were getting into. I think the ethics remain the same, regardless of which medium was used to record the story.

I think this film should most certainly be put online. Part of the beauty of the internet is that it allows for films to gain exposure that have not had the chance too. If the film was created to spread a message, why not use a global medium to spread it even further.

In response to what Caitlin said in her post on September 29th, I see where your coming from concerning the fact that the film was created before the creation of such a large medium. The film was not intended to be seen by such a large audience and the fact that it could be spliced up and edited could take the films original meaning out of context. Youtube and other social mediums have made it easier for filmmakers to reach audiences, but at the same time, it means the film may also reach unintended audiences.

Though this film sends out a moving and inspirational message, I do not think it would be a good idea to post this video on the internet. When the participants agreed to the privacy policy, videos on the internet did not travel as fast as they do today. Though they might have given consent to an online posting, this consent was given long before YouTube became so popular. The internet is unfair in this way. It is better for videos that are used for entertainment purposes, rather than those that send a valuable message. I feel it would be more appropriate for the filmmakers to release a documentary of this footage, after showing it to the social workers.

When they agreed, they agreed before the internet was around, and they were told who this film was being shown to. If it was put on the internet, it would be shown to more people of numerous jobs/intentions. Putting it on the internet without rechecking with them would be mostly wrong, in my eyes.

People often think only negative things about videos being posted on the internet, but often times the internet can have a great effect on the world. If this film were put on the internet, people would become aware of the subject matter. They would become informed, and therefore capable of doing something about the situation, hopefully changing children's lives who really need their help. I honestly do not think that it is morally wrong to upload this video. The people in the film most likely want this situation to be known about. They probably want people to see this film, and then be able to go out and do something about the conditions that they were forced to live in. Hopefully by putting this video on the internet, someone will see it who can make a great change in underprivileged children's lives.The internet simply makes this easier to do.

Since the film was shot only 22 years ago, and the subjects of the film were children, it's highly likely that they are all still alive. If the filmmakers took down their names and contact information, they might be able to find them and ask for their permission. Of course, that raises the question: what if one or more of the people cannot be found? If that happened then I guess, technically, it wouldn't be right to post the video.

It's interesting that now you almost don't even have to ask. I recently did a documentary called 50 People One Question in which I interviewed 50 random people off the street ( I found that most people assumed that the video was going on the internet, so as soon as they agreed to step in front of the camera, it was as if they were giving me their permission. In fact, many asked me, "when this goes on the internet, where can I find it?"

The internet is one of the most powerful beings in our society. Manipulation threw media especially online has done negative things before so what will stop it now. I believe if the kids in this could now sign off and say it is okay, then great continue to educate, but if they cannot be located it goes against morals and privacy.

I feel that uploading this film will be a good thing for a few reasons. It will show the world how these kids in this underprivileged children and can help people of other classes appreciate the things that they have, and not take anything for granted. It can also show professionals the kinds of conditions that these kids face, and can help them possibly change that and makes things better for them. While I'm sure that there will be people who take this out of context as we see time and time again on youtube, but that just comes with the territory of uploading anything to the internet. But i do feel that it would do these kids an injustice not to share this video with the world.

I believe that if the children “gave permission [to] access their lives” that they would not mind the film being shown on the Internet. You cannot assume that people will deface the work; you must assume that more good will come out of distributing it then bad. I believe that you should put the movie out and let the story of these children be shown.

It's a decision that lies within those who documented these people. Net neutrality allows for the widespread sharing of information. Yes, it can be cut up, manipulated, and manifested in a different eye--but should this halt the availability of the documentary? I believe no, however, the judgment is up the children (who I would assume are grown up now). They have to accept their decisions made years ago and disregard whatever negative outcome that stems from its internet availability.

I don't believe posting this online would be a violation of privacy, but I do think that the filmmakers should warn the participants of the film possible effects of a viral video. The medium allows for things to be shown at various events and in many different contexts, and now the internet is a new avenue to share the stories of these children. I do not believe the online environment is fair, but the public does not have the means to have control over uploaded content. There will always be programs like Mpeg Streamclip or websites where you can download content unintended for personal reproduction. Unless we implemented a new system to protect uploaded content to the extreme, then the possibility of reuse, slicing, and re-mixing stays the same.

The internet is indeed a chaotic place, one where information can be both proliferated and re-purposed, sometimes to ill ends. However, I don't foresee any real issues with uploading such content online. So long as it is a truthful representation of children in New York in 1988, then I believe it will speak for itself.

As far as the privacy of the participants is concerned, I am confused as to why the children's first names were used. Even if it was only their first name, isn't a first name and a face all anyone needs to find a person these days? One quick Facebook search, and I'm sure any one of these people could be found today.

MY feeling is, if you do end up uploading the film, change the names of the children if at all possible, and denote as such in the film if you feel it necessary. That way, at least, their privacy is kept in check.

it seems to me that the internet is not the issue in this insance. The filmmaker chose to use the participants, now it may be a jump but that leads me to believe that other facts about them may have inadvertently slipped through the cracks as well.

I agree with Jonathan. These days first name and a face is all it takes for someone's previously hidden identity to be brought to the surface. If these people who chose to participate in the documentary had any concerns about being publicly linked to the project or generating attention they should have thought twice before appearing on camera. Or as a filmmaker take steps to ensure the privacy of your subjects, or at the very least be upfront with them about their personal lives getting out.

The internet is a volatile environment, or at least it has the potential to be; we all know this. It looks like the privacy of the kids was well-preserved at the time of shooting the film due to the techniques used: of only using their first names and not naming any places where they lived. However, this was before the internet was even invented. Once something is on the internet, it is something tangible, something manipulatable, something that is no longer of physical ownership; it would be floating somewhere in the world wide web for anyone to see. Is it fair? Of course it's fair. If one were to upload something online they should expect that it can be picked apart in any sense of the term.

Once real people become part of a documentary's mise en scene, I believe that after they give permission, the film and all of its entities belong to the filmmaker. Perhaps the times have changed, but if there's a way we can watch films from the 1920's on the internet, I see no problem with watching films from the 1980's on the internet; the choice lies in the filmmaker's hands.

I think that it is perfectly fine to distribute the films online, given that the children gave permission with the goal to have their stories heard and give the public an insight into their lives. I dont think it is right to assume that just because it can be accessed easier in this new online world, that it will be manipulated or misquoted any easier than when it originally was distributed. If need be, the children can be contacted and asked again for permission.

I believe that since the parents signed the consent form when there still was no internet, that the movie should not allowed to be posted online. The parents signed allowing there kids to be filmed and shown to social workers, which is complete different from the entire world viewing it if it is put up on the web, therefore violating the terms.
Also another key aspect of this is the fact that not only does putting the video on the web allow people to see the movie, it allows people to edit it, remix it, and manipulate in. It therefore can be used in other films in which the parents did not sign consent forms for and may cause humiliation to the children who participated in the movie depending on what people will do with the movie. The movie will be looked as found footage to others and therefore can be widely used in any films without the parents or children knowing.

Because internet exposure was not included in the original waver release form, I feel that it is not appropriate for this film to be put online. This film is almost twenty years old now, and those children are now adults. Their lives could be dramatically different, or very much the same. Before considering giving this documentary internet exposure, I think the necessary action first would to be to recontact the films subjects and have them sign a new waiver form. If the refuse, their parts must be cut, or the film not uploaded at all.

I believe that the footage should be used on the internet. Parents agreed that the film can be educational. What is the difference between the social worker and us? We all live in the same world and we all need to see what is wrong in the world and understand it before we can make it right. I do believe that privacy would be invaded but in American society, we break this right all the time. One example would be our view to our celebrities. Celebrities are constantly watched and followed. Photos and stories that they do not want shared are shown to the public all the time. After all, what can you do when that footage is released? Once the footage is on the web, it will stay there no matter how you try to block it.

I don’t think that this would be a violation of privacy. If you’re worried that someone may see and chop up your work well then that should be expected of a filmmaker. I’m guessing this was not just made on a whim people were meant to see this and take something away from that. There will never be a time when everyone sees your film the same way that you do, so if you’re worrying about someone doing a 180, well that is just called life. Everyone is different but that should not stop you from hoping that the majority of people will see the good in this film.

I don't think it would be bad to upload this video online. Although the families never gave consent to show it necessarily online, they did give permission to have the film be used a means of public use. Much like everyone else I think that the issue lies with how the video will be used online. Because everything on the internet is open ended there really is no way to regulate how the video is going to be used. But this is the downfall of the internet.

Of course, there is no clear answer to this, and there never will be. The internet brings about endless possibilities, whether positive or negative. If it were up to me, however, I would upload the video on the internet. Many people have gotten famous and have spread their messages solely through the internet. If one of the people who starred in the video had a problem and personally contacted me about the video being online, I would worry about it then. It's time to use the internet as a tool, especially in this day and age! Remember, the documentary was produced to convey a positive message, so why not try to spread it as much as you can?

First, I would ask yourself why you are posting this online. The children have already grown up and twenty years time certainly changes the conditions of a neighborhood so who is to say that the areas depicted are still poverty stricken. The film would almost be a lie because that world no longer exists.
Second, if you were to upload it I think the right thing to do would be to contact the subjects and ask from their consent.
Thirdly, the internet is certainly not a fair place. The anonymity and lack of real human connection seems to unveil the ugly side of humanity. For some reason people believe any sort of moral code or integrity does not need to be upheld on the internet.
So, I would advise against uploading this documentary because it would be twenty years too late. Making another film about current issues however is certainly encouraged because there is no denying the internet's ability to reach the masses. And it would definitely reach out to people who want to help improve the poor living conditions of rural New York.

To Brian Chick, Two things stand out in your post. First, poverty has not gone away in twenty years, not in upstate New York, where it has certainly persisted in the places that we filmed in 1989. The challenges children face are enormous, And they're still just like the conditions we depicted.
The film holds up.
Secondly, your description of the immoral battleground caused by anonymity on the internet reminds me exactly of what I experience driving in my car. In a car we often treat each other abominably because we are protected by a perceived lack of moral responsibility. Until you give the one fingered salute to your boss, that is. Thanks for the post.

I don't know if this film should necessarily be put online but it does seem like a great documentary film to show the public. With putting anything online your never quite sure what can happen to it.

If you worried about keeping these people's privacy, I agree with keeping the documentary off the internet. You never know what people can do. However, if there was a way to post it online while insuring the privacy and integrity of the film to be perserved. I would say go for it. I believe people should watch the film to open their eyes about poverty,

This is a great point to bring up. This documentary, as well as other documentaries from the time and earlier times, is probably much more real than many of today's modern documentaries. The subjects of pre-internet documentaries probably anticipated a smaller audience, and that is probably what they got. Today, subjects of a documentary are aware that they can be found on television, the internet, DVD's, DVR and Tivo and probably through other methods. They know they will be seen by a much larger audience, and this does affect their behaviors. As for violating the children's privacy, I would say that as time has progressed, changes are made and adjustments have to take place as well. If I make a digital slideshow, am I not allowed to use a picture from 1955? Depending on the picture, I probably am allowed, and more people are going to see it that the people in the picture would have imagined possible at the time. Which leads to an answer to the question of privacy; there is none. Everything is made public now, and people share far too much. So while the online environment is certainly not fair, people put themselves into that situation, and that risk of being overexposed.

This discussion made me think of the new phenomenon of cyber-bullying and a documentary I recently watched called "Winnebago Man." The film follows a filmmaker looking for the subject of an extremely infamous viral video series showing a Winnebago pitchman lose his temper. It is a very interesting documentary showing the products of cyber-bullying (when a person is humiliated over mass exposure on the internet). It brings up interesting points about the ethics of exposing people without consent so I recommend to anyone interested in the topic.

Having not seen the film myself, it is difficult to offer an informed opinion on the topic based on the film’s subject matter. It is important to consider the fact that the film was conceived over 20 years ago and the context of its intent may have changed. This could affect the gravity of the decision of uploading the film. Nonetheless, hosting the film online has its benefits and its drawbacks at the same time. By definition, uploading the film to the Internet would dramatically increase accessibility and spread viewership, which would be a great incentive to publish it in such an open space. The purported message would be made visible to anyone with Internet access and could reach far more people than if merely distributed in physical form. However, the lives of the subjects in the film may have drastically changed by now rendering the application of the film to its original purpose questionable. Exposure to the public may or may not be a gripe with some. Ultimately, the most reasonable course of action would be to contact all the individuals interviewed in the film and have them reevaluate their willingness to share their story with the public.

Anytime we sign a consent form or a parent signs a consent form, it allows the party using the form to do absolutely anything with your image. If you grow up and disagree with a film your parents decided to put you in, then pick a fight with your parents because the deal is done with the film producers. Once a consent form has been signed, the film's staff can do whatever it wants with the film as they have the consent of the used parties. Even though the world is an ever evolving place, we must realize that when we sign that form we are saying that we understand that fact and that the staff can use my image for infinite years to come. Even if i sign a consent form now to have my face smiling in a film, i must understand that 30 years from now my face may be in times square as a holographic 3D projection where every tourist in NYC can see it. Whether I like it or not, I signed a form that said they could do that, and they did.

This seems to be something that can become very tricky. In response to one of your questions, I don't thing the online environment is "fair," but nothing in life ever is. I don't see why this film shouldn't be uploaded if the goal was to reach out to others, especially considering the film has been used extensively. However, I do think it's a good point that the people featured in this film could have had no idea about the future capacity of the internet. In this case, I believe the best option would be to contact those individuals in the film and ask them if they would mind having the film uploaded. If some say no or if some cannot be contacted maybe clips of the film featuring those who approve of the upload could. However, at the same time, I bet that many actors and actresses currently and in the past don't feel very strongly about online streaming of their film on sites like Netflix, but it continues regardless.

I had read a later post that refereed to this and misunderstood the context of it. I now see why this is a tricky issue. Legally if you own the rights to the film you can put it online, as the people in the film have already given you their consent to use their footage. However morally I think it would be important to talk to the people within the movie, or at least not provide any real names. I know that my mother has a few videos of me as a little kid that would embarass me if they were made public, and it's interesting now that similar videos are now being broadcasted to anyone who has the desire to watch them. About movies being remixed I as an artist think this is a great aspect of our media culture. Viewer can become artist and then if they are good enough even become a star. Sometimes I think the internet is scary because anyone can say whatever they want on it, but then I remember that it's the same way in real life. And just like in real life it's important to not take things too seriously.

Legally you seem to be pretty much in the clear but as far as ethics goes you should contact them and at least ask if you can have their permission. Its unlikely that anyone will say no, plus you did assure their parents that it would only be shown to a certain demographic of people.

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Nice post


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