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Yojimbo Stills

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    MVes

    Hi, gang.

    I’m currently completing an MFA in poetry. As an admirer of Kurosawa, I’ve been experimenting with still images from Yojimbo. It began as an exercise, playing with the concept of translation and subtitle. I didn’t think it would become much of anything, aware of my inability to publish it (copyright), but the response to the series has surprised me.

    So, I thought I’d take a shot and ask about your experiences with Kurosawa Productions, the assumed copyright holder.

    I imagine it would be impossible for me to utilize these shots, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask. If my question makes you throw your head back and laugh, please excuse my naivete.

    Any help would be really appreciated.

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    Jeremy

    I’m not sure anyone here has the full knowledge regarding the rights, perhaps Vili the site’s owner may know something I’m forgetting.

    Recently a lot of things have change hands, but I can tell you Kurosawa Productions has virtually nothing to do with Akira Kurosawa stuff anymore. To my knowledge the rights were sold off to a Japanese firm DEX by Kurosawa’s son, to whom DEX has giving control of these rights to the Japanese firm Total Promotions- for promotions and AK100.

    I can not speak on any solid knowledge, but something tells me the rights as we get closer to 2010 will be near impossible to get, without becoming a feature/member of the AK100. Trying to contact anyone with some importance in AK100 would be quite a challenge, and would no doubt have to been done in Japanese, as the American and European front have limited abilities and usage. Another issue, as you may find out, the entirely of AK100 and the right involved, seem to be quite a mess, with what appears to be no lack of real direction.

    This is the best I can offer, if you have any luck, be sure to report back here.

    The comments in the below post, I believe contain everything this site knows about anything regarding the rights.

    AK100 has a website

    http://akirakurosawa.info/forums/topic/lobbying-for-a-100th-anniversary-festival#post-897

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    Vili Maunula

    It’s an interesting question MVes, and the answer probably depends on what you actually mean to do with the screenshots. I think that there is some possibility for fair use in artworks and academic use, but I would still make sure from the actual copyright holders.

    I would think that the rights to screenshots are actually not under Kurosawa Production (note the singular, if you ever search for them), but with the companies that originally released the films. Kurosawa Production was a part of this from The Bad Sleep Well onwards.

    This is all complicated by the recent sale that Jeremy mentions. However, I think that only the rights to the stories were transferred there, and not the copyright of the actual films (since Kurosawa Production probably never had those rights). I am not a lawyer though, so I can’t say for sure.

    I would certainly try to contact Toho and the other companies that Kurosawa worked for. They can probably help. Also, ask the publishing arm of your university (if you have one) or another university, as they probably know how to deal with these kind of things and where to look.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes. It would also be great to see what you are actually doing!

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