Opposing Copyright Extension

Commentary on Copyright Extension

Research Report: The Economics of Term Extension for Motion Pictures
by Douglas Gomery, University of Maryland for
The Committee for Film Preservation and Public Access

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26 November 1993

Research Report:

The Economics of Term Extension
for Motion Pictures


Douglas Gomery
University of Maryland

The Committee for Film Preservation and Public Access

This is a report in the matter of the Docket No. RM 93-8, to the Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry on Duration of Copyright Term of Protection.


This report is written in opposition of the proposed extension of the copyright law for works of hire, proposed to extend it from 75 to 95 years.

This report argues this proposed change is NOT necessary for motion pictures (or audiovisual works as defined in the law).

Moreover, it is not good public policy to revive copyrights for motion pictures already in the public domain.

This action as it is contrary to the purpose of the United States Constitution.

Such an extension would harm users in that, as is demonstrated below, prices would be higher and availability lessened.

And such a proposed extension would severely affect the teaching of the mass media in universities and colleges across this nation.

The United States of America needs to have ready access to its motion picture heritage, not have films from the past placed on shelves, out of sight, which will happen if the proposed extension is made into law.

Basic Economic Arguments

There certainly is no reason to believe that an extended copyright term for works for hire will have any positive value as an incentive to lead to greater distribution of existing works.

Surely creators already have a high protection term with the current 75-year term.

They do not need higher protections.

Required longer terms have not been needed in the past, and if anything the rise of modern computer and video technology leads one not to press for an extension of the term.

The goal ought to be more access, not less, as the United States moves into a world of interactive, 500 channels.

Still the United States Copyright Office is being asked to propose that the United States Congress and the President of the United States extend the copyright term for motion pictures by 20 years, from 75 years to 95 years.

This will have the effect of withholding our motion picture heritage for 20 years, immediately affecting the silent film era which the major United States movie companies (and dominant copyright holders) seem uninterested in marketing.

The proposed 95-year copyright term would thus have important and significant negative implications for the scholarly research and viewing of silent films. This proposed extension would mean that future audiences would not be introduced to silent films, but that these silent classics would by-and-large simply sit in restricted situations as the copyright holders fail to market them, rather than exposing them to audiences and possible new fans, students, and scholars.

Public policy ought to focus upon making older films -- all of silent cinema -- as widely available as possible. These works have been fully exploited by their original makers and now need to be accessed by the general public at large.

Public policy ought to focus on the key trade. That is the copyright law trades limited monopoly power -- which the Hollywood motion picture industry has long enjoyed and exploited -- for the promise that the viewing public (who through its representatives which granted that very legal monopoly) will eventually have full and complete access.

The balance of that trade is proper now, and needs not be changed.

Flawed Assumptions

The support for this proposed term extension is partially based upon two flawed assumptions.

FIRST, it is not true that too short a copyright term harms the author without corresponding benefit to the public. Once a film goes into public domain the public finds that motion picture widely available -- at reasonable and affordable prices.

It is not true that the public pays the same for the works in public domain as it does for copyrighted works. Public domain films are generally cheaper.

SECOND, it is not true that public domain works are less available than copyrighted works. The copyright owner -- granted an exclusive monopoly right -- has an incentive to market the film, but only up to a point. When and if the marginal cost of putting out the work exceeds the expected marginal revenue, the copyright monopolist will not issue the film.

A monopolist will do less in terms of packaging and surely not try to compete in price. With a monopoly copyright little effort is needed. This is predictable, inevitable.

But that marketing requires some level of expected demand. If that demand is not there, it pays the monopoly copyright holder to simply sit on the film and wait for a shift upward in demand.

The public domain company has lower goals. Its demand threshold is lower than the Hollywood major studios. The public domain company can change less. And the public domain company needs to create a better product through packaging, information, and superior tape quality.

Therefore, from a public domain distributor, the viewing public generally pays less.

On the other hand, the Hollywood major studios -- the monopoly holders -- have little incentive to offer value added and less incentive to even issue the product itself. Viewers can only see the film when and if the Hollywood monopoly copyright holder decides it is worth it to put the film out at all. This is predictable in classic monopoly price theory.

Economic theory tells us that the price to the public for popular works should, through competition, decrease to the marginal cost of producing the work if there is no monopoly. If the work is under copyright, the marginal cost of production would include the royalty owing to the copyright owner. Otherwise the price is set to maximize profits to the (monopoly) copyright owner which is far higher than the marginal cost of production.

Sellers of public domain seek a specific market niche which offers far less profit than the Hollywood motion picture industry expects. It takes a far lower threshold of expected profit and so the work is more frequently issued.

This is certainly the case with public domain silent films which the Hollywood film industry has long seen as too small a profit item to even bother with issuing.

It is my experience that issuance by small public domain companies is the only way that certain motion picture works are ever placed out into the marketplace for the viewing public to even try.

But being widely available at affordable prices can also be the case for public domain talkies. Consider that now famous example of Frank Capra's Christmas delight, It's a Wonderful Life. Here is a film which saw its copyright lapse on 6 February 1975 and then experienced an expansion of interest. Before a recent claim of underlying copyright, more than 100 companies vended It's a Wonderful Life on video, and it was widely shown on television, beginning from Thanksgiving through the entire Christmas season.

Indeed, the motion picture, It's A Wonderful Life, has inspired other works including a book based on its screenplay, issued in 1986. At the present time, It's a Wonderful Life, which few had seen until 1974, is widely seen and has become a widely loved classic.

The public is surely far better off and interest in Frank Capra's career, languishing before 1974, took off and he benefitted from the renewed interest in his career, even as his copyright had lapsed.

There is also a significant quality associated with public domain offerings of video tapes not found in the offerings by the major Hollywood companies. Small suppliers can successfully release silent film titles in low volume, in part due to their low overhead, in part because they have to pay no royalties, and in part because they do not seek the quantities and levels of profit sought by the Hollywood major studios.

Most of these small public domain motion picture dealers compete on price as one might expect in any market. But since these public domain dealers offer a motion picture product to a select niche audience, they also seek to compete in terms of quality as well.

For example, Diamond Entertainment Corporation, which sells public domain films, silent and sound, offers original trailers (industry jargon for previews) along with the actual film title, and reproductions of lobby cards and posters. Its advertising heralds that its prints are from 35mm nitrate fine grain masters, not simply copies of bad copies. Indeed, sometimes the tape is made directly from the film maker's own personal copy. Diamond Entertainment Corporation's motto is revealing: "All videotapes are recorded on top grade videotape spooled into premium videocassette shells."

Another public domain company, The Bridgestone Group, advertises: "Carefully restored from mint 35mm prints."

One can buy a public domain movie on videotape simply based on low price (frequently under $10), but one can also access the best motion picture reproductions possible as well as ancillary materials to make the enjoyment and appreciation of the film experience that much more significant.

This is what competition within the public domain marketplace offers.

Contrast that with the market behavior of a title held exclusively by a Hollywood studio.

A monopoly copyright holder can tender quality, but there is no incentive to. What choice does the customer have?

The major Hollywood studio (with the only copy available) can compete on price, but why? The studio has an exclusivity.

And the major Hollywood studio -- with the monopoly right to exclusivity -- holds the ultimate power -- access. If the Hollywood company calculates that the costs of issuance (making copies, some marketing, and other small items) will not be exceeded by the possible revenues to generate adequate profits, then the exclusive copyright holder can simply withhold the film. No one can purchase it. No one can see it.

There is no such exclusivity within the vibrant marketplace for public domain films. There are now over 200 competing companies offering public domain motion pictures in various forms at various prices, usually low prices. Here competition based on price and quality -- with wide accessibility -- clearly benefits the public.

We can see the vivid contrast in that the major Hollywood studios themselves sometimes vend popular public domain titles. They continue to release public domain movies, even after these particular titles fall into public domain.

Yet see the difference. Hollywood studios release only the big, profitable titles. They pass on the smaller, less profitable titles. These latter works are released only by smaller companies.

The major studios do not release smaller titles because they make too little money to make it worth it for such big operations. Tiny companies have less overhead and can release public domain films with limited sales potential.

The Hollywood motion picture industry chooses not to commercially exploit all of the thousands of motion pictures in its vast libraries. Many languish because executives are convinced they will not make money. Extending the copyright term will not help.

And so in most cases, these smaller public domain companies charge less. Rarely does the price of a public domain motion picture rise above $20 and is usually in the $10 range.

The major Hollywood studios - in contrast -- charge more, trying to make the naive customer believe she or he is getting "more for the money." In all but a handful of cases, the customer is not getting more, but generally less.

Whereas the Hollywood major studio copyright holders rarely charge below $15, they often set prices above $30 and sometimes in excess of $50. A monopoly predictably restricts output and charges higher prices. Economic inefficiency rules. This is inevitable.

Here is an important irony. The proposed extension to the present copyright law simply increases the monopoly rights to the six major Hollywood studios. It will encourage higher prices and less issuance of past product. Thus on these two grounds the proposed extension offers no benefits for the movie-going public.

Industry observers long have noted that public domain vendors think it is wonderful to sell a few hundred copies. It has been reported that a public domain company might sell less than 100 copies and be satisfied. For the major Hollywood studios, the minimum cut-off certainly is in the thousands of sales, more often than not in sales measured in the millions.

In sum, maintaining the present copyright policy will mean that motion pictures can be widely disseminated at affordable prices.

If that is not enough, there are other positive effects as well. For example, due to the public domain status of Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel, The Phantom of the Opera, frequently made into popular movies, some found in public domain catalogs, we have not one, but three stage musicals touring the United States.

Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life (1946), as noted above, a generation ago was yet another obscure, failed, and forgotten motion picture. I know because when I worked at the Wisconsin Film Society in the early 1970s we struggled to gain a print to show as the final film of our series of the first semester, as thoughts turned to Christmas. But once It's a Wonderful Life fell into public domain, millions of new fans have seen it and fallen in love with George and Mary Bailey. The discovery of It's a Wonderful Life would never have happened without its falling into public domain.

The proposal to extend the current term of 75 years to 95 years for motion pictures would have its greatest immediate impact on motion pictures copyrighted between the years 1918 and 1927, the so-called Golden Age of the silent cinema. As these come on line to enter into public domain, under current law, the public will gain access to the best films of the silent film era. The Hollywood film industry makes no money off such products, but as scholars learn more about them and write about silent cinema, the public will gradually begin to seek out and appreciate such works.

With all too few exceptions, silent films are not shown in movie theaters or on television, principally they are seen in specialized archives. And there are precious few on home video - outside the catalogs of the public domain vendors.

Sadly the survivors of that wonderful era languish on the shelves of the major studios, their copyright holders. The proposed extension will simply guarantee that the public will continue to be deprived of hundreds and hundreds of silent and early sound films, long ago abandoned by their creators, but still protected by copyright.

Thousands of silent films await the freedom and access of public domain. It is one thing for a handful of scholars to exclusively see and evaluate and analyze silent films. It is quite another, as it is difficult (if not impossible), to show these to students and the general public.

Sadly, as silent films are perceived as of no value to modern Hollywood media conglomerates, they languish in often poor storage conditions, even outright neglect. Indeed with the past as prologue, the key reason we have but half of the silent films ever made even to survive is because of poor storage due to owner apathy.

The core of the proposed extension of the copyright term offers the major Hollywood studios what economists call option value. That is, the silent films are worthless commercially today, but with technical change might not be so in the future.

The major Hollywood studios, burned by the innovation of home video, do not want to give up anything for the future. Who knows what the next technical change may bring? Maybe the public will want to see them in HDTV?

But those technical innovations are not here. The move-going public should not have to await their arrival, and then hope the major Hollywood studios are then willing to issue them.

The better public policy alternative is to have the current copyright law work and release silent films now!

In sum, there seems no good argument for the proposed extension of the copyright term. Prices will stay high. Access will remain limited. And the possibility of no access will remain all too common.

Such a proposed extension will clearly not make the public better off, only a handful of Hollywood studios. And these major studios are the very large corporations which have all too often permitted the silent films which have survived to continue to languish in their vaults waiting for some far-off day when they alone might commercially exploit them.

Indeed, as we enter what many believe is a new world of 500 interactive cable television channels, we see the copyright holders trying to shore up their monopoly rights based on rights determined when such access was never even possible.

In contrast, the owners and innovators of computer software and interactive video worry that any further restrictions to traditional copyright norms will stymie development of the new technologies.

The public, through its congressional representatives and the President, should herald the new world of access by rethinking traditional copyright schemes, not making the old system (with its term limits) ever more defining.

Hollywood's Concentrated Economic Power

The basis of the analysis above is the enormous concentrated power of the motion picture industry in the United States.

The current state and functioning of the motion picture industry in the United States sees power (and copyrights) held by six companies. They alone will be the beneficiaries of the proposed extension of the copyright term.

The $15 billion dollar consolidation of Time and Warner created renewed interest in the concentration of power and profit of the Hollywood studios as the motion picture industry in the United States entered the 1990s.

The current bidding war for Paramount, well past the $10 billion range, is, in part, dealing with the copyrights that Paramount holds.

Also, Japan's giant Matsushita Electric's takeover of MCA (and its University Studios) for nearly $10 billion taught us how much foreign corporations were willing to ante up for a place in the Hollywood motion picture industry juggernaut.

Many film fans look back to the 1930s and 1940s as the Golden Age of the movie business, but in fact, the 1980s and 1990s stand as the era when the Hollywood industry -- as an industry -- achieved an international influence and mass entertainment marketplace power unparalleled in its history.

The Hollywood major studios continue on, proving to be among the most adaptable, agile, and durable of corporate entities.

Not only has the motion picture industry's basic structure remained remarkably constant, so have Hollywood's fundamental operating tenets. Principles developed in the 1920s continue to be exploited: Vertical control of and diversification into all forms of mass entertainment. Through ownership of the various outlets for movie exhibition (vertical integration), and through commercial exploitation of all possible spin-offs from a hit film (today including cable and home video), Hollywood studio corporations are able to retain and even expand their control while keeping all competitors at bay.

Although producers such as Spike Lee's corporate umbrella 40 Acres ad a Mule, and Ray Stark's Rastar provide the legal means to make their pictures, they can only operate by distributing through one of the six major vertically integrated operations, the so-called majors:

    Paramount Pictures
    Time Warner's Warner Bros.
    Matsushita's MCA/Universal
    News, Inc.'s Twentieth Century Fox
    Sony's Columbia Pictures

Only these six powerful corporations can market movies to theaters around the world as well as the full complement of video outlets.

And, because of their copyright hold on vast areas of American cinema, if these six do not release the film on video, it just will not be seen. It simply will not be accessible.

The six majors function as parts of a larger media conglomerate, embracing a varied line of entertainment businesses, selling both in the continental United States and throughout the world.

So, for example, Time Warner, parent owner of Warner Bros., stands as the quintessential media conglomerate. In 1989, Warner merged with Time to create the largest media company in the United States. Cable properties included Home Box Office, Cinemax, part ownership of Turner Broadcasting and Black Entertainment Television, and control of the second largest multiple system operator (MSO) of cable franchises in the United States. Warner Home Video, and its magazines (including Time and Sports Illustrated) ranked as powers in their individual media industry sectors. The new Time Warner continues to be a significant producer of television series and a leading distributor of syndicated faire. Finally, Warner Bros. has counted a number of the top grossing motion pictures including the original Batman and its sequel, both of which had started as "properties" in Warner's DC Comics unit.

The six Hollywood media conglomerates possess a host of advantages that enable them to maintain their considerable economic power, keep out the competition, maintain high prices, and ever increase their profits.

Cross-subsidization enables a Hollywood media conglomerate with interests in a number of media markets to take profits from a thriving area to prop up another less financially successful area. Single-line corporations do not have this luxury. Through the 1980s, for example, we saw a number of aspiring single line film studios, such as New World and Orion, falter.

So a Time Warner can originate a Batman comic book, turn it into a movie, create a popular song, and market figures and other toys based on its characters. Then the company can continue to control these products. No small company offering an alternative can compete. Hollywood gets more and more powerful. The public gets few choices.

Reciprocity enables movie media conglomerates to choose to whom they will sell and then only deal with those companies that cooperate with other units of the media conglomerate. For example, Universal might not sell movies to Viacom's Showtime or The Movie Channel's pay television services unless Viacom's cable franchises book Universal's USA Cable Channel.

This strikes at the heart of the issue of access. The Hollywood studios have many. many advantages in controlling their products. They do not need more from a proposed extension of the current copyright law.

In the end this leads Hollywood media conglomerates to integrate horizontally and vertically. All these six major Hollywood companies generate considerable profits from a wide spectrum of mass media enterprises, including theme parks (Matsushita's MCA, Time Warner, and Disney), recorded music (MCA, Sony's CBS Records, and Time Warner), publishing (Paramount, News, Inc., Time Warner, and Disney), and television production (all).

And make no mistake about it -- the major Hollywood companies will continue to be the big winners with this horizontal diversification.

Consider that Columbia, Paramount, Warners, Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, and Columbia all "instantly" became the major players in home video during the 1980s; they had the motion pictures people wanted to rent or buy. And so prices remain high as the major studios sit on titles they alone refuse to issue. There is no competition and the public is denied the right to see and appreciate the films of the past.

And the major Hollywood companies commercially exploited only their library's most valuable properties, not ones of marginal economic value which continue to languish on the shelf waiting some possible use in the new technologies of the future.

Just as these six powerful corporate giants alone can choose what to release, they also alone could withhold films they considered not commercially exploitable.

The major Hollywood studios' enormous power centers on its skill at effective manipulation of the economic principles of price discrimination, demonstrating their vibrant monopoly power.

And this continued ability to price discriminate has enormous implications for copyright. As economists Stanley M. Besen and Leo J. Raskind have argued, "price discrimination allows producers to appropriate a larger share of the social benefits."

That is, Hollywood makes more and more profits as the public sees some titles out of circulation and prices stay high. The ability to successfully price discriminate makes Hollywood's copyrights valuable. Wall Street has long estimated that Hollywood's libraries are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Part of this is the proper reward for taking risk. Part is simple excess monopoly power.

We can see this demonstrated in the long term behavior and profitability of the motion picture industry.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Hollywood majors, through their ownership and control of production, distribution, and exhibition, set the prices for the movies shown and, through careful use of runs, zones, and clearances, were able to maximize revenues from box-office take. One paid more to see a motion picture in its first-run and then less down the line.

These studios then used their power to show a film and then withhold it from the market for years. In part they withhold because they re-use the property, remaking films (such as King Kong and Dick Tracy). To squeeze the most from remakes, the Hollywood studios invariably shelve the previous title.

The major Hollywood movie studios have long worked together to enforce a system of classic price discrimination. A generation ago the process was simple. Features opened with big premieres and publicity. Then they played off from first-run to second-run to third-run, so on down the line.

The coming of television simply added two runs at the end. A motion picture earned the bulk of its money from play in movie theaters; television, even with a sale for showing on one of the three major television networks, accounted for less than one tenth of total revenues.

Feature films still begin their marketing life in theaters. As noted above, the first-run theater remains the principal "voting booth." If one can fashion a theatrical blockbuster during the crucial first weekend of release, then it should be possible to reap added millions from the home video and pay television arenas.

Even as recently as ten years ago, movie theaters supplied more than three quarters of the revenue for an average Hollywood feature film. Today, theaters provide less than half.

Consider the extraordinary financial growth in the home video market. In 1980, the Hollywood majors collected about $20 million from world wide sales of video cassettes. In 1992 the figure stood at well in excess of $11 billion, or more than a 70 percent annual rate of growth.

Ten years ago an average motion picture expected to take in nothing extra from home video: today that "ancillary" revenue contribution usually amounts to one-third of the average total gross take.

Whatever additional new television technologies appear in the future, the business of the Hollywood major studios will continue to be to seek additional ways to maximum revenue. Starting with a theatrical showing, then home video, pay-cable, cable television, network television, local over-the-air television, and any other possible venues that come along in the forthcoming years, the object of this price discrimination will continue to be to get as much revenue from a product as the various markets will permit.

But that does not mean all motion pictures will be commercially exploited. If the market is considered too small, then Hollywood sits the film down and awaits the possible commercial exploitation in the future. This robs current generations of seeing these works.

And this idling will not change. To this observer nothing seems on the horizon that might change that vice-like grip.

Indeed, the takeovers of Columbia (by Sony), of MCA-Universal (by Matsushita), of Paramount (by either QVC or Viacom) only point out that it is far easier to buy into the Hollywood oligopoly than to form a new company.

As we approach the twenty-first century, nothing looms on the horizon that will threaten the oligopolistic power of the major studios. The major Hollywood studios will continue to enjoy the fruits of their formidable economic power.

Their influence will keep reaching throughout the world, more powerfully than any other mass medium. The Hollywood oligopoly has learned to thrive in the age of more advanced technologies.

And thus they will continue to have little incentive to fully exploit their silent film copyrights and the current generation will rarely see "their" silent film classics. Prices will remain high and access limited.


In summary, the above analysis has argued that public domain films cost less for the viewing public, less than Hollywood monopoly held titles. Almost all public domain movie titles are offered by multiple vendors in contrast to Hollywood licensed films which have but a single supplier. In the broadcast and cable television marketplaces, there are more than 25 distributors offering public domain low-cost motion picture programming for over-the-air television stations, public television, and the multitude of cable TV services. For Hollywood copyright works there is but a single supplier. Public domain video cassettes are significantly discounted from the licensed editions of the same works.

In short we see the classic effects of monopoly power: high prices, low quantity. We have inevitably poor results for the consumer while the monopoly rights holders ever prosper with the best of all exclusivity -- a legal monopoly!

The present system of a trade is working well. Economic analysis, as provided above, suggest the public would be better off continuing the current copyright term.


Douglas Gomery writes this short study -- on these vital and important issues -- as a media economist and as one with a knowledge of the film and television businesses.

Douglas Gomery has a B.S. and M.A. in economics from Lehigh University [1967] and the University of Wisconsin [1970], respectively. Gomery earned a Ph.D. in communications, with a minor in economics, also from the University of Wisconsin [1975].

Douglas Gomery has published nine books and more than 300 articles on the economics and history of the mass media, including motion pictures and television. His work has been published by St. Martin's Press, Alfred A. Knopf, Dutton, Pantheon, Oxford University Press, The Johns Hopkins University Press, the University of California Press, the University of Wisconsin Press, the University of Chicago Press, and the Columbia University Press, among others.

Douglas Gomery's achievements are listed in the current editions of Who's Who in the East and Who's Who in Entertainment.

A summary VITAE for Douglas Gomery is attached below. A full and complete resume (running more than 30 pages) will be supplied upon request.


A number of works were consulted in the preparation of this report, other than those mentioned directly in the text above. They include:

Besen, Stanley and Leo J. Raskind, "An Introduction to the Law and Economics of Intellectual Property," The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 5, Number 1 (Winter, 1991), pages 3-28.

Carlton, Dennis W. and Jeffrey M. Perloff, Modern Industrial Organization (New York: Harper Collins, 1990).

Elias, Stephen R., NOLO's Intellectual Property Law Dictionary (San Francisco: Nolo Press, 1985).

Glassman, Don, Writers' & Artists' Rights (Washington, D.C.: Writers Press, 1978).

Goldfarb, Ronald L. and Gail E. Ross, The Writer's Lawyer (New York: Times Books, 1989).

Goldstein, Paul, "Copyright," Law and Contemporary Problems, Volume 55, Number 2 (Spring, 1992), pages 79-91.

Gomery, Douglas, The Hollywood Studio System (New York: St. Martin's, 1985).

Gomery, Douglas, "Media Economics: Terms of Analysis," Critical Studies in Mass Communication, Volume 6, Number 1 (1989), pages 43-60.

Gomery, Douglas, Shared Pleasures (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992).

Johnson, Donald F., Copyright Handbook, Second Edition (New York: R. R. Bowker, 1982).

Karp, Irwin, "The Copyright Renewal Trap," Film Comment, January-February, 1990, pages 12-15.

Lange, David, "At Play in the Fields of the Word: Copyright and the Construction of Authorship in the Post-Literate Millennium," Law and Contemporary Problems, Volume 55, Number 2 (Spring, 1992), pages 139-151.

Litman, Jessica, "Copyright Legislation and Technological Change," Oregon Law Review, Volume 88, Number 2 (1989), pages 275-361.

Patterson, L. Ray, Copyright in Historical Perspective (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1968).

Patterson, L. Ray and Stanley W. Lindberg, The Nature of Copyright (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991).

Strong, William S., The Copyright Book (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993).

Douglas Gomery's VITAE

Douglas Gomery (Ph. D. Wisconsin, 1975) is currently a Full Professor at the University of Maryland teaching courses in media economics and media history. His other university teaching experience includes courses offered at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, the University of Iowa, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin, both in Madison and Milwaukee.

From 1988 through 1992 Gomery was Senior Researcher at the Media Studies Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Douglas Gomery has served on the Board of the American Film Institute as well as film advisory boards for the National Gallery of Art and American Film Institute Catalog.

Douglas Gomery's books include:

The Future of News (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992) (with Philip Cook and Lawrence W. Lichty).

Shared Pleasures (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992).

Movie History: A Survey (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1991).

The Art of Moving Shadows (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1989) (with Annette Michelson and Patrick Loughney).

American Media: The Wilson Quarterly Reader (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989) (with Philip Cook and Lawrence W. Lichty).

The Will Hays Papers (Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1987).

The Hollywood Studio System (New York: St. Martin's, 1986); translations in French and Spanish.

Film History: Theory and Practice (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985) (with Robert C. Allen).

High Sierra: Screenplay and Analysis (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979).

Moreover, Douglas Gomery has published more than 300 articles in anthologies and leading journals. Gomery's writing also includes pieces for Modern Maturity and the Village Voice as well as the SMPTE Journal, Film Quarterly, Cinema Journal, and Journal of Broadcasting. Douglas Gomery's scholarly works and writings have been translated into a half dozen languages.