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Doc Directors and Bloggers Buzz About Showtime/Smithsonian Deal

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire April 4, 2006 at 9:25AM

A deal between Showtime Networks and The Smithsonian Institution is drawing negative reviews from filmmakers and bloggers alike. The pact, announced nearly a month ago, marks the creation of Smithsonian Networks, which in the words of an announcement will offer programs, "drawn from the assets of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex, and its scientific and scholarly research centers, as well the editorial content of the Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines." According to a New York Times article, the deal includes an agreement that the joint venture has first right of refusal to commercial documentaries that heavily use the Smithsonian resources or collection. In the article, filmmaker Ken Burns blasted the deal, saying:"I find this deal terrifying...It feels like the Smithsonian has essentially optioned America's attic to one company, and to have access to that attic, we would have to be signed off with, and perhaps co-opted by, that entity."
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A deal between Showtime Networks and The Smithsonian Institution is drawing negative reviews from filmmakers and bloggers alike. The pact, announced nearly a month ago, marks the creation of Smithsonian Networks, which in the words of an announcement will offer programs, "drawn from the assets of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex, and its scientific and scholarly research centers, as well the editorial content of the Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines." According to a New York Times article, the deal includes an agreement that the joint venture has first right of refusal to commercial documentaries that heavily use the Smithsonian resources or collection. In the article, filmmaker Ken Burns blasted the deal, saying:

"I find this deal terrifying...It feels like the Smithsonian has essentially optioned America's attic to one company, and to have access to that attic, we would have to be signed off with, and perhaps co-opted by, that entity."

Among the bloggers who have picked up on the situation are Anthony Kaufman and Daily Kos. [Eugene Hernandez]

This article is related to: Documentary