Lawrence of Arabia, for free

Since this is on YouTube I’m presuming it’s legal, though I don’t know why.  While looking for a clip from “Lawrence of Arabia” to memorialize Peter O’Toole, I discovered that the whole movie is on YouTube: in two parts. Here they are:

If you have 3 hours and 45 minutes or so, knock yourself out.  It’s one of my favorites.


  1. Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    This is one of those movies I own. Fare thee well, Peter O’Toole a fine actor. I can not imagine another person walking as T E Lawrence, and most of us believed he was T E while watching the film.

  2. Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    If I see one more person “praying” for Peter O’Toole, I may have to become an Internet troll for a few minutes. Does it assault their tiny sensibilities when people do not pray on their death bed or in a foxhole?

  3. Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    T.E. Lawrence was a rather short man, and Peter O’Toole was tall – if you want to see a “historical” film be prepared to suspend disbelief. As for O’Toole himself, He had to most blazing blue eyes. And yes, he was a fine actor. Too bad that all so many who are writing obits about him recall mostly his drinking. Ditto with Richard Burton. Both had “presence,” and memorable, flexible voices. And BOTH were well trained for the stage, and successful in their movie careers.

  4. davidintoronto
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Originally filmed in 70mm, the movie deserves viewing in Blu-Ray/HD resolution. This version is only 240p (so probably not official/legal ;)).

    • jesse
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      This is definitely a movie that deserves the best viewing conditions possible (and locked doors for the duration). Its value lies in its large-scale beauty, both visual and aural.

    • Chak
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Agree with you – the restored Blu-ray is phenomenal and this movie deserves to be seen on a larger screen. The blu-ray is the best I have seen. We were waiting for this for a while as the restoration (remastered in 4K) took more than 7 years.

      • Tumara Baap
        Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Deserved to be seen on a big screen and not just for one’s own enjoyment. There are people who put their passion, their vision and sweat into it… the acting, the sound editing, the cinematography, the lighting, the mixing and countless other skill sets. If you respect these artists and techno wizards one bit you’d make the effort to ensure you consumed their work exactly as they intended it to be. Whoever put this on Youtube ought to be slapped in the face.

      • Vaal
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        Hear Hear!

        In this day and age of wonderful HD displays, Blu-Ray and astounding (not to mention time consuming) restoration work being done on a 70mm movie like Lawrence,
        the very act of watching it on youtube ought to be put into blasphemy law. It makes Ceiling Cat very, very angry.

        (If anything justifies having a projector this movie did: we watched it on a 10 foot wide screen with some other film enthusiasts and were awestruck at the movie…and at the experience available to film-lovers with today’s technology).


  5. Latverian Diplomat
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    There’s so much to enjoy in this film, I’ll just mention one extremely tiny facet.

    I don’t know if it’s a real geographical nickname or a creation of the script, but the reference to the Nefud Desert as the Sun’s Anvil is perhaps my favorite metaphor. It’s so simple and clear but instantly evocative. I realize “the sun beat down” is a cliche, but the Sun’s Anvil makes that sense image fresh and powerful again.

  6. jesse
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Regarding legality of youtube videos of movies that are not yet in the public domain, I have often seen youtube videos removed by the companies that hold copyrights, and sometimes the user is banned. I think in many cases it’s a question of some videos being missed, and in some cases some are continually put up by different people. I don’t know the full legality of any of it but I can only imagine it must be frustrating for filmmakers who would like to earn some money at their craft and to pay the actors. Maybe I am missing something here.

    I can tell you that I very often am disheartened to see the youtubers who put up the copyrighted material state something like “I make no claim to the copyright of this material”, or “I do not own the copyright of this and no infringement is intended”, as if their incomplete understanding of copyright laws makes it all okay.

    From what I have seen, copyright very misunderstood. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in coming years.

    • Posted December 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      As noble as those sentiments are that you’ve expressed, they, sadly, do not at all reflect reality.

      There is massive, unprecedented, incomprehensible theft of so-called intellectual property going on these days. And it is real.

      But it most emphatically is not being perpetrated by people uploading things to YouTube or Bittorrent or the like.

      Rather, it is the wholesale theft of our civilization’s greatest treasures from the public domain by corporate copyright holders.

      By all rights, Lawrence of Arabia and everything else made a quarter century or more (and, realistically, much less) ago belongs to the public. It does not belong to Columbia Pictures; it belongs to us — to We the People.

      That’s the deal with copyright. You may register your copyright with the Library of Congress. In so doing, the State will use its power for a limited time to enforce your monopoly rights to profit from the work; in exchange, the state reverts all those rights to the People at the end of that time. If you don’t like that, the alternative is to not register your copyright, but then you have no practical or legal means of preventing others from doing with it as they will, short of not publishing (performing, etc.) it at all.

      But the Walt Disney Corporation, with its seemingly-limitless stash of dirty money, bought a Senator of their own — Sonny Bono — and rented enough other Senators and Representatives and even President Clinton, such that they now have a law that re-defines “limited” from the dozen-or-so-years originally established by Congress not long after the Revolution to “forever less one day.”

      As such, the contract the People made with authors has been abrogated. Is it any surprise that the People aren’t respecting copyright any more than the corporations?

      As for the poor, starving artists…again, it’s not the “file sharers” who are starving them. The corporations have hired accountants every bit as corrupt as their paid-for politicians; those accountants see to it that even the most wildly profitable works never have enough black ink to pay the actual authors and composers and actors and musicians more than a token amount — and, all too often, they even manage to extort huge sums from them by feigning losses that become debts the true “content creators” are forced into “repaying.”

      So I would urge all to enjoy this YouTube presentation with a clear conscience. Or, better yet, download the full-resolution version from your favorite “pirate” source. Whether you respect the copyright on newer works is up to your own conscience, but there cannot even in principle be any moral claim to copyright for anything this old.

      Of course, if you have reason to fear the MPAA’s copyright “protection” (in the Mafia’s sense of the word) efforts, you may wish to refrain. The odds of anything serious happening to you are slim, less than the odds of getting hit while crossing the street, but it’s up to each individual to weigh the odds and perform that personal risk / benefit analysis.



      • jesse
        Posted December 16, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Well said Ben. Not correct but well put.

        Here’s my mishmash of thoughts:

        As an artist whose drawings, photos, and paintings have been stolen over the years and used by people who didn’t pay me for them, and as a person who’s received bad checks from customers and had to deal with customers who took my art but didn’t pay, all I can say is that I have a different viewpoint, albeit a tiny amoeba-like one that does not compare to the corporate stuff you are talking about.

        I guess the living painters whose works are being reproduced by the Chinese and sold freely don’t have a right to keep their artwork for their own profit and retirement either. “75 years after death of creator” is the law for copyright, and I do know for instance that NBC finagled getting It’s a Wonderful Life after it had been in the public domain for a couple years. That was clearly wrong.

        But when people who earn royalties from a film are still alive, it’s simply not right to say it’s okay to steal it.

        We’ll see how you feel about things if you get sick long-term and can’t perform, or when you get old and there is nothing to protect the work you may have published. Middle age and becoming not so cock-sure as one once was changes one’s viewpoint considerably.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 16, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          “75 years after death of creator” is the law for copyright,

          For the US, this decade, I believe it’s about that number. But most people reading this bl-website have seen it increase from around 25 years in their lifetimes. And the concept of “creator” has been adjusted to include the entire corporation which employed the creator(s) before their long-ago deaths, as well as a fig-leaf to the estates of the “creators”.
          I’ve noted for something in excess of a decade now that Terry “Discworld’ Pratchett has been publishing his work in joint names of him and his wife – another way of trying to make an end-run around the expiration date on copyrights.
          It’s entirely plausible that no-one alive today will ever see any work of “intellectual property” expire to become public domain ; which throws the whole scheme into a very different light compared to the reasonable original aims of the scheme.

          • jesse
            Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

            Oh, sorry, I posted a bit on your other comment but I meant it to go here.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        Not having any great reason to follow American politics, and agreeing with most of your points, but …

        bought a Senator of their own — Sonny Bono —

        … Wasn’t this Sonny Bono a non-trivial recording artist in the dim and distant past? Which would slightly excuse his participation in this corporate theft. “slightly”
        Oh, and the granting of “letters patent” was something introduced by Charlie-2 of Englandshire, around a century before American Freedom Fighters launched their (successful) terrorist war to overthrow their God-given King and government. About the same time that he gave Royal patronage to a Society for the advancement of the sciences. All in the name of increasing the tax take.
        It’s a sad coin that has only three sides.

        • jesse
          Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          I stand corrected on the 75-yr. statement, it is in fact,
          “either 75 years or life of author plus 50 years ”
          And it has been this way since 1976, well before I started my art business, so no it has not changed for 35+ years.

          One might think it’s a corporation one is sticking one’s nose up at when one copies films and other productions, but if affects all workers in the arts, their retirement/pensions, their wages, etc.

          When a person is young and doing well, it’s hard for them to imagine that it won’t always be that way, and hard for them to imagine that others aren’t as able as they are.

          BTW Aidan, my U.S. health insurance has in the past 16 years gone from $50 a month to $1300 a month, more than the wages of some Americans. I never saw it coming.

          Well I have said my piece. I’m sure this discussion has happened a million times on the internet and it won’t change anything.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:39 am | Permalink

            My source for US law tells me :

            The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States. Since the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier.[1] Copyright protection for works published prior to January 1, 1978, was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date.

            • jesse
              Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

              Thanks Aidan for the corporate info. Whatever. I don’t feel I have a right to make money off of Lawrence of Arabia no matter how old it is or how much I love it. The creators don’t owe anything to me except to let me rent it or buy it or go see it in a theater.

              25 years for copyright as Ben suggested isn’t enough to allow an artist who creates something original to benefit from it. I have items I produced a long time ago, from scratch, that I’m still trying to sell (people keep asking for them for free, for a reduced price, as donations, for use in their business websites, etc), and if someone makes knockoffs it hurts me and ruins the investment I made in my own future. The suggestion of putting an original work of art into the public domain when the artist is still alive is ridiculously selfish or naïve.

              • Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

                In no other commercial endeavor are people paid for their work two decades after the job was complete. You don’t keep sending royalty payments to the engineer who designed your car’s exterior, even though many cars are as elegantly beautiful as any sculpture. You don’t pay the architect who designed your house every time you step inside the door. When the plumber unclogs your sink, you pay him once.

                In any other commercial enterprise, if you can’t get anybody to pay for your goods and / or services, you go bankrupt. That even includes, for example, those who plant orchards which will not bear fruit for decades; if you can’t afford to have that acreage be unproductive (and expensive) until the trees are mature, you shouldn’t invest in the orchard in the first place.

                What this means for artists is that they should — as artists did for millennia — perform “works for hire,” and ensure they are paid a fair amount commensurate with their skills, investments, market demand, and the rest. And, if you have grand dreams of monumental works that nobody appreciates and is willing to pay for, then you do them on your own time and dime, the same way other people tend their gardens or restore classic cars or train for marathons they know they’ll never win.

                The actual artists making a living at their art today generally aren’t relying upon the power of copyright monopoly, though there certainly are exceptions. The successful ones are charging admission to events and selling overpriced shirts and other merchandise that their fans gladly pay for because they know it’ll ensure more art that they appreciate. And they’re generally busting their balls, just as successful entrepreneurs in every other field do. They generally have effective marketing, and understand that “piracy” is an effective method of building a loyal following who will, in the aggregate, pay the bills.

                And then, of course, the overwhelming number of artists who make a living at their art get a regular paycheck from somebody; the’ve “sold out” and are graphic designers, studio musicians, and the like working nine-to-five jobs or the equivalent.

                Does this mean that some, perhaps many or even most would-be artists who try to go it alone are not going to succeed, even those with talent?

                Of course.

                But that’s the way it is in every other profession, as well. Do you have any idea how many minor-league baseball players there are who are now firefighters and schoolteachers and legal assistants and construction foremen? Hell, major-league players, too — I knew a guy who was an outfielder in the majors for a few years who was a financial analyst by his 30s, crunching numbers on a spreadsheet nine hours a day, five days a week.

                Copyright was an artificial creation intended to solve that “orchard” problem, where it might take several years before the authors could sell enough copies to earn an honest wage and thereby keep producing. And it worked great when it was limited to a dozen years or so — long enough to pay the rent, not long enough to retire off a one-hit wonder. Even better, there was an huge pool of public domain stuff that everybody could draw upon for their own innovation; you could write a story of Arthur’s hitherto-unknown quest in China, and you could have Twain’s Connecticut Yankee meet up with him on the road.

                But, as I wrote, that contract has long since been broken. Now we have hack creators of schlock expecting to be paid a luxurious retirement for dreck they coughed up thirty years ago when they haven’t even touched a pen since, and we have effective absolute corporate control of popular culture. Can you even imagine what’d happen to you if you tried to make your own movie with Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker teaming up to rescue Mickey Mouse from the Riddler?



              • jesse
                Posted December 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

                …”In no other commercial endeavor are people paid for their work two decades after the job was complete.”

                Excuse me but if there is no job in the first place, how could it be completed?
                I have no idea what you are talking about.
                Original art that was produced by an artist when he is self employed or in his spare time means there WAS no job let alone a job to be completed.

                A singer-songwriter who writes a song at age 20 (on the weekends, not under employment by another party) should not have to fear that his song will become public property for anyone to do anything they like with it, at least while he is still alive and has bills to pay. It is something he made from scratch and he should be allowed to decide how it’s used for at least his lifetime.

                A photographer who photographs something and sells prints of it for 25 years should then not be out of a job when the copyright runs out. He was his own employer and he made the picture. He performed all the other tasks of producing and distributing the picture. To have you tell me that an arbitrary 25 years is enough is ludicrous.

                you wrote,
                …”if you have grand dreams of monumental works that nobody appreciates and is willing to pay for, then you do them on your own time and dime,”

                Yeah, but 25 years later you should still be able to try to market them without some guy having killed the market with knockoffs in the meantime. I am talking about copies, not questionable derivative works.

                I have seen that you are full of words and you write them very well and with assuredness, and you obviously have a lot of time to do it in. But it does not always mean you are right.

                I sometimes think you are not able to put yourself into others’ shoes.

                That is all. Anyone reading this later will hopefully do what is right.

              • Posted December 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

                Excuse me but if there is no job in the first place, how could it becompleted?</blocquote

                If your business model has you doing work before you know how you're going to get paid for it…well, I very much doubt that any loan officer would advance you anything at all with such a business plan.

                If you're that bad at business, it's hardly surprising that all you've got left is bitching about how you're not making any money. Whatever you're doing and why you think you're doing it, financial profit isn't even a serious consideration. And, since the opportunity for short-term profit is the sole guarantee copyright is supposed to offer in exchange for reversion of the work to the public domain at the end of the term…well, copyright is entirely irrelevant in your case.

                Come up with a viable business plan, and then we can continue this discussion. Otherwise, enjoy your craft for its own sake, but do yourself a favor and don't fool yourself into thinking it has anything to do with financial renumeration.



              • Max
                Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

                Ben said: “In no other commercial endeavor are people paid for their work two decades after the job was complete.”

                Well that’s just not true. Consider the writers, directors, actors, musicians, etc. to be investors. They’ve put some kind of investment into a product and expect returns. Not just ONE return, but ongoing returns for as long as the product sells. I’m pretty sure that Steve Jobs would have gotten continued income from Apple even if he quit years before he died. Creatives who get royalties essentially own a piece of the “company.” The company– a revenue generating thing– is the movie, music, or whatever.

                Here’s a way to think about royalties that might make sense to people who think “come on, they were paid when they made it, why should they make more money later.”

                If you created something and someone wanted to market it and you thought that he was sure make $100 million dollars from it, would you sell it for $1000? You’d probably want a bit more than that. But what if the person only HAD $1000 to give you, because the millions haven’t come in yet? Would you be willing to say “OK, fine, give me a thousand now, then when the millions come in, give me X amount?” That’s essentially what royalties are and why they exist.

                If you would outright sell your creation for only $1000, knowing the buyer was going to make $100 million, you won’t be in business long, and your children will starve.

                And if you refuse to sell your creation for anything less than $1 million, which you feel is fair, you also won’t be in business long and your children will starve.

                (By the way, the royalty method ensures that if you’re wrong, that if your creation really ISN’T worth $100 million, that you don’t get paid as if it was.)

              • Posted December 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

                The flaw in your analogy is that copyright isn’t a form of private capital investment; it’s a government-enforced monopoly.

                If you can realistically expect to make an hundred million from whatever you’re selling, you can reasonably expect to pitch your idea to venture capitalists who’ll collectively fund your project in exchange for some guaranteed cut of the future profits. They also accept the risk that, if it doesn’t pan out, they’re going to lose some of their money.

                That’s nothing even remotely like what happens with copyright; it’s a different beast entirely. Not even tangentially related, really.

                If you really have written the next Great American Novel, it’ll sell like hotcakes and you’ll get rich. If copyright were rational, you’d know that the copyright would expire in several years, so, if you want to keep the money rolling in, you’d damned well better crank out that sequel before that happens or else the gravy train is gonna stop. That’s the same way it works in other professions. Sure, you did a great job with that patio extension and it paid for the down payment on the new car, but you’d better land that kitchen remodel contract if you don’t want to default on your car loan.

                And if you can’t make money off your novel even a decade after you wrote it, you’re not ever going to make money off of it, so what’s the point in the public expending resources to protect your non-existent future profits?

                And then there’s the flip side of the coin: if all of these artists were contributing back to the public domain, they’d have that much of a richer source to draw upon for themselves, thereby increasing their own chances of producing art other people will care enough about to throw a few pennies their way. That’s the real investment that copyright is supposed to promote: the Public Domain, there for next year’s artists to profit from after today’s artists have had a fair chance to pay this month’s mortgage.



              • jesse
                Posted December 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

                I have been trying to figure out Ben’s viewpoint and I think it might be because he is a performance artist who performs and interprets the music of others, and gets paid on a fairly quick-return, job-by-job basis for it. It is truly a different point of view.

                I myself am trying to figure out how someone can not understand that an artist often creates something for the joy of it without, cripes, without having a business plan for it. Forgive me Ben but that just makes my brain hurt.

              • Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

                I’m not just a performing musician.

                My day job is as a database programmer. Over the years, I’ve created a number of very substantial works for hire, including a project management system, an employee document storage system, and another of other financial and payroll systems and reports, many of which have been in use for years and will be in use for years to come. I charged by the hour to create those works and will never see another dime for that original creation.

                Before that, I did a lot of graphic design — mostly production work for the bigger players I worked for, but some creative stuff at smaller levels. Some of the stuff I did was, quite literally, hung from the streetlights throughout the City of Tempe. Same deal: paid hourly for the work, never did nor will see another dime afterwards.

                I’m also an amateur photographer, and I’ve been specializing in fine art reproduction — photographing originals and making giclée prints for the artists. I’m looking to turn that into a real business in the coming year. I’ll charge the artists a certain amount to photograph the work and do all the color correction and post-processing and the like; they’ll get a disc to do with as they please. I’ll also make prints for a set fee by the square inch. I’ll fully expect them to use the digital files in all sorts of ways after I hand over the disc, and I’ll never see another dime. And what they do with the prints is, of course, up to them as well.

                And if and when I start selling my own photographs? I’ll post low-resolution copies online, and encourage people to do with them as they please but do please keep the attribution intact; high-resolution versions will only be available as high-quality prints.

                I’m also likely going to wind up doing a fair amount of portraiture, especially for musicians and actors needing publicity materials. Same deal: give me money, I press some buttons, and the pictures are yours to do with as you please.

                I’ve known a number of composers over the years. The successful ones split their creative forces between commissioned works and university teaching, or else they’ve gone commercial and are writing jingles and TV scores and the like. Yes, they get a few pennies now and again from royalty checks, but not enough to change their tax brackets.

                So, sorry to burst your bubble, but I know exactly whereof I write.

                No, copyright is not necessary for a thriving arts marketplace. Copyright is a relatively new invention, and many of the great masterpieces of art were created by artists without any consideration to copyright whatsoever. While it served a useful purpose a couple centuries ago and could conceivably do so again if returned to its original model, it now is far more of a detriment to society and the arts than any theoretical help it might provide.



              • jesse
                Posted December 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

                ” …if all of these artists were contributing back to the public domain,”

                Well, I gotta say that with the internet I think the public domain is pretty big now. I’m not talking about ideas being taken from the public domain, I’m talking about actual copying of people’s artwork.

                And ya know, that is where this discussion began – it was about copying of a noted work of art by people who have no business copying it. Anyone is free to make a new movie about Lawrence but they don’t have a right to steal the actual movie, or parts of it, not if there are investors who as Max has mentioned, have a stake. And again, certainly not in your arbitrary 25-year limit suggestion.

              • Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

                Well, I gotta say that with the internet I think the public domain is pretty big now

                Well, at least you’ve identified the source of confusion.

                The public domain hasn’t grown, period, full stop, since shortly before the original release of Steamboat Willie. (A few works here and there have fallen through the cracks or been intentionally released into the public domain, but they’re insignificant rounding errors.)

                What the Internet has done is increase access to the private domain.

                But the public domain is stagnant and diminishing rapidly.

                Once you understand what the public domain actually is, then we can perhaps have a meaningful discussion. Until then, all you’re doing is repeating megacorp propaganda talking points.



              • Max
                Posted December 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

                Some interesting points Ben, but you asked what other commercial endeavors are people paid for their work decades after the job was complete, and I answered, correctly. Copyright is irrelevant to your comment and it’s irrelevant to my answer. Copyright doesn’t directly have anything to do with money– if you own the copyright for something you can give it away for free if you want. Your comment was about royalties. And royalties are paid, just like with any other product, if the product sells. Sell a lot of cars, the investors get money. Sell a lot of copies of Lawrence of Arabia, the investors get money. Why is it OK with cars but not movies?

                Copyright (and patent) law isn’t perfect, and this isn’t really the place to go into it, but posting Lawrence of Arabia to YouTube in its entirety without proper consent is, and should be, illegal.

                By the way, it’s a kind of funny coincidence to have this conversation about copyright on the day that The Beatles, one of Jerry’s favorites, have temporarily released a huge batch of music on iTunes in order to maintain the copyright on it for another 20 years in England. (In England copyright is 70 years, unless the work has not been published, then it’s only 50 years. Many Beatles recordings are unreleased and the 50 years is up in a few weeks.)

              • Posted December 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

                Didn’t Michael Jackson buy the rights to all of the Beatles’ songs, and did not his estate inherit them?

              • Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink


                And the Jackson estate making money off the Beatles’s work is profiteering, in the purest piratical sense of the term.



              • Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

                Max, I apparently didn’t make the point clear.

                The venture capitalists are, in the economic sense, working the whole time, even if they’ve elected to delay their payments.

                If I rent my car to you, and agree to accept payment upon return of the vehicle, I am, as far as an economist is concerned, working the entire time the car is in your possession.

                A venture capitalist is doing the same thing, only she’s renting her money to you, not her property. If that project takes a decade to come to fruition to the point that you can start paying her for the loan of her money, that doesn’t mean that she wasn’t working for that decade; she was — she was working the whole time. She just didn’t collect any paychecks until the end, is all.

                That’s not at all related to copyright, again, or to my challenge of people being paid decades after the work is completed.

                For the venture capitalist, the work isn’t done until the initial investment and all promised profits have been paid. For the copyright parasite, somebody not even born when the original was created can hold ransom some unrelated person’s creative work and insist on payment from some other person who, again, wasn’t even born when the original was created.

                And that’s just not right.



      • Max
        Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        Lawrence of Arabia was butchered for its initial wide release and in the years since then. There have been two major restorations done, first in the mid-late 80s, then for the current Blu-ray release. This was all done at a cost in the millions. The fact that the original shoot was 50 years ago does not mean that no one involved in this film deserves royalties for the fruit of their work. Then there’s the expense of mounting a video release. You don’t believe Sony deserves compensation for the expense and effort?

        And as for you assertion that “it’s not the file sharers who are starving them,” you are wrong. As someone who has made a film and had it released on video, I can tell you from my wallet that sales dropped DRASTICALLY as soon as the torrents for it appeared.

        • jesse
          Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          Thank you for this. You wrote it much more clearly than I could have. Sorry for your film/video experience.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      This discussion is made more complex by the fact the YouTube post is evidently the longer director’s cut only quite recently released on DVD within the past few years.

      • jesse
        Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

        Interesting. Also, from my viewpoint, depressing.

  7. Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on victormiguelvelasquez.

  8. jesse
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I should add that I’m sure Turner Classic Movies on cabletv will run the full restored version of this film very soon, considering the circumstances.

  9. Gareth Price
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I am sure this reflects badly upon me, but I found the film rather long and boring. In fact, I was watching it a few years back and thinking to myself “I wonder when this is going to end?” when all of a sudden the picture faded and a message came up asking me to insert the 2nd DVD!!!

    • jesse
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      That is too funny! Well, it does not reflect badly on you! Everyone has different tastes that is for sure! And you know, tastes change throughout one’s life and as one’s experiences add up. I re-watch movies from 30+ yrs ago and see totally different things the second or third times around.

      I don’t know what age you are but I would give this message to anyone: you are never to old to change your views on art, or to learn about art.

      I am a very visual person, and colors and composition and photography (cinematography) are fascinating to me. But I recently read that as many as 25% of males have some degree of color blindness. If that is true it is one thing that might affect one’s interest.

      I can think of a hundred things that could affect someone’s viewpoint or interest in a topic.

      For me, I react with awe when I see incredible talent, and when I see a body of work that displays the talent of someone (like David Lean). Reading some history on the film or watching backstories can make an impression too.

      There is a marvelous scene in the Kevin Kline film “De-Lovely” (about Cole Porter) where he comes and goes throughout the night into and out of a nightclub, going through doors and up and down stairs, etc…. and it turned out they used a single shot, no cutting, with a circular room, and Kline quickly changed clothes as the camera panned from stairway to doorway and around. Makes you appreciate the scene so much more to know how it came together.

      Well, I blabbed on didn’t I. I just love movies, can you tell? : )

  10. Posted December 16, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, if this is one of your favorites, surely you love O’Toole’s uttering of one of the great classic atheist lines of all time:

    Lady Claire Gurney: “How do you know you’re God?”

    Jack Arnold Alexander Tancred Gurney, 14th Earl of Gurney: “Simple. When I pray to Him, I find I am talking to myself.”

    –The Ruling Class, 1972

    • bacopa
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      YES! The Ruling Class is O’Toole at his weirdest. I would also recommend Night of the Generals for more O’Toole strangeness. I think Omar Sharif had to work harder in that movie since it was difficult for about the first ten minutes of his screen time to believe he was a Nazi officer, but after that he had me convinced.

  11. Mike Yonts
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    A restored version of Lawrence of Arabia played in theaters 15 or so years ago, in 70mm with the original overture, entr’acte, and exit music—it was a blast to see that way.

  12. Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    Peter Ustinov’s quip about this film was that if Peter O’Toole had been any more good-looking, they’d have had to call it Florence of Arabia.

  13. Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:18 am | Permalink


  14. Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    I have a 1935 fifth reprinting hardback edition of “The Pillars of Wisdom” with a frontispiece photograph of a bust sculpture of T.H. Lawrence, and I must say that Peter O’Toole bore a certain resemblance to that bust.

    By the way, my copy is in the rare variant (green) binding as seen on this website:

    Any takers? 😀

    • Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:37 am | Permalink

      Fifth impression and not reprinting, first edition.

  15. Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    “Since this is on YouTube I’m presuming it’s legal”
    This is every bit as big a leap of faith as “It’s in the bible, so I’m presuming it’s true”.


  16. colnago80
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    A HD 720p version can be downloaded from Bittorrent. However, even though the movie is more then 60 years old, it’s probably not legal.

    Re Ben Goren

    By the way, as I recall, Sonny Bono was a Congressman, not a Senator.

    • Posted December 17, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Yes, you’re right; my mistrake. My remembery of him is obviously getting fuzzy in the decade and a half since he offed himself in a skiing accident….


  17. Mary L
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    One more thumb’s up for watching this on the big screen. I saw it in a theatre on re-release. Stunning.

  18. Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    People, it really is the beginning of the end of the democratization of creative works. Copyright exists because it is easy to copy something. Back when monks copied books, there was no need for copyright. It also meant that only people who were independently wealthy, or paid by those who were (who then of course call the shots), could write books. The file-“sharing” pirates, whether they want it or not, are causing this literally medieval situation to return.

    One could perhaps make a case that stuff on YouTube for which there wasn’t a market in the past (say, short clips from old talkshows) is harmless, but stuff which was created with the understanding that selling copies of it would provide income to the artist—records, books, movies—are clearly a different matter.

    • jesse
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      +1 on all your points. Condensed very well.

      I thought about yesterday’s discussions overnight but of course as an artist whose art has been stolen several times over the years, my personal anecdotes keep getting in the way.

      But I did come to the realization that there are many people who do not have an imagination of their own which is capable of going all the way down to the root of a creative project. So they are blind to the fact that using today’s technology to copy other’s works isn’t very original. Some of it comes from inability to imagine, some is just plain laziness.

      • Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the appreciation.

        Some of the problem comes from a misunderstanding, namely the belief that since it is now cheap for the copier to copy something, then nothing is lost to the artist, since a copy is cheap and hence not worth anything. In the old days, copies were difficult and expensive and thus one had to pay for them, and the money for the artist was included. That made things easier. Now that the cost of making a copy has dropped, many people forget that the artist is still entitled to his royalties.

        • Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

          I think you will all find the Pirate Party’s stance on copyright interesting and rather enlightened:

          • jesse
            Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

            I, sadly, found a pirating website yesterday and saw the attitude. Techno geeks who call anyone coming to the website to claim copyright as a good thing were called trolls and comments deleted.
            V, I’m afraid I don’t have much more interest or time to go to the one you suggest, altho thank you. It in the end serves me little purpose personally and I have to pick battles. It was just an eye opener for me to know how bad it’s gotten.

            It is very sad when someone believes that for example, To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the greatest American novels ever, should be free after 25 years to be used and abused by someone who had nothing to do with its creation or success. All the effort that went into that lovely portrait was financed not by the computer geeks but by the author’s benefactors and publishers who believed in it.

            BTW if you ever wish to watch a remarkable homage to that book and to the author (still alive), please do go to PBS and look for the American Masters episode on Harper Lee : Hey Boo. It really shows how much work goes into some works of art, and it’s a loving tribute to the creative process.

            • Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

              Pirating websites have nothing to do with the Pirate Party. You passed judgment on the link I provided without bothering to read it. You obviously don’t know anything about the Pirate Party, and that is sad. Among many other things, Pirate parties all over the world support civil rights, direct democracy and participation in government, reform of copyright and patent law, free sharing of knowledge (open content), information privacy, transparency, freedom of information and network neutrality. Check both my links out before dismissing them offhand and in ignorance. Here is the second link:


              • jesse
                Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

                It is not sad that I did not go.
                It is not sad that I didn’t choose to go to the link that you had simply supplied without having explained why I should go.
                Everyone has time limitations. I spent all day yesterday reading and considering Ben’s comments and the other issues on this post.

              • Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

                What is sad is that you passed judgment without knowing what it is all about.

            • Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

              The Pirate Party isn’t some filesharing Web site; it’s a dynamic new political party with representation in parliaments in Europe and, I think, now, even Australia.

              And nobody disputes that hard work goes into crafting art. But hard work goes into all sorts of other endeavors, as well, and it’s only the Disney executive board and their ilk that actually profits from the hard work of artists decades after the work is complete. That’s the heart of the matter: why does Bob Iger deserve massive payments for a retelling made before he was born of one of Charles Perrault’s (1628-1703) settings of an ancient folk tale, and what the fuck gives him the right to prevent anybody else from doing the same?


  19. John Francis
    Posted December 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I understand that the movie was first published without a copyright notice. So its in the public domain due to failure to comply with required legal formalities in place at the time.

    • Max
      Posted December 30, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      That’s not the way copyright works.

      • Posted December 31, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        It’s the way copyright used to work; automatic copyright is a very recent invention. I don’t have all the relevant dates at hand, but Lawrence of Arabia is certainly from the right era that it’s a very plausible claim.

        As best I know, there hasn’t been any (significant) retroactive copyrighting. If John’s correct about the details, then it is, indeed, in the public domain.

        However, a preliminary bit of Googling doesn’t reveal any relevant hits, so John might not be correct about the details.



        • Max
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          I never said “automatic.” The fact that there may possibly have not been a copyright notice on the print of the film in the theater does not mean that a copyright was not submitted to the LOC. It was, in fact registered in 1962 (LP0000025769) by Horizon Pictures.

          • Max
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

            And renewed by Horizon in 1990.

%d bloggers like this: