Smithsonian Deal With Showtime Restricts Access By Filmmakers
by JACQUELINE TRESCOTT
Washington Post, publication date: 04 April 2006
"Jeanny Kim, the vice president for media services at Smithsonian Business Ventures, said the filmmakers who were doing 'more than an incidental treatment' of a subject mainly from Smithsonian materials or wishing to focus on a Smithsonian curator or scientist would first have to offer the idea to Smithsonian/Showtime. Otherwise, the archives could not be used outside the realm of news programs (such as '60 Minutes' and 'Dateline') in most cases.
The new restrictions have outraged some filmmakers and researchers, who are criticizing the limitations placed on public archives, as well as the Smithsonian's refusal to reveal the details of its Showtime contract. Inside the institution, some staff raised questions about the lack of consultation regarding the new policy. Others said the change was overdue because the Smithsonian had lacked control over its property."