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re: Probably the biggest news from this video is......
Posted by: wmorrow 06:09 am EDT 08/17/22
In reply to: re: Probably the biggest news from this video is...... - AlanScott 07:49 pm EDT 08/16/22

I started with TOFT in the 1990s, and used to work in the screening room, directly with the public. We were supposed to ask each patron why they wished to view a video. I always did, and my co-workers always did, but I'm sure we forgot to do so on occasion, especially when things would get really busy. The written forms were always far more important. There was no need for us to read them at the desk; they were, and are, for posterity. When annual reports are written, we need to know how the archive has been used, and by whom. (It's helpful when seeking grant money.)

As for streaming the videos, well, Alan, you're not the first person to suggest this, and I'm sure you won't be the last. It's highly unlikely, and that's because of the wording of the contracts under which the videos were created. When dozens of people sign a legally binding contract vowing that something will NEVER happen, it's not easy to make it happen. Ask any lawyer. Every party involved (or their representatives) would have to agree to the change, and if any one of them disagreed, it's no dice. It's hard enough to get two people on board with revising a legal agreement, but when you're talking about 10, 15, or 45 people, well, it's nigh on impossible.

It is possible that, if the contracts are renegotiated in the future, videos not-yet-created at this writing might stream online. But the odds this will happen with the older tapes, whether they were created 50 years ago or last week, are slim indeed.

I'll leave you with this: when the late Stephen Sondheim wanted to view a video of one of his own shows, he'd make an appointment and come see it in the TOFT screening room, alongside other viewers. I saw him there on several occasions. People sometimes expressed surprise that he wasn't simply given a copy, or permitted to stream it from home. I'd reply: "He signed the contract, too."
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