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Who owns history? How remarkable historical footage is hidden and monetised

Aeon Video: “High-quality video is an invaluable way of transporting viewers to the past and helping to put the world in context. From the late 19th century to today, cameras have been there to capture some of history’s most important moments, from pivotal battles, to civil rights marches, and even moonwalks. However, as A History of the World According to Getty Images details, some of the most extraordinary footage ever shot is locked away behind paywalls by a few companies that charge exorbitant fees for access and usage – even in cases where the material has entered the public domain, or was never even owned by anyone at all. In his riveting video essay, the UK filmmaker Richard Misek sets out to release these images from ‘captivity’. Starting with a montage of dramatic historical footage followed by a roundup of the high price-tag they command, Misek then dives into a series of clips one at a time to detail their history, including how visual media companies have exploited them. Ultimately, he makes a compelling argument that this murky practice has major public interest implications that extend far beyond the high price-tag for filmmakers.”

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