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Eyes on the Prize Out of Copyright Limbo

After more than a decade out of circulation, Eyes on the Prize is back in television and recorded release. The award-winning documentary series about the American civil rights movement had been bogged down by copyright restrictions since it last aired in 1993. Recently, with significant grants from two philanthropic foundations, PBS has been able to clear most of the licenses necessary to bring Eyes on the Prize back to the public. Those portions of the documentary for which renewed licenses could not be obtained have been replaced in the newly released version. The re-release is of especial significance to educators, who have been forced to use increasingly degraded and unviewable videos in showing the documentary to students over the past 13 years.

Charles Ogletree, Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, says, "Eyes on the Prize is perhaps the most gripping informative and frustrating portrayal of the civil rights movement that is available on video. Henry Hampton and his supporting cast gave America an opportunity to look in the mirror and see the dark side of racism. Its tranformative qualities in the way we think about race should help the next generation of youth understand the urgency of our need to solve the America dilemma of race."

The first six hours of the documentary will begin airing one hour per night, Monday nights on PBS, starting October 2. Depending on viewer response, the second series of eight hours may also be aired. Eyes on the Prize is now also available new on DVD and video, also for the first time in many years.

The Berkman Center has studied the relationship between copyright and education, most recently releasing "The Digital Learning Challenge: Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyrighted Material in the Digital Age."