The Digital Media Project



Philip Merrill


TRU #88 to make a print of a video scene (repurposing)





Philip Merrill

Affiliation/additional information:

Active Contributor, Pasadena, California

Date submitted:







Name of TRU

to make a print of a video scene (repurposing)


Summary description of TRU

equipment has existed for a long time that enables an end-user to print a snap shot or screen capture from a TV program (description per Leonardo e-mail)


Use records of TRU

The example of printing a scene from a movie or TV has long been a general usage, although perhaps not a common one. Of course expertise in film or video technology made this easier, and people from the production industry were likely to have readier access to the knowledge of how to do this.

The ability to accomplish screen captures from video is now well within the powers of most desktop computers. Most PC users might lack any idea how to do this, but their computers could do it. For perhaps a generation now, the technology and knowledge of how to use it has been near at hand and reasonably available, with many people -- perhaps millions -- having made a personal print from a video scene at some time.

Apart from the narrow instance of screen capture, this TRU can address general repurposing. Repurposing can be considered defined by the actions of a mind putting old things to new jobs through creative rethinking. Ease-of-repurposing can be a compelling benefit for having one's media library in digital form.


Nature of TRU

As an analogue usage, printing video scenes has been no threat to the sales of videos. It has no doubt impacted print publishers of celebrity photographs, but one probably could not demonstrate that it put anybody out of business. To a degree, this has been the sort of "fair usage" that existed on the dry shore, not touching the financial waters of the Author's stream of economic exploitation.

This TRU can serve as a stand-in for all digital repurposing, which is a somewhat limitless area. Other DMP contributions that touch on repurposing include:

  • TRU #76 to restrict adaptation — a list of 11 other TRUs related to the "adaptation" aspect of repurposing
  • TRU #82 of adaptation — note "Possible Digital Support" discussion of "the right to output a version of the internal computer memory in a way that fits the features of the selected output"
  • TRU #36 of distribution — note "Possible Digital Support" discussion "Merchandise manufactured by DM fabrication devices (inc. standard printers) should be branded (at least by watermark) and become subject to the laws and conventions of the analogue world."
  • LBE DMBM WiFi NetKiosk — elaborating distribution concept for DM-branded merchandise
Because this is just the sort of decentralized use that is traditionally unregulated or else not vigorously monitored, it has generally been an unlicensed activity. An exception to this is described at TRU that sales displays will follow acceptable practice, for example movie retail print-packaging publicity will commonly include scenes from movies, and this develops into the cross-market merchandising potential for any brand.

In each case, the issue is what rightsholders rights over the actual media used are affected by this usage. In the analogue world one solution is the minimal requirement that a defendant should have had some financial success to make it worthwhile for anyone to sue him. If a product became successful using an identifiable image of a movie scene, licensing would quickly become a requirement. As long as this is just a college kid decorating his dorm room walls with pictures printed off the Internet, that is more of a fair use.


Benefits of TRU

Benefits people who love the content that is being repurposed, so certainly End-Users but perhaps everybody, MM and RH too.


Possible digital support

Yesterday's "fair use" is tomorrow's Digital Media Business Model. Every aspect of repurposing an entertainment brand's content is capable of having a DMBM built around it. Indeed, wearable computing and programmable jewelry are sure to soon place us in a society where people wear brands on some sort of visible (programmable) display on their clothes.



DMP DRM shall technically enable repurposing and adaptation of content so that rendering or transcoding to new information representation formats will not be hindered by lower-level DRM.

8. References