Struggle In Jerash
As part of an international fellowship at Makan organised by Gasworks we have been researching Jordanian copyright. Based on the latest English translation of copyright law we have come to the conclusion that film productions over 50 years old are now in the public domain in Jordan.
Article (31): Works Included in the Fifty-Year Protection Period: The protection period for the following works shall apply for fifty years as of the date of their publication, provided that the calculation of this period starts as of the first of January of the calendar year following the actual publication date thereof: a) Cinematic and television production works. However, if same are not published with the consent of the right’s holder within fifty years as of the date of completing this work then the protection period shall commence as of the date of its completion, which is considered the first of January of the calendar year during which the actual completion of the work was realized. [...]
We understand that there have been a number of amendments to the law since 1992 which are currently only available in Arabic. We working with intellectual property lawyer Ziad Maraqa who is helping us to make sense of the interrelated legal documents and agreements which map out the terrain of Jordan's public domain.
During our research we have come across a Jordanian feature film called Struggle In Jerash produced in 1957 (dir. Wassif Sheik Yassin / prod. Jordanian Film and Performing Arts Co). Struggle In Jerash is the first feature film produced in Jordan. This film is bound by Jordanian copyright law and entered the public domain in 2008.
During our residency we worked with the 1957 Jordanian feature film Struggle In Jerash – part 50s gangster flick and part tourist documentary. We recorded a series of discussions with Jordanian artists, curators, critics, musicians and filmmakers to create a multi-voiced audio commentary for the film. Our cut-and-paste commentary subverts the standard authorial voice of the DVD bonus feature and, guided by our interlocutors, we tour the shifting borders of the region interrogating value and meaning in the material. Although notorious as the country’s first feature, the film is not in general circulation. Later this year we plan to use established pirate networks in downtown Amman to manufacture and distribute this public domain film on a Jordan Creative Commons licensed DVD.
Article about Struggle In Jerash (1957)
Article about Jordanian Film
Amman Filmmakers Cooperative