Moccasin Flats And The Craziness Of Licensing

Most people haven’t heard of Moccasin Flats (IMDB listing, Wikipedia entry), and they really should.

When my Dad was dying, and we were taking care of him, after I’d gotten him to bed one night I was too wired to sleep. I don’t usually watch much TV, but Dad had left the TV on, and I caught something interesting on screen, so I started to watch. Ten minutes later I was hooked, and frantically trying to look up the show I was watching in the internet while I was watching it.

I’d managed to catch an episode of Moccasin Flats, a TV show about the bad side of the tracks in Regina Saskatchewan. I was totally fascinated by what I was seeing. One of the attractions was a friend of mine had lived in Moccasin Flats for a while, and had told me all about the place. And I have native friends. Over the years I’d heard a lot of things from them, and it was fascinating seeing what they’d told me about what life was like on television.

Over the years I’ve caught other episodes, but I’ve never managed to see the show in order. Earlier this week I decided that I deserved a treat, so I went looking to order it on DVD. Much to my annoyance the website was no longer there. In fact a message on the place holder site said that it was for sale.

The Wikipedia article sent me to the producer’s website, where they have DVD’s for sale, and I placed my order. There was a bit of a problem, so I sent them an email, and in the exchange I asked why the Moccasin Flats website wasn’t in operating any more. Apparently it’s a licensing issue, and they had to take the website down.

I understand licensing. I’ve licensed technology before. If your license is for set period, that’s the period, unless you can negotiate a renewal. In fact this is how I’ve advocated copyrights should be handled in Canada, that the copyright should remain the property of the creator, and be licensed for a limited period of time.

But this shows the downside of my proposal. Big Soul Productions has these absolutely wonderful DVDs. But they can’t advertise them on the Moccasin Flats website. Which means that no one knows that they have them, which means that their inventory will last forever.

OK, so they can’t legally keep the website running. That’s fine. What I can do is talk about how much I’ve enjoyed watching Moccasin Flats on TV, and tell you that you can buy your own set of Moccasin Flats DVDs here. Make sure you tell your friends.


Wayne Borean

Thursday November 4, 2010

PS: One further note. This is a Canadian TV show. This means that nudity and the ‘F’ word are both allowable, and this being the bad side of the tracks, they happen.


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