Passion follies

Passion follies
: An elementary school teacher shows sixth-grade students scenes from a pirated copy of Mel Gibson’s Passion. He is suspended, as well he should be.

  • Mike G

    Because he’s showing them a homoerotic S&M movie, or because it was pirated?
    If the latter, I trust you want every teacher who xeroxes out of a book suspended too…

  • billg

    Fuzzy logic, Mike G.
    If the teacher copied small portions of a book he, she, or the school owned, that’s fair use.
    If the teacher copied small portions of the Gibson movie he, she or the school had legally acquired, that’s fair use.
    Pirating a movie is not fair use; it’s illegal. If the teacher copied portions of the Gibson movie from a pirated copy, the teacher deserved the suspension.

  • daudder

    good to know we (still) live in a country free from religious fanatics…

  • Mike G

    Fuzzy logic? More like your fuzzy understanding of the law, BillG.
    If there was a legal copy of The Passion already, and the teacher copied it to VHS using a device to circumvent Macrovision, or cracked it using some program to extract a few scenes, or did any number of other things to circumvent copy protection, that’s a violation of the DMCA.
    Likewise, the legality of showing a VHS tape to a whole classroom rather than renting it through non-theatrical exhibition channels is highly questionable. (Read your FBI warning more closely next time.)
    Fair use? No such thing any more.

  • Go read the story: He was showing (1) a religious movie and (2) a rated movie to sixth graders in a public school. Problem on two counts so far. Next: There are no legal copies of the movie, so showing a bootleg is an additional problem.

  • John Mendenhall

    Jeff, your problem is that he was showing a commercial movie about a man who is devoutly revered–worshipped–by many Christians, though by no means all Christians, and some Christians are conservatives.
    Your dhimmitude is showing, as is your persistent religious bigotry.
    The school in question was Malcolm X School. Wasn’t Malcolm X a “religious” prophet in the viciously racist, anti-Semitic, anti-white Nation of Islam? Was the movie “Malcolm X” a religious movie? Should schools, whose teachers should be suspended for showing movies you believe to be “religious,” be named after latter-day prophets?
    Should there be Elijah Muhammad School, and Malcolm X School, with pictures of the founding prophets on the walls, while the square is scrubbed clean of the very mention of my faith?

  • John, he was showing a rater R movie to sixth grade kids. If I were a parent of a child in that class, my anger would have nothing to do with religion.
    R-Restricted. Under 17 requires a parent or legal guardian.
    I don’t think the teacher qualifies as a legal guardian.
    On the other hand, I prefer that my children do not get studies in religion – any religion – in their public schools.

  • Mr. Mendenhall, don’t be dense. The movie is not available on VHS or any other format yet — it just opened in theaters. And, as has already been pointed out, it’s rated “R.” Unlike Jeff and some others, I don’t think that admiration of this movie is an immediate stamp of anti-Semitism or pro-gruesomely violent movies or whatever, but that has nothing to do with the fact that a teacher brought stolen material into his classroom and showed it to an audience that is prohibited by age from seeing it in its public venues. That’s two rather basic laws, and at least one commandment, broken right there. If his purpose was to show something about Jesus to the kiddies, there are a whole lot of other films he could have chosen that are available in the video store that would have been much more appropriate. (PS to Michele — I have no problem with children being taught about religion, as opposed to being indoctrinated into one faith. One can’t really learn history or study literature or anything coherently without considering the religious views involved. It does not seem from the article’s wording that the teacher was trying to do the latter — his poor reasoning was that he wanted to teach the kids some sort of “social studies” lesson, whatever that means. Then again, maybe he was trying to squeeze some indoctrination in there. Way to go.)

  • As an ordained minister of the UMC, I agree that the teacher should have been suspended an all the counts Jeff addresses, above.
    I have three kids in public schools. I absolutely do not want any teacher showing them rated movies without my advance, specific permission. That it was a pirated copy makes the suspension mandatory.
    I have no problem with religious topics being studied in public schools (Martin Luther, after all, recently read from the Bible to my son’s public high school class). But I can’t think of a context for a 6th-grade class where this movie, which is severely ahistorical, would be appropriate.

  • Hipocrite

    “Pirating” a copy of the passion is legal, if the copy is used only in fair-use venues.
    107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use
    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as… teaching… is not an infringement of copyright… The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.