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Today in 1894, Edison Made the First Copyrighted Film Today in 1894, Edison Made the First Copyrighted Film

Today in 1894, Edison Made the First Copyrighted Film

by Yasha Wallin
January 9, 2013

On this day in 1894, the earliest surviving film to be copyrighted in the U.S. was created by Thomas Edison and one of his employees, the English inventor William K. Dickson. The motion picture was one of many made by the company for advertising purposes. It focuses on an Edison Manufacturing Company employee, Fred Ott, who according to the Library of Congress was "known to his fellow workers in the laboratory for his comic sneezing and other gags." Fred Ott's Sneeze, also known as Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze was made on what was called a Kinetograph, and played on a Kinetoscopic.

The five second film captures Ott sneezing after taking a puff of snuff. Ott went on to star in another picture, Fred Ott Holding a Bird, also running just a few seconds because Edison and Dickson "Didn'’t think people would stand the ‘flickers’ for more than 10 minutes.”"

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