The First Movie Copyrighted In The US Was Of A Man Sneezing

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The first movie copyrighted is far from a modern day blockbuster, but it’s symbolism in the movie industry for what it achieved will last an eternity. The short clip, and I mean short, is of a man sneezing. Hardly inspiring stuff, I know, but what this simple film did for the entertainment industry has echoed for generations.

There has to be a first for everything, right? First person to pee on the moon or the first thing to be sold on the internet. If it is going to be done, someone or something has to do it first. With the film industry, something had to be the first movie copyrighted. It’s just a shame that it was a less than inspiring film.

The first movie to be copyrighted in the US  featured only one actor, one scene and was only 5 seconds long, but it was made by Thomas Edison. The short movie was called Fred Ott’s Sneeze or Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze. The actor in the film was of course, Fred Ott, who was Edison’s assistant. It featured Ott sniffing a pinch of snuff, and sneezing. It was filmed using a Kinetoscope, which Edison himself had invented. Pretty simple and straight forward, isn’t it?

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But Fred Ott sneezing wasn’t only the first movie copyrighted in the United States, it was also filmed in the first movie studio, the Black Maria Studio in West Orange, NJ. But the truly remarkable thing about this bland film is that it even has its own IMDB page. This is in spite of the fact that it lacks a plot, cast, sound, color, more than one actor, and has to be one of the shortest films ever produced.

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