BOOTLEG FILES 778: “The New York Hat” (1912 film directed by D.W. Griffith).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On multiple labels offering silent films.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: An expired copyright.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s already out there, but that’s not why it is in this column.
In the early years of the silent movies, the bootlegging of film prints was completely out of control. Due the primitive nature of film distribution, it was too easy for cinematic miscreants to swoop in and gather up prints and resell them as their own works, thus denying the profits that the original producers should have recived.