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Good News: Growing Acceptance of Fair Use in Documentary

At the 2014 Getting Real Documentary Film Conference, hosted by the International Documentary Association, the Center is releasing new research on the embrace of fair use in the field.

Based on a survey of 489 documentary filmmakers by Patricia Aufderheide and Aram Sinnreich, the survey finds that a great majority of documentary filmmakers understand fair use, find it valuable in their work, and have had no trouble with acceptance by broadcasters, lawyers or insurers. Read more...

Making Dangerous Docs: What We Know So Far

Zoom audio recorderThe Center for Media & Social Impact has begun a research project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on the problems filmmakers face when they tackle deep-pocketed, powerful subjects – whether governmental or corporate, national or international. We are interviewing filmmakers, lawyers, insurers, broadcasters, and investigative journalists to find out how filmmakers can protect themselves when making these "dangerous docs." Read more...

Fair Use in Search: TVEyes

TVeyesIs it legal to record all of TV and then let viewers search for topics and view relevant segments?

Yes it is, under fair use. And it goes against everything Fox News argued in a lawsuit it filed against TVEyes, a video clipping service. Read more...

How Fair Use Brought Dream Deceivers to Home Video

Dream DeceiversA new generation is going to see the fabled documentary "Dream Deceivers," because its director employed fair use. 

Back in 1992, David Van Taylor ("A Perfect Candidate," "Good Ol' Charles Schulz") went behind the scenes of a notorious "heavy metal/suicide" trial for his first film.  Two young men had shot themselves, and their parents sued Judas Priest, claiming the youths were mesmerized by subliminal messages.  The masterfully-edited documentary was a look inside the vortex of moral panic.

It was also a copyright nightmare. Read more...

Better Distribution by Giving It Away?

Piracy CrusadeA scholar on piracy gave his book away, and boosted his sales.

The great “intellectual piracy” debate is generally conducted without data, but a recent example provides an intriguing case study. Communication scholar Aram Sinnreich writes about piracy and copyright. His latest book, The Piracy Crusade, argues that the music business’ fight against downloaders has been bad for business and for creative expression.Read more...