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Copyright and Fair Use

Visual Arts Community to Publish Best Practices in Fair Use

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual ArtsAfter two years of research and deliberations, members of the visual arts community—artists, art scholars, museum professionals, and editors—have created a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts, to be released on February 9, just in time for the College Art Association annual conference.

An artist wonders if it’s legal to pull a twitter feed into a work of digital art. An art historian wants to write about the color movement, but can’t spend years working with estates to get permission for illustrations. A museum curator would love to create a digital site to showcase a pathbreaking exhibition…but what about copyright? Read more...

Fair Use Success Stories: Going Clear

Alex GibneyAlex Gibney’s Sundance hit Going Clear takes on Scientology, revealing surveillance, abuse, and using confessionally-obtained information to threaten members who might be considering leaving the fold. It translates Lawrence Wright’s book, Going Clear into televisual form, is slated for HBO, and...it couldn’t have been made without fair use.

Gibney said, elaborating on an interview with John Horn, that fair use was the key to overcoming Scientology’s pull on the major networks, whose news and public affairs footage, as well as film clips, were essential to telling the story visually. Read more...

Fair Use Question of the Month: Exhibiting Activist Letters

Image by Jim Yardly, Civil Rights, Demonstrations, "March to Freedom," Detroit, 1963Dear CMSI,

I work at a community library and we are planning an exhibit on civil rights demonstrations in the area during the 60s. I found some letters from an activist during that time stashed away in our archives. I think the letters would really add to the exhibit, but I’m worried about copyright and the only information I have about the writer is his first name. Is it okay to put the letters on display? Read more...

Fair Use Successes in Documentary Film: The Most Dangerous Man in America

The Most Dangerous Man in AmericaWhat difference does employing fair use make to a film?

Sometimes it means the difference between making a film and not making it.

Take “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” the Academy Award-nominated film about whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. “Knowing how to employ fair use meant that we could finish the film,” said producer/director Judith Ehrlich. Read more...

More Fun with the Public Domain

A Trip to the MoonIn a mostly-copyrighted world, it’s really hard for media makers to find work that’s genuinely public domain (uncopyrighted), but a new project is making it easy.

The collaborative online video marketplace Pond5 (you can upload your own footage to it and sell it there) is launching a library of public domain content that includes 10,000 video clips, 65,000 photos, thousands of sound recordings, and hundreds of 3D models. Read more...