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Old March 24th, 2005, 03:59 AM   #1
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Under what conditions does a documentary qualify as "news"

OK, so I am thinking about doing 2 different documentaries.

The first documentary is about Asian-American mental health and some of the facts about how certain aspects of the Asian-American community population are underserved -- and how the current psychological community does not have the resources to fully provide culturally competent care.

It seems like a high social value kinda documentary. Probably could be a case made that it is newsworthy.

The second documentary is about four average Joe type guys who are trying to learn how to become pick up artists.

This second documentary is, at least on the face of it, a fairly low to moderate social value kinda documentary. Case could be made that it is newsworthy -- although that might be a bit of a stretch. It is true that there are some interesting sociological/psychological components to the documentary-- commentary and analysis from psychological experts, etc. -- -- there's also some way in which this project will educate the public about different working principles of attraction and "game." This documentary also introduces the public to a subculture of people who are dedicated to honing their skills at "game" -- and hopefully will provide an honest look at some of the trials and tribulations of what it is like to be "a nice guy" in this society.

Now, I know that there is greater "legal protection" that is afforded to documentaries -- at least sometimes -- and that so long as the documentary has a principal intention of "providing information"/education that it then shares some of the same legal protections as actual "news".

But under what conditions is a documentary afforded the greater legal protection normally reserved for news?

More to the point, is the second documentary concept that I have going to have the same kind of legal protection as the first?

Thanks for your help.

Albert
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Old March 24th, 2005, 05:52 AM   #2
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Guys --

I found an amazing web site. That deals with all of this stuff.

http://centerforsocialmedia.org/rock/index.htm

Check it out.

Just to answer my own question (I think), I believe that it is likely that the "fair use" defense for the use of copyrighted material would be weaker in the second documentary example for the reasons that the "cultural benefit" of the documentary would be less clear than in the first case.

This having been said, it sounds like "fair use" is a largely nebulous and evolving standard. And that every effort should be made to avoid the costs of potential lawsuit -- even if a filmmaker does prevail, the lawsuit itself could be financially debilitating.

It looks like I am going to be doing a lot of editing/blurring stuff out in post.

Take care,
Albert
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Old March 29th, 2005, 07:08 AM   #3
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That link is great Albert! Thanks! Sorry, have no input on your question..
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