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Documentary Techniques
-- Discuss issues facing documentary production.

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Old June 18th, 2010, 09:19 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Vancouver, Canada
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Documentary, Fair Use & Copyright

While dealing with my current documentary project, I have taken an interest in the issues surrounding Fair Use and Fair Dealing in U.S. and Canadian Copyright Law. So many creative decisions in documentaries are impacted by the use of archival footage and the first fear of every filmmaker is to be sued for copyright infringement. So I thought I would post these links for discussion.

The Centre for Social Media has put together guidelines for documentary makers when it comes to utilizing fair use in the United States. It has been endorsed and recognized by many major broadcasters, such as PBS, HBO and IFC. It doesn't replace legal advice regarding Fair Use, but it certainly helps when planning a production:

Fair Use | Center for Social Media
Fair Use | Center for Social Media

The Documentary Organization of Canada also has a similar document for Fair Dealing laws in Canada:

Once again, none of this stops you from BEING sued...but it will certainly help in your defence if you cover all your bases ahead of time.

Further to that, here is a good article from the International Documentary Association talking how the guidelines have been used by major documentaries over the last two years:

Fair Use Put to Good Use: 'Documentary Filmmakers' Statement' Makes Decisive Impact | International Documentary Association

Last edited by Bill Currie; June 18th, 2010 at 10:36 AM.
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