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Journalism & Fair Use

The Center is proud to present our lastest report, Copyright, Free Speech, and the Public's Right to Know: How Journalists Think about Fair Use. Conducted jointly with the Information Justice and Intellectual Property program in American University's Washington College of Law, the project takes a deep look into the way journalists deal with copyright issues, which can affect not only their own careers, but journalism as a whole.



Clipping Our Own Wings Copyright and Creativity in Communication Research

Communication scholars need access to copyrighted material, need to make unlicensed uses of them in order to do their research, and often—especially within the United States—have the legal right to do so. But all too often they find themselves thwarted.



How Documentary Filmmakers Overcame their Fear of Quoting and Learned to Employ Fair Use

A Tale of Scholarship in Action, this article appeared in the International Journal of Communication, Vol 1 (2007).

Transcript of the Ask The Experts Online Q&A on Fair Use

Ever wonder if you can use a photo you took at the march or a clip mentioning CNN on YouTube? Whether you are a blogger, a photographer or a filmmaker, it is not always clear where your freedom to use content publicly might be legally questioned. When it comes to using copyrighted material, you have more rights than you think.

Expanding User Rights For Documentary Filmmakers

Funded By: Rockefeller Foundation and Grantmakers In Film And Electronic Media.

Untold Stories: Creative Consequences of the Rights Clearance Culture

The Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices began with a study demonstrating the problems that documentary filmmakers face in getting and controlling rights for their creative work. Here is the 2004 report, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Answers to Common IP Questions for the Independent Documentary Filmmaker

To help relieve some of the attendant burdens and potential expenses that could incur for failure to comply with intellectual property clearance, the filmmaker should thoroughly and scrupulously explore available clearance alternatives.

Intellectual Property Issues for the Social-Issue Documentary Filmmaker

Cultural arts journalist Shari Kizirian provides an overview of intellectual rights issues--copyright, trademark, digital rights management--as they affect the creative work of filmmakers.




Unauthorized: The Copyright Conundrum in Participatory Video

Suppose you're running an online video platform, and people start uploading video that uses other people's work. How should unauthorized use of other people's work be treated in this new environment?

The Good, The Bad and the Confusing: User-Generated Video Creators on Copyright

How do creators of content on the plethora of sites that accept online video understand their rights and responsibilities regarding intellectual property? Addressing this question is challenging, since the pool of creators is not only diffuse but constantly changing. In this study, undergraduate and graduate college students who upload online video were asked to describe their practices and attitudes on using copyrighted material to make new work and on the value to them of their own copyright. Includes links to press coverage of report.




The Law of Fair Use and the Illusion of Fair-Use Guidelines

This article analyzes the origins of guidelines, the various governmental documents and court rulings that reference the guidelines, and the substantive content of the guidelines themselves to demonstrate that in fact the guidelines bear little relationship, if any, to the law of fair use.

Copyright, Fair Use and Motion Pictures

The increasing reliance of motion picture production on the appropriation of reality has given rise to tensions that have been expressed in terms of conflicts over copyright. These tensions have become more acute over time, as the “real” environment has become more and more saturated with media artifacts, and as copyright law itself has extended its domain over more and more of those media objects.

Copyright Backgrounder

This concise background document describes what copyright is and what can be copyrighted, as well as what material is in the public domain and what is fair useable. Michael Donaldson is an attorney in Los Angeles, many of whose clients are leading documentary filmmakers. His book, Clearance and Copyright (Silman-James Press, October 2003), from which much of this information has been drawn, is widely regarded as a basic text for documentary filmmakers. Donaldson also contributed his expertise to the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use.

How to Find Out What is in the Public Domain

Professor Peter Hirtle explains when copyrighted material falls into the public domain.

Fair Use: An Essential Feature of Copyright

Hearing testimony by Peter Jaszi explains the legal significance of the doctrine of fair use, for creators, consumers and commerce.

"Yes, You Can!"--Where You Don't Even Need 'Fair Use'

This helpful guide by Peter Jaszi offers insight into what falls into the category of free use.

Repurposing and Rights: A Non-Profit Summit

The Center hosted on May 22 at American University a convening, "Repurposing and Rights: A Non-Profit Summit," composed of public broadcasters, librarians, archivists, scholars, lawyers and new media experts.