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How Participatory Filmmaking Saved My Career

Filmmaker Bryan Bello rides the metro with Director Levester Green. Photo courtesy of Bryan Bello.That Sunday morning began as all the others, with a rest on the Red Line. Real, uninterrupted rest - well, relatively uninterrupted. The winter walks to the metro from the McDonalds where Levester and I sought refuge between hours of rail operation, always presented the illusion of coming rest.

But no more than thirty minutes into the ride - the distance from Shady Grove to the American University stop where we first met - an all too familiar cold crept into my bones. Metro kept the cars cool to deter us, and others like us, from actively hunting shuteye on their grounds.

When I say “us” I should say, “him.” Levester is actually without housing. I’m just a filmmaker (a student filmmaker at the time) with a rented apartment, who chose to spend his winter weekends on the streets in pursuit of some direct-cinema pipe dream.Read more...

Fair Use Question of the Month: Using Materials without Permission in Journalism

In this month's fEmailingair use question a journalist grapples with how to expose a price-gouging scheme via access to emails he/she does not have permission to publish.

Dear Center for Social Media,

I've been working on an investigative series about local school board contracts, for an online investigative news service. Read more...

Fair Use Question of the Month: Displaying Corporate Ads and Logos in Documentary

VegetablesIn this month's fair use question, a documentary filmmaker expresses her concerns about displaying advertisements and logos from a grocery store on screen.

Dear CSM:

I'm making a documentary on an organic grocery store in my community that is actually "far-from-green."  I hope to include images of their newspaper ads, focusing on disputable claims. I might have to show the whole ad. Is that a problem? Read more...

Fair Use Question of the Month: Is Public Domain a Part of Fair Use?

In this month's fair use question an author explores fair use and public domain in his push to publish a book that uses several long quotes.

Civil War Photograph from the National ArchivesDear CSM,

I’m writing a book that examines the prose of notable American authors published before and directly after the Civil War.  I’d like to quote, in some
cases, several pages. I'm afraid that might exceed permitted quotes--I thought I understood that 400 words is the maximum. Can you help?

Best, Tom 

Howard Dean and the Electoral Machine: Daniel Kreiss Reveals the History of the Democrats and New Media

Daniel KreissObama and Romney own 2012 – they essentially bought it – having spent record sums of money on advertising and campaign stratagems designed to magnetize our attentions and motivate them towards a desired set of actions. As year end features and retrospectives squeeze their way into our nation's newspapers, one worn out phenomenon will predictably dominate the annual backward glance: the election. Read more...