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Fair Use at the Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival isn't just a showcase for movies, but also a place to meet people and exchange information. At the Filmmakers' Lodge, the festival annually provides space to nonprofits supporting independents at their Outreach Table. Here's Center fellow Mike Shubbuck's report from the (cold) front at the 2010 fest: "On Jan. 24 I had the pleasure of introducing some of the Center for Social Media's reports to filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival's Outreach Table. Although it was a Sunday morning, quite a few people stopped by to learn more about topics that the Center covers, such as fair use. After talking with a number of documentary filmmakers, what was surprising to me was how many of them were unaware of the guidelines that had been drafted to protect them. The most common misconception was, 'If I'm not making money off of a project I can use copyrighted material however I want.' Another myth that was echoed several times was, 'If I try to monetize this project, I can't claim fair use.' Luckily, I was able to straighten this misinformation out. Overall, the majority of those I spoke with wanted more information on fair use, but a close second was sustainable filmmaking and making productions carbon neutral, followed by ethics in documentary filmmaking." Mike signed off and left to find somewhere to warm up in Park City. Good luck, Mike!