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True Tales of Fair Use: The Most Dangerous Man in America

One of the most impressive recent social documentaries, The Most Dangerous Man in America, has been nominated for an Academy Award. It tells the story of Daniel Ellsberg's decision to release the Pentagon Papers-a story full of important parallels for today. The film is beginning its theatrical release, and we hope to bring it to campus soon. Meanwhile, there's an excellent interview with directors Judy Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith in Filmmaker magazine this month, in which Rick references the Center's work: "We had a very interesting experience with the fair-use issue. I don't know how much you're familiar with Pat Aufderheide and that whole movement, to make that more clear and get filmmakers the right to do it legally. We used a lawyer, Lisa Callif, and she went through every single clip a number of times and confirmed that each one of them was within the 'safe harbor' of fair use, as she called it. And the quality was good enough we could go straight into DV-cam. I think that's a great opportunity for anyone who's looking at this period, to be able to access that material." Lisa Callif, of Donaldson and Callif, draws her confidence on fair use not only from legal expertise but from the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices, which her legal partner Michael Donaldson helped to create.