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HN206 - Creating Documentary - Onuora: Copyright
Resources and tutorials for students creating documentaries in Professor Onuora's IN206 honors seminar.
This indispensable guide distills the authors’ years of experience advising documentary filmmakers, English teachers, performing arts scholars, and other creative professionals into no-nonsense advice and practical examples for content producers. Reclaiming Fair Use begins by surveying the landscape of contemporary copyright law—and the dampening effect it can have on creativity—before laying out how the fair-use principle can be employed to avoid copyright violation.
As hip-hop rose from the streets of New York to become a multibillion-dollar industry, artists such as Public Enemy and De La Soul began reusing portions of previously recorded music for their songs. But when record company lawyers got involved, everything changed. Years before people started downloading and remixing music, hip-hop sampling sparked a debate about copyright, creativity, and technological change that still rages today.
Copyright law was once an esoteric backwater, the special province of professional authors, publishers, and media companies. This is no longer the case. In the age of social media and cloud storage, we have become a copying and sharing culture. Much of our everyday communication, work, and entertainment now directly involves copyright law. Copyright law and policy are ferociously contested. Record labels, movie studios, book publishers, newspapers, and many authors rage that those who share music, video, text, and images over the Internet are "stealing" their property. By contrast, copyright industry critics celebrate digital technology's potential to make the universe of movies, music, books, and art accessible anytime and anywhere - and to empower individuals the world over to express themselves by sharing and remixing those works. These critics argue that excessive copyright enforcement threatens that promise and stifles creativity. In [this book], Neil Weinstock Netanel explains the concepts needed to understand the heated debates about copyright law and policy. He identifies the combatants, unpacks their arguments, and illuminates what is at stake in the debates over copyright's present and future.
Copyright and Fair Use FAQ from Stanford University's Copyright and Fair Use Center includes extensive information on copyright law, including fair use, the public domain, and academic & educational permissions.
The video below, from the Copyright Clearance Center gives a basic overview of concepts related to copyright law.
From the Center for Social Media, "written by veteran filmmakers to help other filmmakers understand some instances where using copyrighted material without clearance is considered fair use."
Fair Use & Documentary
The Center for Media and Social Impact has created a series of videos demonstrating fair use and documentaries:
The video below, an example clip (0:38s) from Michael Kirk's PBS documentary "Karl Rove- The Architect" demonstrates the filmmaker taking advantage of fair use to include a 1973 CBS news clip in his documentary in order to make the point that his subject, Karl Rove, has had a long-standing interest in electoral strategies.
Take a look at the many more clips from professional documentaries demonstrating filmmakers taking advantage of fair use on the Center's YouTube channel.
Creative Commons works can be useful sources for documentarians. What is Creative Commons? This video explains.