The Center For Social Media conducted a study of the costs and effects of clearing intellectual property on independent documentary filmmakers. They look at the costs, the process, and the impact on how films are made and on what subjects. Then they make some recommendations.
To any filmmaker who thought they were the only one who had problems with clearing an image, a trademark or--heaven forbid--a piece of music, take comfort: it's an expensive pain in the ass for everyone. You just can't do anything about it. Yet.
Some eye popping examples of their key finding:
Rights clearance costs are high, and have escalated dramatically in the last two decades. [thanks in part to consolidation of film and photo archives (hello, Corbis, Getty...)]
Untold Stories: Creative Consequences of the Rights Clearance Culture for Documentary Filmmakers [CSM, via boingboing]