It's Like Dogme For Fair Use

Sweet. Lessig announced an insurance/legal services partnership for documentary filmmakers whose films are certified as meeting American University's Fair Use For Filmmakers Best Practices Standards.

Changing documentary clearance practices was huge enough, and already paved the way for PBS to air Byron Hurt's Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes and for IFC to co-produce and distribute Kirby Dick's clip-heavy This Film Is Not Yet Rated, to quote just two of CSM-AU's examples.

But now, if your film certifies--paging Harmony Korrine!--Stanford's Fair Use Project, which has as its mission the market-based reclaiming of fair use rights that have been boilerplated away by risk-averse distributors, will provide pro bono legal support in the event someone makes a copyright infringement claim against it.

Except, you know, when they won't: "If we can’t provide pro bono services, then Michael Donaldson’s firm will provide referrals to a number of media lawyers who will provide representation at a reduced rate."

So if you're going to get sued, perhaps as part of your promotion plan for the film, and you want to get sued for free, try getting sued in a sexy and strategic enough Fair Use Test Case way that kicks SFUP's own ball down the field as well. Good luck with that.

Major News: Fair Use and Film [lessig via bb]
Insurer accepts fair use claims! []
Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use [csm, nov 05]

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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