Expanding User Rights For Documentary Filmmakers

by Nick Lewis

Funded By: Rockefeller Foundation and Grantmakers In Film And Electronic Media

On Sep. 16, 2005, academics, representatives of legal clinics, documentary filmmakers, litigators, and leaders of non-profit entities met to discuss current activities to improve documentary filmmakers’ ability to use copyright law.

Several approaches emerged: research into abuse of copyright; education of creator groups and articulation of best practices; reducing complexity of licensing; providing direct legal services; legal policy intervention that indirectly affects filmmakers (and other creators); and market policy intervention that directly affects filmmakers.

The convening revealed the importance of research on actual practice, the crafting of remedies appropriate to and with participation from creative communities, of developing and publicizing models for exercising user rights that other creative communities can apply mutatis mutandis; the crucial role for legal support for community practice; the potential of policy interventions; and the fruitfulness of communication and collaboration.

Click here to download the full report.