This Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use makes clear what documentary filmmakers currently regard as reasonable application of the copyright “fair use” doctrine. Fair use expresses the core value of free expression within copyright law. The statement clarifies this crucial legal doctrine, to help filmmakers use it with confidence.
Copyright as we understand it today is the result of evolving practices and legal changes. It contains features protecting the rights of authors and others protecting the rights of those who wish to use the author’s material without permission. Both are critical to the production of new creative work.
For each video, consider the following questions: Why is this video fair use? What specific categories of fair use does the video employ? What arguments can you make for why this video is fair use? Scroll to the bottom of the page to check your answers.
When college kids make mashups of Hollywood movies, are they violating the law? Not necessarily, according to the latest study (PDF) on copyright and creativity from the Center and American University’s Washington College of Law.
This document is a code of best practices that helps creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in the making of online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances.