Is Copyright Law Killing The Documentary?

from the ain't-copyright-grand? dept

A few years back, we wrote about a documentary that couldn't be shown due to copyright problems. It appears this problem is only getting worse. jprlk writes in to let us know about growing concerns from documentary filmmakers that issues concerning copyright make it increasingly difficult to actually make documentary films. Having reached this age where so many people are claiming "ownership" of content and demanding huge fees for any usage, documentary filmmakers run the risk of either getting charged repeatedly with copyright infringement or going through the long, difficult and expensive process of securing the rights. As the article quotes one documentary film maker saying, "Half of my budget is rights clearances, if you can get them." Given that the whole point of documentaries is to document things that are actually happening, it seems rather silly to realize that they can't document many things without first paying for the permission to do so.

Filed Under: copyright, documentaries

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  1. icon
    Dan Zee (profile), 29 Apr 2008 @ 12:21pm

    Michael Moore ruined everything

    Ever since Michael Moore made $100 million on Fahrenheit 9/11 and Al Gore made $30 million with A Inconvenient Truth, no one wants to give away their film, video or sound clips without being hugely compensated.

    But on the other hand, there's a lot of documentary makers who just splice together a bunch of media clips, put a narration track under it (usually bashing Bush) and call it a documentary.

    I think documentary makers need to go back to their roots of actually going out, interviewing people, and shooting their own footage. Frederick Wiseman, for example, has never used a clip from somebody else in his entire career.

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