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. identicon
    Reed, 29 Apr 2008 @ 3:34pm

    Re: RE: Michael Moore ruined everything

    "So if your making a FILM, for the dual purpose of communicating your ideas and making money, I think media owners should still own rights to their footage."

    Discussing whether or not Moore makes documentaries is beside the point. He has NO problem paying any fees associated by copyrights anyways.

    We are talking about independent documentary producer who can't make their art because of the profound protectionism culture that has formed around content owners.

    Media consolidation has continued to cut out the little guy. Independents have little chance in the current marketplace and instead we find many "pseudo" independents that are just extensions of major production studios.

    The end result is we get less diversity and arguably less quality productions. Copyrights are primarily corporate game to extend their profits for generations to come at the cost of our ability to freely develop new art. We cannot continue to stand idly by while corporations commodify our culture and art and reduce it to nothing more than dollars and cents and then restrict how we can use it.

    The joke is on us I guess if we continue to allow our culture to be hijacked by people who only care about profit.

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