Archive - 2005

Creative Consequences of the Rights Clearance Culture for Documentary Filmmakers

This report from the Center for Social Media studies the effects that intellectual property clearance requirements have on documentary filmmaking. A very comprehensive project, it looks like. This was posted to the Detritus blog, which I administer, by contributor Peter Lopez, but I feel like it's important enough to those who only read this blog to post it here too, as it's very relevant to indymedia video producers.

I've never worried that much about clearances in my films, but I suppose that as I continue to get more exposure for my work I should start thinking about it more. Of course if you know my work you know I have a radical stance on intellectual property. I'm a little concerned though, that a requisite for getting documentary work widely distributed is to be sure all the IP 'i's and 't's are dotted and crossed. But it's very unnatural to me.

Not only the IP stuff, but I also wonder about the use of footage of people only after getting a waiver or whatever it's called. I remember when I was in Juarez there was another videographer there who is from a more professional background, and she passed around these forms to all the people on the delegation. It seems ludicrous when you're doing journalistic work, because you can't reasonably expect to get a form filled out for everyone, especially when filming public events like protests and stuff. So I wonder what the actual real legal rules are? Perhaps it's as fuzzy as IP law - you basically, supposedly, want to try to cover your ass as much as you can, but you'll never completely do that, because you can be sued for anything, and even if the suit has no merit you still have to prove that and pay money to lawyers.