Thursday, February 15, 2007

Insurer Accepts Fair Use Claims From Documentary Filmmakers

National Union, a member of AIG, has begun accepting fair use claims based on the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use (direct link to pdf), when supported with a letter from counsel experienced in copyright law.

In recent months, several insurers as well have accepted fair-use claims based on the Statement on a case-by-case basis, after learning about the Statement, which dramatically reduces risk. Lawyers such as Los Angeles-based Michael Donaldson have been crucial in the positive education process that is at the core of the best practices model. Now, leading insurance company National Union has made this consideration routine (without of course abandoning the case-by-case consideration that is core to fair use).

All documentarians should be paying attention to this development as it could have lasting impact on a number of production issues, including the comfort level of investors, and general liability for the production.

The Center for Social Media has a number of other helpful fair use documents located on its site.

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