A Fair(y) Use Tale
Julie is the Director of Copyright and Fair Use and a Lecturer in Law. She represents writers, filmmakers, musicians, and others who rely on fair use in creating their works. Julie has represented visual artist Shepard Fairey in copyright litigation against The Associated Press over Fairey’s “Obama Hope” posters, RDR Books in its copyright and Lanham Act dispute with J.K. Read more » about Julie Ahrens
Tim is a Fellow at the Center for Internet & Society. He splits his time between representing authors, filmmakers, musicians, and others who rely on copyright fair use in creating their works, and pursuing a scholarly research agenda. Tim’s research interests include trademark theory, copyright and trademark fair use, and various doctrinal areas governed by the First Amendment, including commercial speech and campaign finance regulation. Read more » about Tim Greene
Daniel is a Staff Attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He is part of EFF's intellectual property team and focuses on patent reform. Before joining EFF, Daniel was a Residential Fellow at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet & Society where he represented writers, painters, filmmakers, and others who rely on fair use to create their art and scholarship. Read more » about Daniel Nazer
After both the state and federal courts rejected the attempts of Yoko Ono Lennon and EMI Records to enjoin the showing of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed on the ground it used a 15-second fragment of John Lennon's Imagine, all of the plaintiffs in both cases have now withdrawn their claims and dismissed their cases.
This is the right result to be sure. There should never have been any doubt the filmmakers who were sued here had every right to use a short segment of a song for the purpose of criticizing it and the views it represents. But the right result came far too late. The mere pendency of these cases caused the film's DVD distributor to shy away from releasing the full film -- the version that includes the Imagine segment. So the film goes out on DVD on October 21 in censored form, illustrating the damage that even an unproved and unsupported infringement claim can do.
At the same time, the result here -- great but imperfect -- is a fantastic lesson in how we might start to solve the fair use dilemma. We launched the Documentary Film Program with Media Professional Insurance and Michael Donaldson to help solve a critical problem: fair use rights are expensive to use because they require lots of lawyer time. Media Pro took the visionary step of insuring fair use risks. We and Donaldson agreed to mediate these risks by vetting the fair use issues ahead of time. (We do it for free; Donaldson has to make a living.) Donaldson reviewed Expelled, and Media Pro insured it. When its producers got sued, we agreed to defend it pro bono, alongside the producers' regular counsel at the Locke Lord firm. Together we won, kept the cost to Media Pro minimal, and thus demonstrated that the fair use problem can be solved, in many (but perhaps not all) cases by teamwork like this.
I'm proud to have been a part of it. Read more » about Expelled Is Absolved
Prepare for an exciting, enlightening ride around the world and across the Universe!
Acclaimed filmmaker Paul Devlin's brother, Mark Devlin, PhD, leads an international team of astrophysicists from the Arctic to the Antarctic to launch a revolutionary telescope on a NASA high-altitude balloon. No less than the origins of the Universe are at stake on this risky scientific adventure that seeks to answer humankind's most basic question, How did we get here? Read more » about BLAST!
The film is the first, definitive documentary on the life of the legendary jazz vocalist. In Anita's own words, we hear the tale of a musical genius who broke race barriers and lived her life boldly, unconventionally without ever looking back. She overcame great adversities including a 15 year long heroin addiction, rape, and alcoholism. Anita's life epitomized the story of survival by a female American master. Read more » about Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
We're happy to report that the Court rejected Yoko Ono Lennon's request to enjoin the further showing and distribution of Expelled. In a twenty-three page memorandum opinion and order issued today, the Court held that the producers and distributors of Expelled are likely to prevail on their fair use defense and denied Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction in its entirety. Read the full opinion here. Read more » about Court Holds Producers Of Expelled Are Likely To Prevail On Fair Use Defense; Rejects Yoko Ono Lennon's Injunction Request
Presenter: Julie Ahrens
Fair Use is an important doctrine allowing use of copyrighted works without the owner’s consent in certain situations. But documentary filmmakers and producers of online content under utilize the fair use doctrine in their work. The creation and circulation of information to the public, and public debate, is shaped and limited as a result. This session will explore the fundamentals of fair use, as well as what may and may not be permissible, best practices and new developments. Read more » about Fair Use: Now More than Ever
Expected to Attend: Peter Jaszi (Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, American University Washington College of Law), Julie Ahrens (Center for Internet & Society, Stanford Law School), Dan Satorius (moderator). Read more » about Protect Your Rights: Fair Use - NYC Documentary Film Festival
Come see the Bay Area screening of Documentary Film Program participant No Way Out But One. This inspiring true story is about Holly Collins and her children—the first U.S. citizens to be awarded asylum by the Netherlands for protection from domestic violence.
Lark Theater, Larkspur, CA
Q & A with Garland Waller after the screening Read more » about Screening of No Way Out But One