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IDA is at the forefront of protecting and advancing the legal rights of documentary artists, activists and journalists. Recent efforts have focused on promoting net neutrality, fair use and government arts funding, as well as defending filmmakers’ first amendment rights.

DMCA Exemption for Documentary Filmmakers

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes it unlawful to rip from DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and many other encrypted technologies to prevent unauthorized access to copyrighted works. The law blocks filmmakers' ability to make fair use of invaluable footage. While fair use allows us to use copyrighted footage, the DMCA restricts our access to such material. Since 2010,  IDA and its Board of Directors members from the University of Irvine (UCI) Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic and Donaldson + Callif have represented a coalition of major independent filmmaking organizations in the effort in protecting documentary filmmakers' exemption from the DMCA. 

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An illustrated film projector with a frowning face throwing the words "The Price of Passion"
Rebecca Day and Malikkah Rollins speak with Documentary magazine about the ever-present need for mental health resources for documentary filmmakers: “What we are really trying to focus on here is the filmmakers’ key role, rather than the hierarchical structure that puts them in this massive power game.”
The Ukrainian flag flying over a city.
It has been deeply troubling to watch our peers in the Ukrainian film community have their lives and work unraveled by the horrors of war. The International Documentary Association (IDA) has joined over 500 film professionals and institutions from around the world in signing a letter in support of
An image of Claudio Rojas, a latino man with black hair, embracing a family member. Courtesy of Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera.
Nearly three years after being deported following the world premiere of Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra’s The Infiltrators at Sundance, activist Claudio Rojas, who has a prominent role in the film, has been reunited with his family in South Florida. Rojas’ deportation had been decried as a clear act
Filmmaker Nico Opper and their baby, Jonah making faces at the camera. Opper is wearing black-rimmed glasses and Jonah, an orange shirt. Courtesy of Nico Opper.
Last June my debut feature film Pray Away premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. It is a career milestone I am grateful for, and one I’ll never forget for many reasons. This includes having experienced the majority of said premiere overwhelmed and half-topless in a production trailer behind the big
A young Afghan couple pictured in the snow. Image from Elizabeth and Gulistan Mirzaei’s ‘Three Songs for Benazir,’ which is set and filmed in refugee camps in Afghanistan. Courtesy of the filmmakers.
For over four weeks, a small team of colleagues from the D-Word online community has been frantically working to help our list of 75 Afghan nationals; some are documentary professionals, some are extremely high-risk young people, some are single women who have worked in TV journalism and women’s
Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei standing in an Afghanistan desert with a camera, in 2019. Gulistan is carrying their daughter, Maryam. Elizabeth is wearing a headscarf, Gulistan is wearing a black t shirt and glasses, Maryam is wearing a striped shirt and floral pants. Image courtesy of the authors.
By Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei We are writing this with sleepless eyes, shaking hands, and knots in our stomachs that grow tighter with each bit of news coming out of Afghanistan, as if an invisible but unbreakable string connects our hearts over continents and oceans. There is an Afghan
film still from 'Angels are Made of Light' of Afghan girls in school session in a courtyard.
Several of my former 'Angels are Made of Light' are targets for execution by the Taliban because of their work for US-funded projects in Afghanistan. We hope that with your help, we can draw attention to the SIV applications of my friend and bring him to safety.
Dear Documentary Community: In 2019, many of you joined our call to federal immigration leaders to release Claudio Rojas, the protagonist of the Sundance Award-winning documentary The Infiltrators , from immigration detention in Florida. Claudio had been detained by ICE after the release of the film
We write today to express deep concern that during this pandemic, millions of freelance and self-employed workers are experiencing unprecedented income loss and have been unable to access the government assistance that they desperately need.
Letter to Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell CC: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Re: Replenishing PPP funds to support self-employed workers impacted by COVID-19 pandemic Today we are facing the greatest crisis to the freelance workforce in modern history. Freelancers — including self