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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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Other work

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 14:28
Feras Fayyad has been denied a visa to visit the U.S. in support of his latest film, The Cave, due to his Syrian nationality. He is being denied a voice to speak to us out of fear. Likewise, Americans are being denied the opportunity to hear from a vital voice in documentary filmmaking.
Wed, 12/04/2019 - 22:24
Today, IDA and Doc Society , with support from the Knight First Amendment Institute and the Brennan Center for Justice , filed a lawsuit against the State Department on behalf of documentary filmmakers. New rules issued earlier this year by the State Department as part of the US administration’s
Fri, 07/05/2019 - 15:19
By Bruce D. Brown and Simon Kilmurry In August, as many as 100 officers from the Durham Constabulary in England and the Police Service of Northern Ireland raided the homes and searched one of the offices of two prominent documentary filmmakers in Northern Ireland, seizing scores of documents and
Thu, 05/02/2019 - 15:21
Bakur , which translates to “North” in English, is a documentary made with inside access to the Kurdish separatist group, PKK, who are considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and NATO. This was the first time any film crew had ever accessed these camps. Filmed during the peace process
Wed, 05/01/2019 - 10:51
The Honorable Kevin K. McAleenan Acting Secretary U.S. Department of Homeland Security Washington, D.C. 20528 Dear Acting Secretary McAleenan: We are a coalition of 103 civil liberties, civil rights, corporate responsibility, faith-based, human rights, immigrant rights, journalism, media, privacy
Tue, 04/23/2019 - 09:43
Today, IDFA and IFFR issue a joint statement that calls for the immediate release of imprisoned Myanmar filmmaker and festival director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi. We urge you to read the statement and sign your name below.
Mon, 03/04/2019 - 13:07
Dear Documentary Community: On the eve of the East Coast premiere of Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra's Sundance Film Festival Award-winning The Infiltrators at the Miami International Film Festival, one of the protagonists from that film, Claudio Rojas, was detained by ICE and is now in the Krome
Sun, 02/17/2019 - 22:32
Editor's Note: Hans-Robert Eisenhauer, the longtime documentary commissioning editor at ZDF-Arte and a documentary producer for Ventana-Film, Germany, is experiencing an unexpectedly long delay in obtaining his visa to travel to Los Angeles to attend the Academy Awards and IDA’s DocuDay. Eisenhauer
Fri, 01/11/2019 - 13:23
To my friends and compatriots in the documentary community - This is Talal Derki. Over the past few years, I have become very close to this extraordinary Syrian filmmaker. He has won not one but two Grand Jury Prizes for Best Documentary at Sundance -- the first was for the unforgettable RETURN TO
Wed, 03/23/2016 - 10:47
The final chord of "the Blackfish effect" has finally resounded, with a stunning and unprecedented corporate policy announcement from SeaWorld. In January 2013, the documentary Blackfish premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, telling the story "about Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed