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Workshop: Understanding Fair Use


Fair use is a term frequently thrown around when discussing clearances for documentary filmmaking, but it’s often accompanied by a question mark – what exactly is fair use, and what does it cover? Giving the ability for documentary filmmakers to use archival footage, stills, and audio seemingly for free, fair use has an aura of magic and mystery. But with any fairytale, there are rules to be followed; and sometimes, it seems too good to be true. And of course, there’s the Warhol Supreme Court case hanging over every archival producer’s head.

In this two-hour workshop, entertainment attorney Chris Perez will clarify and simplify questions about fair use. Chris, who is a partner at Donaldson Callif Perez, current co-president of the IDA Board, and co-writer of Clearance and Copyright, 5th Edition and The American Bar Association’s Legal Guide to Independent Filmmaking, will use his extensive experience helping documentary filmmakers navigate clearance issues to break down the do’s and don’ts of fair use. He will also walk filmmakers through new updates in the law regarding the use of photographs, as well as international issues that need to be considered. 

In the last 30 minutes of this event, Chris will answer audience questions about fair use applications, and what tips over into clearance. There will be some special surprises for IDA members, who will have a chance to win complimentary copies of Clearance and Copyright, 5th Edition.

Topics covered will include:

  • Application of fair use in documentary programming
  • When to ask for permission and who to ask
  • Updates to fair use protocols
  • Fair using international-copyrighted footage
  • E&O Insurance
  • Fair use misconceptions

This class is ideal for:

  • Experienced director/producers working on docs who want to expand their toolkit of storytelling devices.
  • Burgeoning archival producers who want to learn more about their craft
  • Film students and recent film school graduates who want to supplement their education with hands-on expert advice.
  • Seasoned filmmakers who want to refresh or expand their fair use knowledge.

This event will be conducted in English. ASL interpretation and live CART captioning will be provided.

Event Participants