Fair use and documentary films

I am very interested in how culture evolves, how technology and art are inspired, and how prevailing laws enable or choke that innovation. I read Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture when it came out and was fascinated with the history of innovation and his hypotheses on where we were headed.

I’ve been meaning to find Lessig’s blog and today, someone emailed me a link to his blog that talks about an exciting new development in the documentary film world. The Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices outlines all the ways documentary filmmakers can follow the rules on Fair use and protect themselves. Those filmmakers who are certified to have followed those guidelines be able to get insured and therefore, their films will be able to get released. Earlier, the risk of getting sued was so high that some of these films never saw the light of day.

What a great step. Setting out the rules of Fair Use, easing the process of getting clearances, reducing the risk of being sued and therefore, increasing the capability to innovate. Excellent. (Thanks for the email, Evan!)

On a similar vein, watch this informative video on Net Neutrality which will have a big impact on how we innovate, communicate and create (although the video gets a little preachy/angry towards the end).

Video via: Lessig’s blog