“Fair use comes out of the First Amendment. . . Basically, it’s the right to create new works out of old works. . . Fair use applies to all media across the board.”

Michael Donaldson, Entertainment Attorney, Donaldson + Callif, LLC

“Without the fair use law, I don't know how I would've been able to tell some elements of The Garden. There are pieces that were either news footage or video tape of a deposition that I would not have had access to without the use of fair use.”

Scott Hamilton Kennedy, Writer/director, The Garden, Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature Film

“Fair use, by definition, is about not getting permission and not getting a license. . . Transformativeness is the center of the logic. And transformative says, you are reusing this existing work for some new purpose . . .to permit new culture to happen.”

Pat Aufderheidi, Founder, Center for Media & Social Impact

“We relied on third party footage to tell those stories, 40% of Bowling for Columbine were third party images and more than 50% of Fahrenheit 9/11 was third party images. . . There's no way that those stations are going to license that material to you. So, you have to rely on fair use.”

Carl Deal, Archival Producer and Tia Lessin, Supervising Producer for Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11

“Footage out there in the world, whether it's from broadcast archives, whether it's from internet and YouTube, whether it's from other filmmakers, oftentimes it's essential part of the story that we're telling. With "Trouble the Water" we used a lot of fair use to contrast with the on the ground experience of two people surviving Katrina and its aftermath. . .

Tia Lessin, Producer/Director with Carl Deal of Trouble the Water, Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature Film

“I was trying to tell a story that had already occurred. I'm trying to document history. So, pretty much everything that I was looking at, newspapers, photos . . . would all be fair use.”

Jorge Oliver, Dean of the School of Art, Pratt institute, on “Free to Love”


OPF1.5 Writer/director of the Oscar nominated documentary The Garden, founder of Black Valley Films, Scott Hamilton Kennedy illuminates fair use of local news footage in The Garden and incidental, background music in Fame High.

OPF1.5 Multi-award-winning writer/director of Women Behind The Camera and Let Them Eat Cake, Alexis Krasilovsky exercised fair use to include 1960s footage of UCLA students on campus and shots of international women cinematographers at work.

OPF1.5 Emerita Professor in Stanford’s MFA Documentary program, producer/director of PBS/P.O.V. broadcast documentaries, Jan Krawitz discusses her fair use of archival footage and two instances of illegal copyright appropriation of her Drive-In Blues.

OPF1.5 The Oscar-nominated co-producer/co-director of Trouble the Water (2008), Tia Lessin cites fair use examples of news footage and advertising pressures leveled by broadcasters that affected her Behind the Labels (2001) about garment trafficking.

OPF1.5 Author of A New History of Documentary Film and President Emerita of the International Documentary Association, Betsy McLane highlights the need for fair use access to historical material and establishes comparisons to classical and jazz composers.

OPF1.5 & 2.0 Dean of the School of Art at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, for his Free to Love, Jorge Oliver employed fair use to include photos, newspapers and news footage of legislative sessions and music in newscasts. He also addresses the importance of E&O insurance.

OPF2.0 Through clips from Borg, McEnroe and inclusion of behind the scenes footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey in Operation Avalanche, Entertainment Attorney Chris Perez illuminates fair use in relationship to privacy rights in scripted films based on true stories.

OPF1.5 Director/Producer of They Came to Play, Kids with Camera, and Shakespeare High, Film Envoy for the U.S. Department of State’s American Documentary Showcase, Alex Rotaru explains the issue of commercial gain from a transformative work employing fair use. 

OPF1.5 & 2.0 Producer of The New Black, director/producer of Sisters in Cinema, and founder of the Chicago-based nonprofit Sisters in Cinema, Yvonne Welbon demonstrates fair use of radio audio and discusses trademark and architectural copyright. 

OPF1.5 With an Academy Award for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Bound for Glory, ranked by the International Cinematographers Guild as among the ten most influential cinematographers in film history, Haskell Wexler describes fair use of a Coors advertisement in Who Needs Sleep?

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