For Documentarians: 4 Things to Understand About Fair Use

For Documentarians: 4 Things to Understand About Fair Use.

If I’m not mistaken, these tips are from the same Michael Donaldson who co-wrote Clearance & Copyright with Lisa Callif.  Fair Use is poorly understood by most, but if anyone should understand it as a matter of course, it’s the documentary filmmaker.

I’ve paged through Donaldson & Callif’s book before and it looks like a great pick.  No legalese.  And (as you might have predicted) Amazon will pay me a commission at no extra cost to you if you buy it through this blog post.

Stealing Photos Hurts Photographers! Is Etsy the New Silk Road for Copyright Infringement?

Stealing Photos Hurts Photographers: Is Etsy the New Silk Road for Copyright Infringement?

Etsy has created a system where copyright infringement is almost encouraged. Kharma Lu has not had her account shut down and has not suffered any ill effects for printing and selling my photo without permission. Who knows how many other sellers are doing the same thing?

I could be wrong, but I don’t believe the usual DMCA takedown notices work in this case because Etsy is not posting the infringing image directly on their website, but merely posting photos of goods that display the infringing image.  There is a difference; and I think Etsy may be hiding behind it in order to allow their merchant users to remain undisturbed.  But isn’t Etsy benefiting monetarily from this copyright infringement with the commissions they earn on the sales of such goods?  Aren’t they accomplices to piracy when they let these merchants get away with selling infringing products?

Facts vs. Expression: James Franco Sued for Violating Film Rights to Charles Bukowski Novel

Facts vs. Expression: James Franco Sued for Violating Film Rights to Charles Bukowski Novel.

Can James Franco do a movie about Bukowski’s childhood, even if he doesn’t own the rights to Bukowski’s autobiographical coming of age novel Ham On Rye?  More importantly, do the plaintiff’s claims against Franco have a chance of succeeding at all?  “[I]t’s possible to do a biography without infringement, as facts can’t be copyrighted. But the arrangement of facts in a creative manner can be protected, and so [plaintiff] Humphris is coming to court with an interesting claim that he is essentially entitled to Bukowski’s expression of childhood and any imaginative flourishes therein.” Continue reading