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Claiming Fair Use ‘Properly’

This morning the text I read on my coffee mug “Nothing is ever black or white” was a platitude I applied to the research I did later.
After reading about ‘Fair Use,’ I understand more about my my legal rights to use feature film clips in my next short documentary. I’ll need to be extremely careful about the context in which the clips are used and have an attorney well-versed in copyright clearance review it. I may have to obtain permission for some of the clips I use, but my understanding is that it’s not “literally required.”
According to the Center for Media and Social Impact:
“Often, there will be good reasons to seek permissions in situations where they may not literally be required. In general, then, it never hurts to try, and it actually can help demonstrate the filmmaker’s good faith. And sometimes…it can be critically important.”


Here are helpful sources about Fair Use:
What is in the public domain?
How to find out what is in the public domain?
Independent Feature Project
International Documentary Association
National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture
Women in Film & Video (Washington, D.C. chapter)

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