Update on Fair Use Ruling

Posted on by Larry

A couple of weeks ago, I reported on a recent ruling by the U.S. Copyright Office which now allows documentary film producers to decrypt DVDs to gain access to materials on them for their projects.

This process, called “Fair Use,” allows us to use short segments of other materials without paying royalties or requesting permission of the copyright holder.

This recent ruling is a very big win for filmmakers. However, while the broad picture is easy to state, the actual application is murky. For example, it is legal for a filmmaker to use encrypted materials from a DVD, but it is NOT legal for a software company to provide the tools that make this possible!


Last night, on the Digital Production Buzz, I interviewed Jack Lerner, clinical professor of law at USC, and the director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic at USC. He and his team were directly responsible for this ruling and we wanted to learn more.

You need to listen to this interview – it runs about 15 minutes. Not only does he describe the significance of this new rule, but he also provides FOUR specific criteria you can use to make sure that your use of copyrighted materials is covered by Fair Use.

Click here to listen to the Jack Lerner interview. (QuickTime audio file, running time 15:03)

We’ll be covering this more in upcoming shows. For all the latest news on our industry, stay tuned to the Digital Production Buzz.



P.S. We devoted most of the show to this issue. Click here to listen to the entire program.

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