I’m Blogging from a cafe on boulevard de Maissoneuve across the street from Concordia University, where I’m attending the Visible Evidence conference. I’ll write a longer discussion of the conference later, but I just wanted to briefly mention one of the panels I attended this morning, which focused on copyright issues for documentary filmmakers and scholars, including the problem of clearing rights to copyrighted film and TV footage or music (significant examples included Eyes on the Prize, a civil rights documentary that includes copyrighted music, including the song “Happy Birthday” and Robert Greenwald’s Outfoxed, for which Greenwald cited “fair use” in using short clips from FoxNews. I’ll hopefully write more about this panel, because the panel offered valuable comparisons of copyright law in the US, Canada, and the UK. But certainly one o fthe main concerns was the potential for copyright to inhibit documentary filmmakers, preventing them from telling certain kinds of stories because of copyright law (during the Q&A, there were also some valubale questions raised about the role of peer-to-peer and other forms of distribution).
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