Aufderheide and Sinnreich (2015)
|Aufderheide and Sinnreich (2015)|
|Title:||Documentarians, fair use, and free expression: changes in copyright attitudes and actions with access to best practices|
|Author(s):||Aufderheide, P., Sinnreich, A.|
|Citation:||Aufderheide, P., & Sinnreich, A. (2015). Documentarians, fair use, and free expression: changes in copyright attitudes and actions with access to best practices. Information, Communication & Society, (ahead-of-print), 1-10.|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Online survey of documentary filmmakers, with 489 responses.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
This study, based on a survey of 489 documentary filmmakers, is a case study in copyright policy in and through practice. It assesses the changes in documentary production practice around clearance of copyrighted material since the creation of the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in fair use in 2005. Fair use, an exotic and occasional feature of documentary film in 2004, has become well-known and commonly employed. Creative options for filmmakers concerning use of third-party material have dramatically improved with changes in norms after the issuing of the Statement. Attitudes about fair use are strongly associated with free expression and creative opportunity, and vary with experience. Where filmmakers have changed work because of copyright concerns, they themselves rather than any gatekeeper have made the decision to do so. Where change is associated with fair use, risk is a common concern. Newer filmmakers are more likely to support use of copyrighted material to make new work, but less likely to know about fair use, and also more likely to have experienced takedowns online. Both education about and experience with fair use appear to have an effect on practice. Filmmakers continue to lack reliable information on the actual risk landscape, and about fair use on digital platforms.
Main Results of the Study
Main results of the study:
- In terms of documentary film-making, increased awareness of group expectations has changed the way that copyright law is used, and thus the utility of the law, and clarity regarding best practices has increased institutional support for creators.
- The use of the Best Practices statement and related activities has transformed employment of fair use into common industry practice.
- Documentary filmmakers’ understanding of and employment of fair use shows a remarkable shift from 2004, when a qualitative study showed widespread uncertainty and when fair use claims were a rare exception rather than a routine feature of filmmaking.
- Today’s filmmakers overwhelmingly perceive fair use as an aid to free expression, and furthermore an aid to expression that does not harm their own ability to use copyright monopoly rights.
- They routinely expect to accompany fair use with credit to third-party creators, which they view as a primary ethical obligation.
- Their knowledge of and confidence in fair use is broader even than their familiarity with the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Fair Use, which suggests that the professional values articulated in the document have been widely internalized in industry practice.
- Many filmmakers have paid for and requested permission to use work when they did not believe they should have to, under fair use, and most of them have changed final product because of copyright concerns.
- Concerns about legal and economic risk appear to be the chief reason filmmakers overlook their own fair use rights, and have come more from the filmmakers themselves than from their gatekeepers.
- These concerns appear to be associated not with any confusion about the legitimacy of their fair use decisions but a lack of awareness of the widespread acceptance of fair use among peers, collaborators and gatekeepers.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- Early-career filmmakers could improve their creative opportunities by better understanding their fair use options.
- More experienced filmmakers could improve their creative opportunities by better understanding open licenses and digital production and distribution platforms.
- The profound shift in industry practice demonstrates the power of creative consensus around application of the law to change practice at the creative, business and legal levels.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||Not stated|