“Fair use comes out of the First Amendment. . . Basically, it’s the right to create new works out of old works. . . Fair use applies to all media across the board.”

Michael Donaldson, Entertainment Attorney, Donaldson + Callif, LLC

“Without the fair use law, I don't know how I would've been able to tell some elements of The Garden. There are pieces that were either news footage or video tape of a deposition that I would not have had access to without the use of fair use.”

Scott Hamilton Kennedy, Writer/director, The Garden, Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature Film

“Fair use, by definition, is about not getting permission and not getting a license. . . Transformativeness is the center of the logic. And transformative says, you are reusing this existing work for some new purpose . . .to permit new culture to happen.”

Pat Aufderheidi, Founder, Center for Media & Social Impact

“We relied on third party footage to tell those stories, 40% of Bowling for Columbine were third party images and more than 50% of Fahrenheit 9/11 was third party images. . . There's no way that those stations are going to license that material to you. So, you have to rely on fair use.”

Carl Deal, Archival Producer and Tia Lessin, Supervising Producer for Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11

“Footage out there in the world, whether it's from broadcast archives, whether it's from internet and YouTube, whether it's from other filmmakers, oftentimes it's essential part of the story that we're telling. With "Trouble the Water" we used a lot of fair use to contrast with the on the ground experience of two people surviving Katrina and its aftermath. . .

Tia Lessin, Producer/Director with Carl Deal of Trouble the Water, Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature Film

“I was trying to tell a story that had already occurred. I'm trying to document history. So, pretty much everything that I was looking at, newspapers, photos . . . would all be fair use.”

Jorge Oliver, Dean of the School of Art, Pratt institute, on “Free to Love”


OPF1.5 Award-winning film curator, Director of Programming and Policy for the International Documentary Association, Claire Aguilar emphasizes the critical importance of the fair use shield and the detrimental effect of self-censorship.

OPF2.0 Through clips from No, Lords of Chaos, Transfiguration, and LBJ, Entertainment Attorney Katy Alimohammadi addresses personal rights and confirms the validity of fair use of archival footage to validate historical authenticity.

OPF1.5 Through illustrative examples, documentarian Rodney Ascher substantiates his fair use of extensive clips from The Shining (1980) for his analysis in Room 237, an educational deconstruction entirely focused on Kubrick’s film.

OPF1.5 Pat Aufderheidi, co-author of Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (2018) and the groundbreaking Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use (2005), explains and advocates for fair use rights.

OPF1.5 & OPF2.0 Previous counsel to the New York firm Tannenbaum Helpern, currently Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, Andrew Berger analyzes landmark legal cases related to fair use, including parody in music, art, and print.

OPF1.5 CEO of The Carrier Project and producer of documentaries that have earned over 1,000 awards including 25 Academy Awards and 76 Oscar nominations, Mitchell Block explores serious ethical concerns and filmmaker integrity relating to fair use.

OPF1.5 Over a 50-year, multi-award winning career as a pioneer producer and video artist, Skip Blumberg illustrates and champions fair use rights in experimental video through clips from Nam June Paik’s Lessons from the Video Master.

OPF2.0 Founding partner of Donaldson + Callif, LLP, Entertainment Attorney Lisa Callif shows the extensive range of fair use through a Lady Gaga music video excerpt in Boyhood, news footage in Snowden, and original art in Made in America and Immediate Family.

OPF2.0 Entertainment Attorney Dean Cheley presents the case for fair use confirming historical authenticity through clips from Golden Girls in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and archival news footage in the scripted Snowden and documentary Citizenfour.

OPF1.5 Through multiple examples from his films, Carl Deal defends the essential need for fair use in order to incorporate national news footage. He also describes an illegal, national broadcast of clips from his Oscar-nominated Trouble the Water.

OPF1.5 & OPF2.0 Expert in fair use rights, Michael Donaldson describes fair use history, its inclusion in the U.S. Constitution, and guidelines for nonfiction and scripted films. Examples include: Borat, Super Size Me, 20 Feet from Stardom, Blackfish, and more.

OPF1.5 Associate Professor of Film and Media Production at U of Wisconsin, Chicago; past Director of Film & Digital Media at Loyola University, Aaron Greer employs fair use to add important historical context through archival MLK Civil Rights footage in Flying Away.

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