Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Today, anyone with a video camera and movie-editing software can make a documentary. But can the aspiring filmmaker afford to make it legally? Just a few years ago the answer often was “no.” Now, thanks to a best practices fair use statement developed and disseminated by their peers, documentary filmmakers are dramatically lowering clearance costs -- the licensing fees paid to copyright holders for permission to use music, text, archival photos and film and news clips -- while also respecting copyright ownership.

These new developments will be explained during a seminar for filmmakers that will be offered by St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA) on December 3. The program, which is entitled Best Practices in Fair Use, begins at 7:00 p.m. and will conclude at 9:30 p.m.

Award-winning filmmaker J.J. Hanley of in Kartemquin Films in Chicago (Hoop Dreams, Refrigerator Mothers, Vietnam Long Time Coming, 5 Girls) will show clips to present her “in the trenches” perspective on fair use. Mark P. McKenna, assistant professor at St. Louis University of Law, will address the legal issues.

The seminar will be held in the Regional Arts Commission’s building, which is located across the street from the Pageant. For more information, call 314/863-6930, or visit the VLAA Web site,

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