Our New sponsor Pinnacle and Documentary "Fair Use" Laws

Tales from the Lonely Road of a Filmmaker.  There is some much needed help in the legal arena for documentary filmmakers!!!
The Lonely Road of a DIY Filmmaker. Fair Use up ahead.
DIY Film Festival attended the IDA (International Documentary Association) evening that defined "Fair Use" for filmmakers. (Lots of resources for documentary filmmakers on their web page).

For detailed information about Fair Use in copyright law please visit


In a nutshell, a consortium of law firms, and University law professors who help documentary filmmakers, have successfully got an exemption from the DMCA (Digital Media Copyright Act) for DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS to use certain items that used to be difficult to use.  As long as the clip falls under the "Fair Use" category (defined on their website) you can use any photograph that is obtained online in your documentary, and any film clip as long as it is being used for "commentary or criticism."
The last two are explained on their website

For those who need clips that they can only find on youtube, or by ripping it from a DVD (which is technically illegal, unless you follow their protocols as described on their website), it is now legal to use clips or photos, music, or other hard to obtain materials for your documentary if it falls under the "Fair Use" regulations ("for purposes of commentary or criticism").
Because boring would be bad filmmaking
DIY Film Fest is not dispensing legal advice, but this is a DIY documentary filmmaker's advice place, so please go to their website to understand clearly what the law says or consult an attorney well versed in it. (These folks helped filmmakers use the law with the recent hits "Room 237" and "Catfish.")  But it's good news for documentary filmmakers who want to use a clip they thought they'd get in trouble for under the "Fair Use" rules.  Worth checking into.

They'd like to hear your tales of woe
They're also asking for filmmakers to help them in their next exemption challenge, which happens every three years.  So if you can detail how and why it was difficult for you to get information for your documentary (in terms of being hard to rip the DVD, or use of a film clip was onerous) they'd like to hear from you.

And now.. a word from our new (old and new again) sponsor Pinnacle...

They're now part of the Corel Family of products, after spending some time under the AVID umbrella.

They're a "do it yourself" editing software, which has some excellent codecs, and can be used by the beginning filmmaker up to professionals who need a laptop PC based system.

The software is affordable, and for those who've used the Microsoft free software, this is a step up. Needless to say, the more you use it, the easier it becomes.  Onwards and upwards!!! Stay tuned!