In an article written for Realscreen, Partner Christopher Perez discusses the U.S. Copyright Office’s latest Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) ruling, which grants a wider exemption for documentary filmmakers.
Mr. Perez worked with fellow Partner Michael Donaldson alongside the University of California, Irvine’s Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic to secure a similar exemption in 2008, which was then expanded in 2012. The latest ruling eases constraints on documentary filmmakers to either only source material from unencrypted sources, or risk violating the DMCA.
Documentary filmmakers have a substantial need for exemptions like these; otherwise, the DMCA’s blanket restrictions are extremely limiting to free speech and to those who wish to take advantage of fair use. Documentarians who make legitimate fair use of third-party material from DVDs, digital video content, and Blu-ray disks can now rest easy knowing they are not in violation of the DMCA.