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John Solo

Mr.Matt Moberly
Copyright in Filmmaking: Solution
If you are reading this, you are probably wondering why copyright is developing into an
april fool prank. You just got pranked. The next sentence is the real start to my essay. Copyright
law protects right owners from having their material reproduced and published under a different
name. It distinguishes an artists work from the next artist, and it promotes creativity. Many
would argue that the copyright rules are perfect the way it is and changing it would only be
detrimental to the right owners and the artist involved. They believe that the fair use policy
already protects filmmakers rights to incorporate copyrighted material in their own films and
being lenient will lead to piracy. According to ____, Robert Greenwald relied heavily on fair use
and made extensive use of Fox news clips in his critical documentary Outfoxed (source). The
use was never challenge, and it seems that the fair use policy was doing a tremendous job in
protecting artists access to other material and putting it in their film. However, the fair use
policy isnt sufficient in dealing with the permission based culture that has been created by the
modern age. It is limited and favors commentary and parodies. The fair use policy neglects to
protect films that accidently captures copyrighted material in the background. ____ reports that
John Else needed to clear the rights to Sing Faster. He needed to cut and replace four and a
half seconds from The Simpson that were accidently captured in one of the scenes (source).
This forces artist to be wary about their films and it makes it less authentic. The Simpsons could
have played a major role in portraying the life of the citizen that the film was trying to do but
instead John Else has to cut it out due to copyright issues. The copyright laws right clearance
process also makes it hard for filmmakers to distribute their work. There are a lot of Orphan
Works, and filmmakers already have a difficult time finding copyrighted material as it is.
Overall, there are plenty of issues that the current Copyright laws has no answers to.
Although Copyright has worked in the past, it will not be able to stand against the digital
age where filmmakers have access to an abundance of material to craft their film. The current
Copyright laws does a great job of preventing piracy and allowing filmmakers some degree of
freedom. However, it favors right owners too much. Filmmakers are treated unfairly in this
system. They are left with all the difficult task of having to find copyrighted material that are
present in their film and finding the owners in order to clear it. Sometimes, the owners are
nowhere to be found, and filmmakers are still responsible for clearing the material. The fees are
also unreasonable, and accidental usage still constitutes as copyright infringement. The copyright
laws needs to be changed and new rules need to be added to adopt the needs of modern
Canadas copyright laws solves all of United States problems with copyright. In Sarah
Sklar-Heyns scholar article Battling Clearence Culture Shock, she advocates for Canadas fair
dealing laws because she believes Canada achieve[s] the most productive balance possible
between the opposing factions in the copyright debate (source). Canada attempts to balance the

rights between users and right owners and gives their users more rights than United States does.
Canada gives users the right to non-deliberate filming of copyrighted material (source). This
means that any material that is accidentally captured in their film is protected under the Canadas
fair dealings. Right owners still have the right to challenge everything else. They also solve the
problem of outdated material. Unlike in United States where they try to place copyright on old
historical material, Canada limits their license to twenty years before adding the material to their
public domain. This gives filmmakers the opportunity to cover historical topics more in depth
and have more access to historical documents for their films. Therell be more primary sources in
their films, which will strengthen their argument in films. Canada has also made its best effort to
tackle the orphan works problem. If the filmmakers has tried their best in locating the right
owners and cannot find them, then the Copyright Board issues the user with a nonexclusive
license. This is the most anyone has done to tackle the orphan works problems. Although it may
have its flaws since others argue it is burdening, it is a great start.
Another solution would be to implement Youtubes method in dealing with copyright in
their videos. In How Youtube Thinks About Copyright, Margaret Gould Stewart, Youtubes
head of user experience, discusses how most right owners will allow the content with the
copyrighted material to be published to maximize their oppurtunities. There was a wedding video
that used Chris Browns song Forever and it garnered forty million view. Sony allowed it to be
published and they benefited from the advertising, sponsored links, and the free promotion. After
the release of the wedding video, the song Forever hit number one on iTunes even though it was
an old song. If this method was implemented in the filmmaking industry, this will allow right
owners and users to fully maximize their opportunities. Right owners will be able to reach new
audiences, earn more revenue, and create new artforms. (How Youtube).
These proposed solutions are meant to balance the rights between right owners and users
in the film industry. They are only adding to the current copyright law to accommodate the rising
issues with film that have never been tackled before. They also attempt to maximize their
opportunities and create a joyful environment where distribution is simple and resources promote
creativity and advancement. The original intent of copyright was to promote artistic and
scientific progress. With these solutions progress will definitely be made.