Free Comic for Filmmakers

A reader of this blog (thanks, Jon) alerted me to one of the coolest works of edutainment I’ve seen in a long, long time. The work in question is Tales from the Public Domain: Bound By Law?, and it’s a graphic novel (published by Duke University’s Center for the Study of Public Domain) that explores and explains copyright, “fair use”, licensing and other tricky, sticky issues that inevitably arise when you’re making a documentary. If those topics usually make your eyes glaze over, look no further.

Granted, as a graphic novel, Bound by Law‘s anecdotes about licensing problems in docs like Sing Faster and Mad Hot Ballroom can’t compete with the storylines of, say, V for Vendetta or Watchmen, but I was genuinely impressed with the quality of the art and writing. Plus, how many other graphic novels are going to help save you money and keep you out of court when you make your next documentary?

The cost? A mere $5.95 for the book, or free as a digital copy.

3 Responses to “Free Comic for Filmmakers”

  1. Josh Boelter Says:

    I read most of the comic online, but I’ll also pick up a copy from Amazon. I tend to think copyright law is out of control. It would be nice if there were some searchable database where filmmakers oculd find out if a piece of art or music is in the public domain. I’d like to record a pice of music by Profokiev for my soundtrack, but I’m not sure if it’s public domain or not. The process for getting the information is cumbersome.

  2. Agnes Varnum Says:

    Paul – It’s great that you posted this comic! It’s got a lot of great information that filmmakers unfortunatly wish they didn’t need to know but actually do. I’d like to point out, as it is mentioned in the comic, that for those making documentaries, there is another important resource – Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use (centerforsocialmedia.org). It is a short handbook that articulates certain circumstances in documentary making when it is appropriate to claim fair use for coyrighted material.

    I’m going to be at several fests over the next few months on panels about the issue and helping doc makers understand how to make better use of fair use. It’s a small step, but an important one. We already have a lot of movement on the gatekeeper side to adpot the principles at work in the handbook.

  3. Self-Reliant Filmmaking » Blog Archive » Fair Use, Pt II: Ctr for Social Media Says:

    […] In her comment on this blog, Anges adds, “I’m going to be at several fests over the next few months on panels about the issue and helping doc makers understand how to make better use of fair use. It’s a small step, but an important one. We already have a lot of movement on the gatekeeper side to adpot the principles at work in the handbook.” […]