To expand on Francisco's idea, you could also ring up the original author and record an interview about his essay. Paraphrasing, perhaps even 'quoting' his original writing, would be acceptable. Look up cases that are about how Fair Use protects references to copyright material. You would have original interview footage so you should be fine. I'm not sure what your piece is about, but you could also channel your inner Craig Baldwin and quote the exchanges you had with the Times. As a final protection strategy, when releasing your film--if you clearly 'give it away for free' there are many cases (even musicians) who have not been sued as of yet.

I also have to say that it's interesting that the NYTimes would be tracking a handmade film.
Good luck. Keep us posted. wrote:
Unless it's super-vital, write your own narration as a replacement. Fair Use would only kick in if you were citing the article in a criticism, review or parody.

Is the author absolutely sure that the NYT owns the copyright? Oftentimes the rights revert back to the outside author upon publication. $800 btw sounds like what would be charged for non-commercial use. It's quite reasonable, considering, but of course, it's not really possible.

-----Original Message-----
From: Francisco Torres <>
To: Experimental Film Discussion List <>
Sent: Thu, Feb 20, 2014 1:05 pm
Subject: Re: [Frameworks] question about fees for permission to use material

If you modify it ''substantially'' it becomes a different text. Think William Burroughs...

On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 4:48 PM, Caryn Cline < <>> wrote:

    Dear Frameworkers,
    I’m writing to ask your advice.  I’m working on a short handmade,
    experimental film that takes as its “script” a slightly modified
    version of an essay I found in the /New York Times/, which I plan
    to use as a voiceover narration on the soundtrack.  I wrote to the
    author to ask his permission to use it, which he gladly gave with
this caveat: everything he writes for the paper is owned by them. He gave me the name of someone to contact at the paper, who sent
    me to the paper’s licensing people. I decided to follow that lead,
    to see where it went.  [I have not had good luck with trying to
    get permission for a reasonable fee before, but I decided to try,
    as an experience.]
    Well, needless to say the people who license for the /Times/ want
    me to pay them what I regard as way too much money for the use of
    the essay--$800 for rights for festivals, galleries, streaming,
    broadcast, etc.—for the life of the title.   As you know, it is
    difficult to communicate to people in these positions that there
    is absolutely no commercial value in the film.    The money is
    about 1/3 of my overall budget.   Some of my handmade film buddies
    advised me to forget about the permission and just use it anyway,
    but I feel funny about doing that now, and as one friend who works
    in the business cautioned: my project and I are on their radar
    now.  Should I try to talk them down?  (They originally asked for
    $1300, so this is a considerable reduction from outrageously
    expensive to merely quite expensive.)  Should I claim “fair use,”
    and use the text anyway?  What are the chances that they would
    come after me?    I’d appreciate any advice or hearing about your
    own experiences with this.  Many thanks.


-- Caryn Cline
    co-producer, /Acts of Witness/ <> <>

    FrameWorks mailing list <>

FrameWorks mailing list  <>

FrameWorks mailing list

FrameWorks mailing list

Reply via email to