February 20, 2012

IDA Writes Letter to Canadian Lawmakers on 'Canadian DMCA'

In 2010, IDA achieved an historic exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on behalf of documentary filmmakers that allows us to obtain materials from DVDs for use in our films when we are conducting criticism and commentary. This was an important victory because without an exemption, even where it was perfectly legal to use a particular piece of content, the DMCA often made it illegal to access that content. (We are now seeking a renewal of the DVD exemption that will also cover Blu-Ray and digitally transmitted video.)

We recently learned that in Canada, policymakers are considering a similar law—but the Canadian version might not contain any protections for documentary filmmakers or others who use existing cultural or historical material as they conduct commentary, make criticism, or explore the world around us. So IDA wrote a letter to Canadian policymakers in which we share the experience of American documentarians with the DMCA. As we explain in the letter, the fact is that without an exemption the DMCA would have deeply harmed documentary filmmaking in the United States. We hope that our members and fellow filmmakers in Canada don't suffer that fate.

At IDA, we advocate for, help protect and advance the legal rights of documentary filmmakers. Over our thirty-year history, IDA has been at the forefront of support on major issues confronting our industry.

Learn more about IDA's advocacy work.

Read the full letter as submitted by IDA Executive Director Michael Lumpkin.