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The references provided from the above post are very informative. The Center for Social Media certainly would like film makers to have a broader “fair use” of copyrighted material. From what I gather from the pamphlet, it contains their opinions. The wikipedia document discusses the “fair use” issue with all its complicated and at times blurred legal opinions with no clear borders.
What I meant by “journalist” is if this event occurred yestrerday, an NBC reporter would interview people without having to ask for a “talent release form” particularly when an event appears to be news worthy. A documentary is not necessarily newsworthy, unless for example, you’re Frontline, which is clearly a journalistic entity.
Nothing would make me happier than to be able to go out and film whatever I want without needing to worry about copyright and fair use issues. But the interpretation of “fair use” by the courts is too vague. I would suggest that Aspyrider do extensive research on the internet on this issue. There will be no clear answers but with enough information, he can decide what actions he can reasonably take to make his documentary.