PIJIP and South African Filmmakers to Launch Report on Copyright and Documentary Filmmaking in South Africa

Sean Flynn
December 1, 2009

American University’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and Center for Social Media working with South Africa’s Documentary Filmmakers Association and Women of the Sun are proud to present a special 2-day workshop and film screening focusing around the issue of expanding the utility of copyright “users’ rights” for documentary filmmaking.

Sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the Gauteng Film Commission this workshop is part of a larger international project working with filmmakers around the world to better understand and expand rights to utilize copyrighted material in filmmaking without license.

The event will feature the launch of Untold Stories in South Africa: The Creative Consequences of the Rights Clearance Culture for Documentary Film, the final report and film from a year-long study of rights clearance and documentary film in South Africa.

The workshop will begin with a public screening and discussion with the director of The Order of Myths, a documentary that explores race, music and celebration at Alabama’s Mardi Gras, and which benefitted from a project in the U.S. working with filmmakers to understand users’ rights under copyright law. Click here to learn more about the film.

The following two days at the “SAB World Of Beer” Conference Venue, in Newtown, workshops will be conducted on how South African filmmakers can use and expand users’ rights under South Africa’s copyright law. All of the events are open to the public and free of charge for members of Woman of the Sun or the Documentary Filmmakers Association. The Opening and film screening is free to all.

Thursday Dec. 10

  • Film Screening and Discussion with Director: The Order of Myths
    A Film by Margaret Brown
  • Venue: The Laager Theatre at the Market Theatre – Newtown
    (Secure parking: Crn, Miriam Makebe St & Gwigwi MMrewbi St)
    Free to all

Friday Dec. 11

  • Workshop: User’s Rights Under South Africa’s Copyright Law: What are They and How Can Filmmakers Use Them?
  • Venue: “SAB World Of Beer” Conference Venue – Newtown
    (Secure parking: entrance on Gerard Sekoto Street)
    Free to DFA, WOS or BFN members and invited guests, a subsidised fee of R80 for others
    10am-5: 30pm

Saturday, Dec. 12

  • Workshop: Expanding the Utility of Users’ Rights: Implementing the Recommendations of the Cape Town Workshop on Copyright Clearance and Free Expression, March 2009.
  • Venue: “SAB World Of Beer” Conference Venue – Newtown
    (Secure parking: entrance on Gerard Sekoto Street)
    Free to DFA, WOS or BFN members and invited guests, a subsidised fee of R80 for others


  • Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law, Author of Copyright Law (2006) and Director of the Fair Use and Public Media Project.
  • Sean Flynn, Associate Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University Washington College of Law
  • Andrew Rens, Intellectual Property Fellow, Shuttleworth Foundation, Legal Lead for Creative Commons South Africa, co-founder and director of The African Commons Project
  • Marc Schwinges, National Treasurer for the Documentary Filmmakers' Association, National Board Member and Head of Communications for the South African Screen Federation & Independent Producer - Underdog Productions
  • Eve Rantseli, Women of the Sun
  • Margaret Brown, Independent Filmmaker
  • Freddy Ogterop, Visual History Archive, University of Cape Town, Author of Audiovisual Audit Report: The South African Liberation Struggle

More information on this event can be found at wcl.american.edu/pijip/go/workshop-dec2009 and docfilmsa.com/rights/

 Poster for Movie - large


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