2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

All About Hidden Camera & Investigative Reporting

#sxsw #FilmCLE

This presentation is designed to help you guide your clients through the murky waters of public stunts, no releases, hidden cameras, errors and omissions insurance, and more.



Michael Donaldson


Donaldson & Callif LLP

Michael C. Donaldson is an entertainment attorney who has been fighting for independent filmmakers for over thirty years. The December 2011 ABA Journal dubbed him the “’legal Obi Wan Kenobi’ and fair use guru of the documentary film set.” As President of the International Documentary Association, he negotiated with the cable networks to prevent the wholesale migration of credits from the screen to the internet by organizing and leading the Documentary Credit Coalition. He served on the Advisory Committee for the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Stanford Fair Use Project. He also serves as General Counsel to Film Independent (home of the Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival) and the Writers Guild Foundation. He negotiated with insurance companies to offer fair use riders on the E&O insurance policies which allowed many films to be made under the fair use doctrine. He helped draft the Rome Resolution to harmonize Fair Use across the European Union. He filed with the Copyright Office, argued, and won an exemption to the DMCA; allowing Documentary Filmmakers to rip DVDs in order to gain access to public domain material and assets to be used in their documentary pursuant to fair use. He also filed Amicus briefs in various courts in support of filmmakers faced with issues concerning the community.

In addition, he also wrote Clearance & Copyright (used in 50 film schools and winner of three national book awards) and three other books and many articles. He is also the co-author of The American Bar Associations’ Legal Guide to Independent Filmmaking.

Michael is an avid skier, world hiker, and award-winning photographer. He won a gold medal at the 1998 Senior Olympics for Parallel Bars and a silver medal on the rings.

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