photo of Michael Donaldson

Michael Donaldson

Donaldson & Callif LLP

Dubbed “‘legal Obi Wan Kenobi’ and fair use guru of the documentary film set” by the American Bar Association Journal, Michael C. Donaldson is an entertainment attorney who has been fighting for independent filmmakers for over thirty years. Michael successfully negotiated with insurance companies to offer fair use riders on the E&O insurance policies, which has allowed many films to be made under the fair use doctrine. Always on the cutting edge of fighting for filmmakers rights to tell their story the way they want to tell it, he wrote “Refuge From The Storm: A Fair Use Safe Harbor For Non-Fiction Works” an extensive law review article about fair use which the Social Science Research Network ranked at the top 10% by download count among its peer articles. A filmmaker’s version of this article will be available to attendees. Michael’s firm clears over 200 documentaries and narrative films per year as diverse as Terrence Malick’s and Oliver Stone’s next films and such documentaries as Icarus Chasing Coral, Black Fish, and 20 Feet from Stardom. Michael 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 material to be used in their documentary pursuant to fair use. As of 2015, the DMCA exemption has been extended for another three years which now includes BluRays along with DVDs as materials for filmmakers to access. He has lectured regarding the Fair Use topic across the country to filmmaker groups, Film Festivals, Bar Associations and at Law Schools and Film Schools He has made appearances in all three national Morning Shows, NPR, as well speaking internationally on Fair Use. He is widely quoted on copyright issues in the Press including New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and various magazines. Michael is the co-author of Clearance & Copyright (used in 50 film schools and the winner of three national book awards), and four other books.

[Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.]

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

Events featuring Michael Donaldson
Events featuring Michael Donaldson