We just got this letter. Give a read-through. You might just want to join up
We are reaching out to you because we want the Coalition to represent filmmakers from every part of the nation. Currently the members of the Coalition are larger organizations in larger cities, such as Film Independent in Los Angeles, the International Documentary Association, and various chapters of IFP. Regional groups are equally important to the Coalition if it is to truly represent the interests of independent filmmakers nationwide.
In the past, our firm has formed coalitions on an ad hoc, pro bono basis to address legislative matters relevant to independent filmmakers and to contribute amicus briefs to relevant cases. For instance, these coalitions:
· Won a Digital Millennium Copyright Act exception for documentary filmmakers, so that it is not a violation of the Act to copy content from commercial DVDs to obtain materials for fair use;
· Persuaded cable companies not to migrate end credits for films to the Internet;
· Supported legislation on Orphan Works, so that filmmakers may use copyrighted works where the owner cannot be found and only pay a reasonable fee if the owner emerges later (this matter passed the Senate and is still ongoing);
· Argued the case for net neutrality to the FCC; and
· Filed amicus briefs in the following matters:
o Storey v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (recognizing documentary filmmaking as a legitimate, for-profit enterprise, even where it has had no income for six years),
o US v. Stevens (finding unconstitutional a federal criminal law which sentenced a documentary filmmaker to three years in prison for depicting a legal dog fight filmed in Japan),
o Hart v. Electronic Arts (arguing that it is permissible to use college football players’ data and depictions without permission in a video game, and by extension, in almost any film), and
o Chevron v. Berlinger (arguing that “reporter’s privilege” applied to documentary filmmakers).
In one case, under the leadership of Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte, a lawsuit was successfully filed against the MPAA to strike down the prohibition against the mailing of award screeners, avoiding potentially devastating effects for the independent film community.
But, a lack of a single, organized coalition has resulted in many issues not getting the attention they deserved. These types of efforts could be substantially streamlined, and therefore improved, if there was a more efficient and reliable way to keep relevant organizations informed and, in situations needing fast turnaround, available for quick decision making.
The Coalition of Independent Film Organizations will create a unified, informed voice amongst the independent filmmaker community. The goals of this Coalition are:
· To bring to the attention of filmmakers legislative and legal issues that might have implications for the larger independent film community;
· To become more proactive in educating independent film organizations on public policy matters; and
· To give opportunities to endorse amici briefs in relevant cases and support legislative and administrative acts.
Support towards these matters from Coalition member organizations will always be on an “opt-in” basis; no organization is obligated to participate in or support any given issue. This Coalition does not require membership dues or any other monetary commitment. We simply want the Coalition to include as many organizations as possible so that we can strive towards our goal of a national, cohesive voice for the independent film community. If you feel your organization would benefit from membership in such a Coalition, we would be glad to have you on board.
Please consider joining us for our next phone conference, this Wednesday, July 25th at 12:30pm Eastern Time (9:30 Pacific). To join, call 1.800.615.2900 (Toll free in USA and Canada) or 1.661.705.2005 (for callers outside the USA and Canada), participant access code 288483.
Please email me and let me know whether you would be interested in taking part in this great opportunity, or call John Meller at extension 12 at our office. Please let me know if you have any questions, or would like to discuss this farther. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Michael C. Donaldson, Esq.
Donaldson & Callif, LLP
400 S. Beverly Dr. Suite 400
Beverly Hills, CA 90212