Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flickr and the Library of Congress makes available over 5,000 images from the U.S. Library of Congress. Using their tags system and powerful search engine, you can locate many of these images more easily than on the LC website. Or start at and browse through over 270 web pages of images. The images are available at a variety of file sizes and as they are in the public domain, can be freely used.

LIFE Magazine teams up with Google!

Good news: LIFE Magazine and Google have teamed up to make 10 million images shot by the magazine's photographers (and other non-photographic images in the LIFE Collection dating back to the 18th century) available to the public. The photos can be freely used for non-profit and educational purposes that do not require a license. The Google search engine for the 20% of the images already digitized can be found at and more of the collection is being added each day. Each high resolution image bears a LIFE watermark in the corner, but clean prints will be obtainable through in the near future. For Google's blog about the project, see .

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rabin article in Samzine

From Kenn Rabin, "Telling Stories with Archive" -- posted November 2 on Samzine, an indepth look at the ethical use of archival visuals, focusing on the PBS series Vietnam: A Television History.

Stills Audio Motion -- review!

In a November 30 posting on Samzine, "Steve Bergson reviews a new book that stands out because it tackles a difficult subject in a striking way....not so much a different approach as a new trail being blazed..." Read the review ... Thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanks to "Shooting People"

A shout out to Shooting People for blogging about the book and for posting an excerpt we adapted for them, from the interview with U.K. intellectual property attorney Hubert Best. Thanks!

If you've read the book and like it, please consider submitting a brief review on Amazon -- they make a big difference!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lawrence Lessig's "Remix"

Lawrence Lessig's latest book, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy, is now available from Amazon and other booksellers (and will soon be available under a Creative Commons license; see his website). Press materials: "For more than a decade, we’ve been waging a war on our kids in the name of the 20th Century’s model of 'copyright law.' In this, the last of his books about copyright, Lawrence Lessig maps both a way back to the 19th century, and to the promise of the 21st." Prof. Lessig was interviewed for Archival Storytelling.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Rape of Europa airs November 24

The Rape of Europa, which "tells the epic story of the systematic theft, deliberate destruction and miraculous survival of Europe’s art treasures during the Third Reich and the Second World War," airs on PBS on Monday, November 24, 9-11 pm (check local listings). Moscow-based archival researcher Alexander Kandaurov discussed doing research for this film (among others) in Archival Storytelling.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The prize was eyed

A shout out to colleage James DeVinney for his letter to the Boston Globe on November 10, recognizing the Obama victory and wondering if the 14-hour series Eyes on the Prize -- created and executive produced by Henry Hampton -- might have played a small part in this historic achievement.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

McCain vs. YouTube on fair use

In a recent post on CNET, blogger Chris Soghoian criticized presidential candidate John McCain for requesting special treatment from YouTube when it came to his campaign's fair use of copyrighted material. The October 13 letter, written by general counsel Trevor Potter (and copied to Barack Obama's general counsel), was posted by Prof. Lawrence Lessig at Stanford, who said "Bravo" to the campaign for demanding that YouTube "start getting real about the response they're giving to notice and take-down demands of material that 'are clearly privileged under the fair use doctrine.'" But Soghoian argued that fair use is fair use, and special treatment for some would make the battle harder for everyone: "The minute a special set of rules are made for those in Congress, the incentive to fix the [copyright] system will disappear."

In any event, YouTube said no: Here's their response, posted by The New York Times blogger Saul Hansell.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thanks to WITNESS Media Archive

A big thank you to the WITNESS Media Archive blog for listing Archival Storytelling among "10 things to read/do/think about" in October, which is American Archives Month! If you're not familiar with them, check out WITNESS, which "uses video and online technologies to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations."

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Archival Storytelling has been shipped from the warehouse! Order it now through Focal Press, Amazon, and other booksellers!

If you like it, please be sure to post a review at Amazon -- reviews get picked up worldwide and make a big difference!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ethics of archival storytelling

Check out the current issue of Documentary (IDA's e-newsletter), with an excerpt from Archival Storytelling featuring a roundtable discussion on the ethics of using archival materials, with Claire Aguilar, Jon Else, Stanley Nelson, Bill Nichols, and Rick Prelinger.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Who Uses Archival Materials? (Excerpt, Ch. 1)

...When people think of archival use, they probably think first about historical filmmakers such as Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, whose World War II series, The War, premiered on American public television in 2007. But a surprisingly diverse group of people uses archival materials, including not only documentary filmmakers but also advertising agencies, public relations firms, news organizations, fiction filmmakers, makers of educational material, students, and the general public. Any time you order a photograph from the collection of ship images at Ellis Island, or search through military records at, or visit a local museum or historical society, you’re benefiting from the preservation and accessibility of archival materials.

Among the most influential users of archival materials are advertising agencies, whose (relatively) high budgets have shaped today’s market and, to some extent, driven prices up. These agencies tend to rely on commercial stock houses; while fees may be higher than elsewhere, turnaround times are often shorter. In contrast, independent filmmakers may have less money but more time to do the digging that’s often required to find material in alternative, less expensive places.

Nearly all filmmakers, at some point in their careers, will want to use third-party materials or will be asked to license their own work to someone else. And despite perceptions, this use does not need to destroy your budget or schedule. With some creative thinking and perseverance, even filmmakers with limited funding should be able to find useful and affordable materials.

Want to read more? Click here for a link to a sample chapter!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gus Van Sant - trailer for Milk

The dramatic feature Milk, directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Pean (on which Kenn served as archival film researcher) will be released in September. Watch the trailer!

Fans of documentary might also want to check out the 1983 feature, The Times of Harvey Milk, by Rob Epstein and Richard Schmeichen.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thanks to IAMHIST!

Thank you to the International Association forMedia and History for posting us on their website!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Disney's Mickey Mouse copyright in contention?

According to a Los Angeles Times story by staff writer Joseph Menn (August 22), "Film credits from the 1920s reveal imprecision in copyright claims that some experts say could invalidate Disney's long-held copyright." See the article for details.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A fresh look at "Happy Birthday"

Prof. Robert Brauneis at George Washington University Law School has published a lengthy argument that the song "Happy Birthday to You," frequently cited as an example of copyright excess, is not subject to copyright protection. See Robert Brauneis, "Copyright and the World's Most Popular Song" (March 14, 2008), at

Is your use of third-party materials a "fair use"?

The Documentary Film Program at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society "provides filmmakers with information about fair use, access to insurance for liability arising out of copyright litigation, and access to lawyers who will defend copyright claims pro bono or at reduced rates." You can submit your film for their evaluation of your fair use claim; visit the site for details. Beforehand, be sure to closely read the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use.

Resources page on the website

Please check out the resources page on the Archival Storytelling website!

It features an alphabetized listing of archives, associations, distributors, and trade organizations that are referred to in Archival Storytelling -- with lots of additional information and web links and more!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Errol Morris's blog

If you haven't done so already, check out filmmaker Errol Morris's extraordinary blog, Zoom, for The New York Times -- and plan to spend some time reading through the archive of older posts.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coming in September from Focal Press!

Archival Storytelling will be published mid-September -- stay tuned for details.