"Documentary filmmakers have won a ruling from the U.S. Copyright Office that allows them to legally break the encryption codes of DVDs and online streaming content to obtain clips for their projects.
The material still must fall under the "fair use" exemption of copyright law, but the decision by Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante was hailed as a victory for non-fiction filmmakers seeking high-quality clips for their movies. The decision also allows educators and multimedia e-book authors, as well as makers of non-commercial videos, to circumvent copy-protection software to obtain such clips, although the use has to be limited in scope." (Read the whole article)
I have long dreamed of a day when I have a wealth of titles akin to Adam Curtis's THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES and Sophie Fiennes' THE PERVERTS GUIDE TO CINEMA. I love video essays and could appreciate a whole lot more of them.
Culture is built upon itself. We need to be able to remix it. It just can't be taken -- we need to use it to add to the dialogue. We return value when we use it fairly.
Although this ruling doesn't advance Fair Use, at least it gets rid of a substantial barrier.