Freedom of Expression
Resistance & Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property
In 1998, university professor Kembrew McLeod (Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa) made headlines when he successfully trademarked the phrase "freedom of expression" to call attention to the extremes of intellectual property law. But in the years since, as fewer and fewer corporations have come to dominate the media landscape, copyright law has only become more restrictive. In this provocative film, McLeod continues his fight agains the corporate chokehold on creative expression, translating the abstractions of copyright law into an engaging story about corporate power and the power of art.
Freedom of Expression
is an essential tool for educators, activists, filmmakers, students, artists, librarians, and more.
Sections: Intro | Free Speech in the Age of Copyright | Fencing the Cultural Commons | The Rise of the Clearance Culture | Suppressing the Freedom of Information | Fair Use & Free Speech | Fighting Back
DVD Extras including the short film "A Fair(y) Use Tale"
Producers: Kembrew McLeod & Jeremy Smith
Executive Producers: Sut Jhally & Jeremy Earp
Editor: Jeremy Smith
Assistant Editor: Kembrew McLeod
International Human Rights Film Festival | 2009 | Albania
Montana Library Association Conference | 2009 | Kalispell, MT
2008 Human Rights, Human Wrongs Film Festival | Olso
2008 Festival Internacional de Cine Documental
de la Ciudad de Mexico | Mexico City
American Library Association Annual Conference | 2008 | Anaheim, CA
National Conference for Media Reform | 2008 | Minneapolis
Simmons College | 2008 | Boston
Lucy Parsons Center | 2008 | Boston
NYU | 2008 | New York
Easthampton Public Library | 2008 | Easthampton, MA
Praise for the Film
"We have a right to analyze, comment, critique, and even parody our own culture, but we must use existing works in order to do so effectively. This film stands for and justifies the use of preexisting works for legitimate purposes; the filmmakers are certainly in favor of copyright but not the corporate excesses that exist today. Freedom of Expression
is well made and would be an excellent addition to any collection containing legal and public policy films..."
- Library Journal
"This smartly-made and seriously funny documentary provides an aerial view of the battleground that is today's copyright landscape. Illustrating the comments of many well-known critics of runaway copyright & trademark law with apt audiovisual examples, Freedom of Expression
succeeds as an engaging and concrete presentation."
- Peter Jaszi | Professor of Law | Washington College of Law, American University
"It's about time someone made this movie. 700 Americans get sued into penury every month by the record industry. 70 million Americans file-share. Every generation of technology contains more locks to turn our computers into our masters, not our servants. Worst of all: no one seems to even notice as our tools for free speech are being turned into perfect snitches."
- Cory Doctorow | Co-editor, Boing Boing | Author, Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present
"Citing legal cases and giving examples of people and companies which have been held liable for copyright infringement, Freedom of Expression
is a must for anyone teaching a media study, library science or copyright law. The video should spur on classroom discussions and get students to think about what they see and experience everyday. It is a great resource for video collections in all schools and libraries. Highly Recommended."
- Educational Media Reviews Online
"This film is another fine way of bringing media studies' best thinkers onto your campus."
- Journal of Mass Media Ethics