March 23, 2015 at 12:43PM


Should I go through a lawyer and E and O process for a DIY release no budget documentary?

So I made my first feature length documentary about burlesque and sideshow in Pittsburgh and I am at a bit of a crossroads on what to do as I get close to releasing the film on VOD and DVD. I made this film with no real money. It won a few awards at small festivals and my plan is to self distribute on VHX/Reelhouse/Amazon and my own site.

Now the issue is that the music in the background of the burlesque and sideshow performances I captured is copyrighted. I re edited the pieces to the requirements laid on on CMSI Documentary Filmmaker's Guide on Fair Use. What I want to know is should I spend the money I honestly don't have for a lawyer to certify the music follows CMSI's guidelines for fair use and then go out and get E and O insurance for a film that is only self distributed. I am forming an LLC prior to releasing the film.

Any guidance on this issue would be most appreciated. I know that that for large distribution companies E and O would be required and often times paid for by those companies. But is it worth it for a no budget doc that is self distributed?

Here is a trailer for the film and a copy of CMSI's guidelines -


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