"I had the great pleasure to moderate a panel a couple of days ago at Westdoc, a lively and raucous gathering for documentary and reality television producers from across the country. Only in its second year, Westdoc is quickly becoming a must visit destination for both independent producers and broadcasters from all the major cable networks and PBS as well. 400 attendees packed a hotel in Santa Monica to schmooze, pitch and yak about docs for 3 days. It's a terrific, fascinating confab.

The panel I moderated was about "fair use," and how it applies to documentary filmmakers. This notoriously tricky and opaque concept can either be an essential survival tool for docmakers, or a kind of fun house mirror that always seems to steer them off course. The panel included the Producer of "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" – a landmark film about steroid use that heavily and successfully tested the frontiers of fair use claims in a doc. She was joined by the lawyer who helped her make fair use claims for her film, and a film insurer who specializes in insuring docs pushing the fair use frontier. The discussions and questions were lively, engaging and ultimately empowering for all. To the barricades!"