Hi - I'm excited to be guest blogging this month about a few topics that I find engaging. I hope they are also relevant to many of you. Thank you to the moderators for this opportunity.
Like many people, I scroll through Twitter looking for comments and articles about things that interest me. Last week, I saw the following exchange between film director extraordinaire Ava DuVernay and Alex Lauth, an employee of Villanova Law School:
@AVAETC I work at Villanova Law School and we want to have a showing of #The13th for students in our MLK programming week. Is that allowed?— Alex Lauth (@AlexLauth) November 29, 2016
My interest was immediately piqued for several reasons. First, as a law professor committed to social justice, it is encouraging to read that law schools around the country are providing space to screen 13th, the Netflix documentary film directed by DuVernay centering on racial inequities in the American criminal justice system.
Second, I’ve been planning a January 2017 screening of 13th at my own law school, outside of my standard classes, that I'd like to be open to the full campus. I have a Netflix membership and could easily stream the film from my personal account. One of the items on my to-do list has been to figure out whether such an approach is permissible under both Netflix policy and current copyright law. This proved to be more challenging than I thought, so DuVernay’s announcement was quite timely.