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Published by the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain, 2006.

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Copyright 2006, the authors. Open access material.

License: Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5.


A graphic novel about fair use with respect to United States copyright law.


A documentary is being filmed. A cell phone rings, playing the "Rocky" theme song. The filmmaker is told she must pay $10,000 to clear the rights for the song. Can this be true? "Eyes on the Prize," the great civil rights documentary, was pulled from circulation because the filmmakers' rights to music and footage had expired.

What's going on here? It's the collision of documentary filmmaking and intellectual property law, and it's the inspiration for this comic book. Follow its heroine Akika as she films her documentary, and navigates the twists and turns of intellectual property. Why do we have copyrights? What's "fair use"?

Bound by Law reaches beyond documentary film to provide commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art. property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture.