Lot Of Law To Worry About

Once you've figured out which movie you're going to make and you've acquired all the rights to that film property, it's time to start staffing up.You need to cast actors, choose a director (if it's not going to be you), and hire your crew. Hiring and managing employees and independent contractors is one of the trickier legal areas a filmmaker must face.This is because a whole host of laws apply to the employer employee relationship. For instance Services Contracts.A services contract between...

Note On Legalese

We attorneys take a lot of flak for confusing laypeople with our legalese. It can be quite frustrating a business person might make an offer to sell a widget, but a lawyer will sell, convey, transfer, and assign all the rights in and to the widget, in perpetuity. You'd think we were being paid by the word. Quite honestly, some lawyers do use extraneous words. For instance, in this example, the single word sell would probably work just fine. And for most purposes, using clear, simple language in...

Audiovisual Works

Copyright law considers your film or video to be an audiovisual work. 'Audiovisual works' are works that consist of a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment, together with accompanying sounds, if any, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as films or tapes, in which the works are embodied.2 Animation, in whatever format

Business Issues Finances And Costs

Whether or not a filmmaker can demand that a production company sign a Submission Release prior to the filmmaker's disclosure depends upon the filmmaker's leverage. Generally, neither a Submission Release nor an NDA requires one party to pay the other as part of that contract. However, in the case of any implied or express contract that the filmmaker may try to create during the meeting, the production company should agree to compensate the filmmaker a reasonable amount if it ends up using the...

Categories of Fair

General categories of fair use include news reporting, criticism, comment, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research. The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities courts have regarded as fair use Quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment Quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification...

Choice of Law Forum

This clause determines which state's laws apply to the contract, and in which state the parties will bring any lawsuit or arbitration. If a lawsuit is thought of as a battle, the jurisdiction is its battleground. Jurisdiction controls the location and kind of court that will hear a lawsuit. The laws can, and do, differ from state to state. Whether you sue in New York, as opposed to Los Angeles, may make the difference between winning and losing. The choice of law or forum clause in the contract...

Copyright Intellectual Property Public Domain

The United States Copyright Office www.copyright.gov The United States Patent and Trademark Office www.uspto.gov Search the copyright office website for works registered or renewed since 1978, here www.copyright.gov records Copyright Registration Short Form PA www.copyright.gov forms formpai.pdf Copyright Registration Standard Form PA www.copyright.gov forms formpas.pdf Copyright Office Circular 45 Copyright Registration for Motion Pictures Including Video Recordings. www.copyright.gov circs...

Copyright Registration

Registration is the process of filing your copyright information with the govern-ment.You should register the copyright to both your script and to your motion picture. You can hire a service to register the copyright for you or you can do it yourself. You register a copyright by depositing a copy of your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registration consists of filling out and submitting a copyright registration form along with a sample of the work you're registering, and the correct...

Creating Acquiring and Managing the Film Property

IDEA RIGHTS (PROTECTING YOUR PITCHES AND AVOIDING IDEA THEFT) 51 Nondisclosure Agreements and Submission Releases 51 Deal Points Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) 55 Law Protecting Ideas and the Novelty Requirement 56 Business Issues Finances and Costs 57 Negotiation Tips and Tricks 57 Step by Step Protecting an Idea 58 Follow-Up 58 Writing the Screenplay by Yourself (Sole Authorship) 61 Writing Collaboration (Writing Partners and Joint Authorship) 63 Deal Points 65 The Writers Guild of America...

Employee Responsibilities

If you are an employer (e.g., a production company) hiring an employee, your responsibilities include paperwork. You must have the employee complete the following forms Form I-9.This is an immigration status form required by the US Bureau of Citizenship. You can find the form here http www.uscis.gov graphics formsfee forms files i-9.pdf. IRS Form W-4 This is a federal tax withholdings form.You can find the form here IRS Form SS-4 the form for the production company to apply for an employer...

Entertainment Unions and Societies

Writers Guild of America www.wga.org WGA Screen Credits Policy The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada www.iatse-intl.org The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America www.nabetcwa.org For info on SAG low-budget contracts www.sagindie.org contracts2.html Casting Society of America www.castingsociety.com

Examples of Fair

Two examples may illustrate how a court will analyze whether an unauthorized use is fair or infringement. Scenario 1 Daniel, a television commercial director, makes a commercial for a local car dealership. He uses a film clip from Star Wars showing Darth Vader swinging his light saber and cutting down Obi-Wan Kenobi. Over this, he puts a voiceover saying we slash prices and kill the competition. The film clip is used without permission, and the commercial airs. Lucasfilm Ltd. sues for copyright...

Exemptions from Registration

Registering securities in a film is expensive, time consuming, and usually not necessary for low-budget films. However, if you're not registering your security, you must exempt your security from registration. Filmmakers typically take advantage of one of the registration exemptions offered by SEC Regulation D Rule 504 offering. Under Rule 504, production companies can offer to sell 1 million of securities within a 1-year period. There is no limit to the amount of investors who can be brought...

Express And Implied Contracts

As a filmmaker, you'll be faced with two types of contract.The two flavors are the express contract and the implied contract. The second is the one that really causes unexpected problems. Wanda Writer negotiates an option purchase agreement with Penelope Producer for Wanda's script Beige, the New Black. Because the major deal terms are agreed upon, the option purchase agreement is an express contract. Penelope Producer asks Garry the Grip what his day rate is. Garry tells her 350. Penelope then...

Federal And State Labor And Employment Laws An Overview

During pre-production you will be hiring your cast and crew. This means that in addition to the service contracts you negotiate with them, you also must comply with state and federal employment laws. Federal and state employment and labor laws govern discrimination, wages, workplace safety, child labor, and workers' compensation disability unemployment insurance. Under these laws, an employee will be treated differently by the law than an independent contractor.These issues must be addressed...

Federal Test

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) looks at three primary factors to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee Behavioral Control. If the production company has the right to direct and control how the worker accomplishes his or her job, the worker is most likely an employee. The more instructions a worker is given on how the work should be done, what steps the worker must perform, and what tools he or she must use, the more likely it will be that the worker is an...

Film Finance

Cones, 43 Ways to Finance Your Feature Film (Southern Illinois University Press 1995). John W. Cones, Film Finance and Distribution A Dictionary of Terms (Silman-James Press 1992). Bill Daniels et al., Movie Money Understanding Hollywood's Creative Accounting Practices (Silman-James Press 1998). John Durie et al., Marketing and Selling Your Film Around the World (Silman-James Press 2000). John J. Lee, Jr., The Producer's Business Handbook (Focal Press 2000). Louise Levison, Filmmakers...

Goals and Deals

The filmmaker must make sure to negotiate and execute a Life Rights Consent Agreement with the appropriate party. Usually this is the person whose story the filmmaker wishes to portray. However, there are some notable exceptions. If the subject of the story is dead, you may need to get the consent of his or her estate. Minors and legally incapacitated individuals will probably require the consent and signatures of their guardians. The filmmaker should get a Life Rights Consent and release from...

How to Use This Book

This book is organized roughly chronologically, according to the life cycle of a film. That being said, it is also intended to be a flexible resource, allowing the filmmaker to access information in a variety of ways The book is designed for easy access for the filmmaker who needs to jump right in and find an answer without having to first read the book cover to cover. To help these nonlinear readers, I have repeated some key information from section to section, particularly in the sections...

Independent Contractors and Employees California

As is true in most states, there is no simple definition for who is an independent contractor in California. In determining a worker's status the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) applies the economic realities test, which is a multifactor test.2 The most important factor in the test is whether the hiring company has the right to control as to the work done and the manner and means in which it is per-formed.3 The more control a worker has, the more likely that he or she...

Info

The choice of performers is critical to a film's success. The majority of the time, the lead performers are the single most important elements in making your film. Actors' performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film marketing power. An actor's creative contributions begin before he or she is even cast.Watching performers audition may expose the weaknesses in a role and underscores the need for a script rewrite. Often a performer's audition will shed new light on a role...

Labor and Employment

California laws regarding a worker's status the California Independent Contractor FAQ at http www.dir.ca. gov dlse FAQ_IndependentContractor.html For more on how the IRS determines a worker's status, see its brochure Contractor or Employee at For information on an employer's tax responsibilities, see Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide at

Life Story Rights

If the movie or project you're planning to shoot is based upon someone's life story, you should obtain that person's life story rights, through a Life Rights Consent Agreement. Although no one has the exclusive right to tell his or her own life story, there is a veritable catalog of claims that a subject can file against the filmmaker who shoots an unauthorized biography, unflattering documentary, or fictionalized account of him or her. The frustrating thing is that film subjects who sue often...

Major Deal Points Crews Services Agreement

Because the production company will be hiring many crew members, it wants a contract it can use over and over with a minimum amount of redrafting and negotiation. If you need a crew member to perform duties additional to those customarily performed by such person, make sure to detail the exact services the crew member will be providing. Example If you just write camera operator, most crew members would not assume that job also included picking up the rest of the crew in the...

Major Deal Points The Purchase Agreement Rights Granted

This section outlines the specific rights granted to the producer. In short, the producer needs the right to make a motion picture or pictures in whatever medium, to be distributed in any manner, throughout the universe, in perpetuity. Remember, copyright can be divided up in a number of different ways, so the rights must be defined in terms of their Medium (e.g., motion picture, television) Geography (e.g., the Universe, North America) Motion Picture Rights. At a minimum, the producer needs...

Mandatory Trust Fund

In addition to the aforementioned restrictions and requirements, a parent or guardian and every employer must comply with the Coogan Law, named for the actor Jackie Coogan. Coogan was a child performer who shot to stardom in 1921 at the age of 7, staring opposite Charlie Chaplin in The Kid. He had earned four million dollars by the age of 13. However, in 1935, when he demanded his money from his mother and stepfather (who had been his manager), they refused. He filed suit, and the court held...

New York

In New York, as in California, the presumption is that a worker is an employee, but this presumption is rebuttable. New York takes a different approach from California to the common law tests of supervision, direction, and control. The New York Department of Labor provides guidelines for determining worker status in the performing arts.The guidelines list indicators of independence that would make a worker an independent contractor and indicators of employment that make a worker an employee....

New York Mandatory Trust Funds

New York has its own Coogan Law, called the Child Performer Education and Trust Act of2003,29 which is nearly identical to the California law. New York will recognize a Coogan Trust Account set up in California as sufficient compliance with New York's Child Performer Education and Trust Act. However, there are some distinctions between the two laws. Within 15 days of the start of employment, a parent or guardian must establish a child performer's trust account unless one that complies with New...

No Obligation To Produce

While the producer has the right to produce the film using the literary property, he or she needs to be sure that he is not obligated to produce the film. The producer needs to be able to exploit the owner's name, likeness, biography, and so forth, in connection with the marketing of the film. Conversely, the producer will want to prohibit the owner from releasing any publicity about the motion picture without the producer's approval.

Permits Required to Employ a Minor in New York

As is the case in California, New York requires a child performer to obtain a Child Performer Employment Permit.27 You can find the form at LS560 20combined.pdf. A parent or guardian must obtain a Child Performer Employment permit form from the State Department of Labor before employment begins (the permit is valid for 6 months and must be renewed 30 days before it expires). Before employing a child in New York, an employer must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to Employ Child...

Registering the Copyright to Your Work

The moment your script is finished, register it with the United States Copyright Office. Don't be fooled into thinking that mailing a copy of your script to yourself or depositing it with the Writer's Guild is the same as registration. It's not. Only registration with the federal government will allow you to take full advantage of copyright protection. Besides, it's only 45. For a guide to registering your screenplay, see Copyright Registration, p. 268, or download Circular 45 Copyright...

Right to Suspend or Terminate

This clause details how and when a production company may suspend or terminate a crew member, performer, or other worker's contract. Essentially, it allows the production company to put the worker's contract on hold for a certain period of time for events beyond the parties' control (like force majeure). If the worker is ill, inca pacitated, engages in unprofessional behavior, or commits a crime, this clause also allows the production company to cancel the worker's contract altogether.

Step By Step Protecting An Idea

Make it as full, complete, and expressive as you can and register it with the US Copyright Office. (See Copyright Registration, p. 268.) 2. If possible, try to have the production company sign an NDA. 3. If an NDA is not possible, have your agent or attorney negotiate a waiver of the Submission Release form. 4. In the pitch meeting, try to create a contractual obligation contingent upon the movie studio using your idea. Example Say something like, I'm telling...

Stock And Royaltyfree Music

Rather than dealing with the headache and cost of licensing music from publishers and recording companies, many producers choose to purchase stock and royalty-free music.Although technically the producers are still licensing this music, the procedure is far less involved. Stock and royalty-free music is music designed especially to be used in connection with audiovisual programs. Most stock music companies also license sound effects. Many companies offer a one-time fee purchase whereby a...

The Audience for This Book

This book is aimed at the independent filmmaker who wants to make money by selling his or her film.You, the reader, may be an industry professional, a recent film school graduate, or an amateur who wants to break into the biz. Regardless of who you are, if you want a chance at selling your film you must have artistic passion and you must be prepared to treat your film project as a business. The book's premise is simple you can't sell something you don't own, and unless you take care of the...

The Film Property

During development, ideas and concepts are turned into screenplays literary rights are acquired life stories are purchased. In short, this is the stage of a film's life cycle in which the film property first takes shape. No matter what kind of audiovisual production a filmmaker wants to make a narrative film, a television commercial, a documentary, an industrial video the filmmaker will need to have the legal right to tell that particular story. To put it bluntly, this is one of the most...

The National Archives

The National Archives in Washington D.C. has a huge selection of public domain footage produced by the U.S. government.This material is copyright-free, does not require a license agreement, and can be obtained for little more than the cost of laboratory and other duplication fees. For details on how to obtain copies of public domain films from the national archives, see 1. Locate the copyright holder of the film clip you want to use. (See Copyright Searches and Permissions, p. 102.) 2. Contact...

The Ownership Of Rights

This is often affected by which author came up with the idea upon which the screenplay is based. (To keep things simple, many writers opt to share the rights equally, despite one of them being the idea person.) Ownership issues include Who will own the rights to the screenplay Do the writers intend to be joint authors If the writers do NOT want to be considered joint authors, the agreement should specify this. How is the ownership of the rights divided Is it shared equally Are the rights shared...

Whats Allowed in One State May Not Be Allowed in Another

What makes this area particularly tricky is that most of the rights involved are governed by state laws. And to make things even more complex, the laws differ from state to state. For instance, some states recognize a right of publicity others don't. To be on the safe side, you should obtain the broadest possible set of rights and releases from all persons whose stories are depicted recognizably in the film. It's C.Y.A. time here. If you don't, you could expose yourself to liability if you...

Works Created by the US Government

Works created by the U.S. government are not protected by copyright.11 A work of the U.S. government is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties.12 Example Jolene wants to use photographs from NASA's Hubble telescope as a background to her music video. She may do so without seeking NASA's permission because NASA is a federal agency and its images are generally not copyrighted. She must, however, be careful when using...

Writing Collaboration Writing Partners And Joint Authorship

Whether you are writing a screenplay that you plan to produce or are writing one that you hope to sell, at some point you may decide to collaborate with other writers. Writing partners can be a great way to ease the burden of creating a 120-page screenplay. They help each other through writer's blocks, share in the actual workload, and bring new and fresh perspectives to each other's material. But, as with any business relationship, working with a writing partner can create legal problems,...

Security Interest

A security interest is a property interest in collateral pledged to secure a loan or other obligation. For example, when you buy a car on credit, the loan company has a security interest in your automobile. Often filmmakers are required to grant a security interest in their films as collateral for a loan. Sometimes filmmakers must grant a security interest to secure other obligations. For instance, producers who have agreed to work under Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) rules are required to grant a...

Remedies For Breach Of Contract

A party that has been hurt because the other party to the contract has breached that contract may sue for breach of contract.The chief remedy for a breach of contract is the award of monetary damages.The primary kinds of damages awarded for breach of contract are compensatory and consequential. Compensatory damages compensate the hurt party by paying her an amount of money that will Put her in the position that she would have been in, had the contract been performed as expected, or Put her in...

Net Profits

In its most basic definition, net profits is the money which remains after the costs of making, marketing, advertising, financing, and distributing the film have been repaid. In other words, net profits are what are left over after everything else has been deducted. When people refer to points on the back end they are referring to a percentage of a film's net profits. No contract clause strikes as much terror into the hearts of profit participants as does the clause which lays out the...

Movie Studio Footage

Unlike stock footage houses, movie studios may not be as amenable to licensing clips of its films to independent producers. Furthermore, the studio may not have all the rights you need to license. For instance, if the film was based upon a preexisting literary property, such as a stage play, novel, or comic book, the studio may have only obtained the rights to exploit that literary property within that motion picture only. In other words, it may not have the right to license clips from that...

Hiring A Screenwriter

Often a writer will pitch an idea to a production company in the hopes that the production company will hire her to write the screenplay. See Idea Rights, p. 51. Or a filmmaker will have an idea or own the rights to literary property and need to hire a writer to turn that idea or property into a screenplay. See Literary Adaptations, p. 65. At the outset it is critical that the production company that hires the writer complies with all of the state and federal labor and employment laws. See...

Why You Need A Location Release

If you shoot on somebody's private property without his or her permission, you may expose your production to criminal penalties and civil liability for trespass, trespass to chattels, invasion of privacy, and nuisance.A location release is a contract between you and the property owner or other authorized party that gives you the right to enter that property and shoot your film. In addition to preventing lawsuits, a location release is also an enforceable contract which gives you a right to...

Always Negotiate a Purchase Agreement with the Option

When you negotiate the Option Agreement you must, at the same time, also negotiate the purchase price and other key terms of the screenplay sale. A filmmaker who has negotiated the Option Agreement to a screenplay, but not the Purchase Agreement, holds a worthless option. It is worthless because although the filmmaker may exercise the option, the sale terms have not been agreed upon and, therefore, the screenwriter is not obligated to sell the script to the filmmaker for a certain price. In the...

Copyright Recordation Assignments And Transfers

Any contract or other document that transfers copyright ownership may be recorded at the Copyright Office. In other words, you should record writing agreements, options, literary property purchase agreements, copyright assignments, and contracts containing copyright assignment or licenses clauses. In fact, the Copyright Office will record any document pertaining to a copyright. Recording a contract or other document pertaining to copyright ownership has several effects. It establishes a public...

Law Copyright Issues

The distributor may want to investigate your film's chain of title pretty thoroughly. Be prepared to supply the following All contracts pertaining to the film property. These include screenplay agreements, literary rights acquisition agreements, life rights consents, and assignments of all of the copyrights in and to the film property to the production company. See The Film Property, p. 14. All service contracts of creative personnel, especially performers, writers, directors, and musicians.The...

Music Licensing

Music licensing is one of the trickiest areas of entertainment law. For prerecorded songs the work of seeking permissions is doubled. This is because there are actually two kinds of copyrights to every piece of recorded music, and licenses need to be obtained from each copyright owner.You need to secure the permissions from The party who owns the copyright to the musical composition. The party who owns the rights to the recording of the composition that you plan to use. The two copyrights...

Avoiding Disaffirmance of a Minors Contract in California

Most states have laws that allow a person to get out of contracts that he or she made when they were a minor called disaffirming a contract . This can be extremely problematical for filmmakers who find that the contracts they have with their minor performers are no longer valid. In California, however, if an entertainment contract is approved by Superior Court, it cannot be disaffirmed.25 Any party can seek court approval, and the approval extends to the whole contract and all of its terms and...

Crew Services Agreement

In contrast to the above-the-line contracts, below-the-line contracts tend not to be as heavily negotiated. Accordingly, many production companies tend to work with deal memos rather than long form contracts when hiring crew members. This approach has the advantage of simplicity a fill-in-the-blank approach favored by time-strapped producers. The downside is that many deals are not as one size fits all as producers would like to believe. For instance, a cinematographer who is hired on the...

Permits Required to Employ a Minor in California

In California, a producer who wants to hire a minor to act in a film must first obtain from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement a Permit to Employ Minors in the Entertainment Industry PEMEI or file an Application for Permission to Employ Minors in the Entertainment Industry DLSE form 281 and be granted one.You can find the form at http www.dir.ca. gov dlse DLSEForm281.pdf. The parent or guardian must apply for an Entertainment Work Permit DLSE form 275 EWP by completing an Application...

Step By Step Copyright Searches and Permissions

At some point in the filmmaking process you will need to get permission to use somebody else's copyrighted work in your film. Unfortunately, finding a copyright owner can often be tricky. Here are some tips to help you locate a copyright owner and seek permission to use their work 1. Get basic information about the work To begin, you will need to get some fundamental information about the work itself The year of publication. If this is a book, this information will be found as part of the...

Screenplay Clearance Report

Prior to production, you should have your entertainment attorney prepare a screenplay clearance report. Essentially, this report details potential legal problem areas in the screenplay. The report should combine the efforts of a copyright records search to identify conflicting copyright ownership and infringement issues, and a compre- hensive legal analysis to identify other intellectual property, defamation, and liability The report should alert you to the following legal issues, if present...

Trademarks On The

When most people think of a trademark, they think of logos for products Coke , Nike , McDonalds or services Club Med , SuperCuts , Amazon.com .This is fairly accurate, as trademarks and service marks are used 1 to identify and distinguish a trademark owner's goods and services from those sold by others and 2 to identify for consumers the source of those goods and services. Trademarks are found on product labels, billboards, and clothing insignias. But trademarks can also be sounds, like the NBC...

Major Deal Points Producers Services Agreement

The Producer's Services Agreement is used to hire a Producer.With slight modifications it can be used for line producers, producers, and executive producers. Most of the agreements in this book are written from the producer production company's point of view.The deal points for the following Producer's Services Agreement are given from the point of view of a production company wanting to hire a producer. Production Company. The production company will want to hire a producer while still...

De Minimis Taking

De minimis is a fancy Latin phrase which means of the least, or of trifles. It refers to the taking of an insignificant amount of the copyrighted work, so trifling that a court will rule that no harm is done even though what was taken was taken, without permission. Although this is a defense to infringement, rather than an exception to copyrightability, it does underscore the fact that courts will rule that some infringement is just too harmless to worry about. Example Several years ago, a...

Major Deal Points Music Licensing Agreement

Production Company.The work of the production company is doubled and it may need to negotiate and execute two separate license agreements from two or more parties. Make sure you are asking the correct party for the correct license. Music Publisher. You will always need to secure the license to use the musical composition from the publisher. In one contract from the publisher, obtain the following licenses synchronization, performance, and videogram licenses. Record Company. If you need to use...

What Are Life Story Rights

Actually, the term life story rights is a bit of a misnomer. In reality, what you will be acquiring is a collection of rights and releases from liability. Typically, a Life Rights Consent Agreement grants to the filmmaker the following rights The right to portray a particular person's life in whole or in part. The right to fictionalize or modify that person's life story. The right and sometimes the obligation to use pseudonyms for people and places portrayed in the life story. The copyright to...

Major Deal Points Distribution Agreement

The distribution agreement is the contract governing the relationship between the distributor, who exploits the film, and the production company, which created the film. Production Company. The production company is seeking a distributor with the ability to license the film effectively in certain territories. All distributors have their strengths and weaknesses for instance, many distributors are better at exploiting domestic rights than international rights. It may be in a producer's best...

Separation of Rights

Writers who are members of the WGA have special rights called separated rights. Separated rights are additional rights granted to WGA members who create original works under the WGA MBA. If a writer creates an original screenplay, or contributes a substantially new story to pre-existing material that has been assigned to him or her, the writer may be entitled to a separation of rights. These rights, which stem from copyright, would not automatically flow to the writer for hire in the absence of...

Getting Permission To Use A Location

A shooting permit is permission from the city or municipality to shoot on public or private property within that jurisdiction. Many filmmakers believe that they only need to worry about shooting permits if they are filming on public property, such as streets or parks. In actuality, some jurisdictions require filmmakers to secure permits and pay filing fees even if they plan only to shoot on private property within the municipality The key is to check with the city clerk's office in the city or...

How To Get A Script To A Sag Actor

The best way to locate a particular SAG actor is through his or her agent. If an actor is represented by an agent, pitch the project first to the agent and never talk business directly with the actor. Agents are very protective of their actors. Nothing gets under an agent's skin more than feeling like a production company is going behind his or her back and negotiating directly with the performer. But how do you find out which actor is represented by which agent If you're working with a casting...

Right of First Negotiation

Whoever holds the right of first negotiation is saying, You have to deal with me first For instance, if the owner of a copyright wants to sell or license that copyright, this clause requires the copyright owner to first negotiate the sale of the copyright with the party who holds the right of first negotiation. If after good faith negotiation the parties can't reach an agreement, or if the holder of the right of first negotiation doesn't want to buy the copyright, then the copyright owner is...

What Is A Chain Of Title

It's not enough to have a great screenplay.You also have to protect it by safeguarding its copyright. To care for your copyright, you must register it with the U.S. Copyright Office, always display the proper copyright notice on all copies of the script and prints of the film, and maintain a clean chain of title. The chain of title is the unbroken record of ownership of the copyright and other legal rights to the film property. You will need to prove the film's chain of title to distributors,...

Ultra Low Budget Sag Wardrobe Allowance

Most independent producers do not have much money therefore the most important thing a low-budget producer can offer a professional actor is a great role, in a great script, in a great movie that will receive distribution. Other ways that you can entice an actor to be in your film without breaking your bank include Offering him a higher salary, but making most of it deferred compensation. Offering him an associate producer credit. Offering those perks and amenities you may...

Certificate Of Authorship

A Certificate of Authorship is a key document in the chain of title of a motion picture. This is a notarized statement by the writer identifying the author of the script. In the case of a work made for hire, the script's author is considered to be the production company. A certificate should be executed by all of the script's authors. I, writer's name certify that I have written the attached screenplay as a work made for hire for production company's name , pursuant to that writer's services...

No Injunction

An injunction is a court order commanding something to be done or preventing something from being done. For instance, a court could issue an injunction halting distribution of your movie, or order that a copyright registration be amended to include another author. To obtain an injunction, the person seeking an injunction must show that money alone will not compensate the injury and that irreparable injury will result unless the injunction is granted. In a film contract, a no injunction clause...

Services Agreement

If you are hiring a composer with his or her own equipment and recording studio, you will need to negotiate a Composer's Services Agreement. When working with the composer, the ownership of the rights to the soundtrack is a key issue. Producers should structure the deal as a work made for hire, with rights to both the recording and to the composition vesting initially in the production company.This will avoid issues of controlling the exploitation of the publisher's share of the copyright. It...

Nondisclosure Agreements And Submission Releases

If possible, the filmmaker should try to have the production company sign a Nondisclosure Agreement NDA . This is a contract in which the production company will agree that The idea is unique and valuable. The idea is the filmmaker's proprietary information. The production company will keep this idea confidential. The production company will not exploit the idea without permission. If the production company does exploit the idea, the filmmaker will be compensated. A filmmaker generally does not...

Right of Last Refusal

In a way, the right of last refusal clause is like a bookend to the right of first negotiation see previous . Effectively, the right of last refusal gives one party the last bite at the apple. Like the right of first negotiation, this clause comes into play when the owner of copyright or any other rights wants to sell or license those rights. After the copyright owner has negotiated a deal for the sale or license of the copyright the owner must first offer those same deal terms to the person...

Filmmakers Guide To Intellectual Property

This section will provide you with a general background on those areas of intellectual property law that most impact the filmmaking process. Here you will find resources to help your understanding of the following Copyright law p. 249 What is a copyright p. 249 Copyright rights. p. 250 Copyright terminology. p. 250 What is not protectable under U.S. copyright law p. 253 Right of Publicity p. 271 What is the right of publicity p. 271 First Amendment and the right of publicity. p. 272 Tests to...

Major Deal Points Location Agreement Parties

The production company wants to be able to shoot unhindered in a particular location. It will need time to load in and set up equipment, the right and the time for the art directors to change the location, and time to remove equipment and to restore the property to its original state. Grantor. The person or company granting the rights in the location release is called the grantor. It is usually the property or business owner. Make sure to get the full legal name of the...

The Screen Actors Guild

Hands down, the thing that is most likely to get your film sold is having a known actor or actress as your lead. Your brother your film's major investor may be a wonderful actor, but unless he has had a recurring role in a television series or at least a supporting role in a feature film, he will not help you sell your movie. Sure there are exceptions to this rule for instance, the three lead actors in the movie The Blair Witch Project did not have substantial television and film credits prior...