Once the owner of the copyright has been identified, the next step is to obtain written permission from the copyright holder to use their work. This is often called a âlicense,â âreleaseâ or a ârightâs agreement.â These may require the payment of money and they may not, this depends on a variety of variables. However, it is imperative that written permission be obtained even if you end up not paying any money or you are using a friendâs creative work.
The key elements of a written license are: 1) grant of rights; 2) representations and warranties; 3) price; 4) screen credit and 5) any other provisions, including the right to create other derivative works and option to use a screenplay.
Itâs at this stage that my clients often ask, is a copyright license or assignment always necessary? In short, the answer is yes. Just mentioning the name of a movie or book is ok and also there are those works covered by public domain and the fair use doctrine. Even if you wrote the screenplay, you will need to license or assign it to the production company.
The difference between a license and an assignment is a simple one. With a license, the original owner of the copyright is retaining ownership and is (often) being paid a license fee for the...
In this first installment of this weekâs articles I will be focusing on the common copyright issues that arise in the filmmaking industry.
What is copyright? For a detailed discussion please review our Copyright 101 section of www.tmroe.com. Briefly, a copyright is a form of protection granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Consequently, as soon as you put it on paper, film, tape, etc., you have a copyright. There must also me a degree of creativity, however, the bar is relatively low to meet this requirement.
For example, the film itself is copyrightable, but so are the soundtrack, shooting script and the depiction of the characters. But itâs not just what comes out in the end product that is protected by copyright, there are also works that are going into the making of the film that are likely copyrighted, the screenplay, individual songs, etc.
What rights does a copyright provide you with? A copyright provides you with the right to reproduce the work, publicly display and/or perform it, distribute it and the right to make derivative works. Derivative works are an expressive creation that includes major, copyright-protected elements of an original, previously created first...