Since we’re all inside working on screenplays (right?), we’re re-sharing this post on a common question: Do I need life rights to write a screenplay?
Answering your question “Do I have rights?” is always the easy part. Enforcing them is another matter entirely. Make sure your agreements are honored.
There are plenty of instances of copyright infringement where the infringer didn’t make a cent. What is equally important is the nature of your use.
“Promissory estoppel” means that when you make a contract with someone, they cannot withdraw if they reasonably assume you will rely on them fulfilling it.
When I was in film school, a rumor developed that the school owned any student film we made there, stripping us of our hard-earned intellectual property.
He wouldn’t offer upfront compensation, but said I would be attached as the writer as part of a network deal. Are there any options here?
Q: I’m friends with a semi-famous musician and she’s helping me writing a biopic about her life. I was told […]
Question: Are quotes considered intellectual property and if so, would I need legal permission to use one in my feature film?
Q: Is there some way to ensure that I receive a “written by” or “screenplay by” credit when the client […]
Negotiating for talent, like any skill, can be learned, and with a little planning you’ll find it much easier than you expected.
As a producer, what are my rights when filming a documentary subject as he confronts a criminal about a past crime and/or as we uncover criminal activity?
Q: Who owns the copyright to a script when it’s based off someone else’s originally created characters? Cinema Law to the rescue.
Will fair use protect you? Half the questions I get in my law practice deal with this issue. Unfortunately, fair use is badly misunderstood and misapplied.
You should never begin working with someone until you have a written commitment from them, even if you feel like you trust them. Never ever.
Also known as “Contracts or it didn’t happen,” the practice of keeping a paper trail might help you get out of jail—or at least sleep better at night.
Q: I’m writing a film based on a doc I made. When I made the doc, all on-camera subjects signed release forms. Do I need life rights for the scripted film?
International copyright law doesn’t exist as a single monolithic area of practice. There’s no “international copyright” that covers you everywhere.
Under U.S. Copyright Law, each artist who works on a collective project like a film maintains ownership over their specific contribution to the project.
Entertainment lawyer Gregory Kanaan reassures aspiring indie filmmakers that fair trademark use does exist in a number of cases.
Most of the big film festival won’t accept a submission if all copyrighted material within the film isn’t cleared for use.
The work for hire (WFH) doctrine deals with your ownership rights over the copyright to any work you produce for someone else. Unfortunately, it’s so often misunderstood by both employees and employers
Q: I was just asked by a producer to work for free on an indie film but he promised that I would get great exposure from the gig. Is that a legitimate replacement for pay?
What rights does the documentary subject have if the film falls apart?
Cinema Law answers: Can you profit from a TV show that is successful due to your efforts? Can you take the show and sell to a different production company?