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Copyright

Articles that discuss the history and principles of copyright law, as well as current trends.

Common Myths of “Fair Use”

Most people have heard the term “fair use” in the context of copyright, but it seems that very few really understand it. They seem to think it gives them the right to use someone else’s work under certain conditions. First of all, fair use is not a “right” at all, it is an “affirmative defense.” […]

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Entertainment Contracts: Part Two–Clauses to Include

In my last blog article, I wrote about the basics of every contract. But there are a few other clauses that should be in every entertainment contract, although these are sometimes overlooked. Here is a brief (and I emphasize the word brief) description of some of those paragraphs that should be included. As always, for […]

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Depicting Real Persons in Screenplays

There are a few general principles for screenwriters and producers dealing with material about real people.

Two main areas to be concerned about are right of publicity and right of privacy. This is a discussion of those two areas as they relate to depicting persons in screenplays.

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5 Myths About Copyright

In the olden days (before 1989), in order for a copyright to be in effect and remain effective, the author of the work was required to give notice to the public by putting a copyright notice on the work. No longer.

Copyright is effective as soon as the work is created. There is no requirement that the author put a notice of copyright on his or her work. There are advantages, however, to doing so. One is that it puts other people on notice that you are claiming the copyright

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Using Snippets of Music in Your Film

If your film is a documentary or news piece that comments on music (whether your comment is positive or negative), you may be entitled to use segments of the music to illustrate your point. If your film is a fiction narrative and the characters happen to be discussing a particular piece of music, whether that can be considered fair use is a bit more of a gray area.

United States Copyright law (in 17 U.S.C. § 107) contains a provision for “fair use of a copyrighted work” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. This provision allows, among other things, journalists and critics to quote passages of a work in their reportage on that work.

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