Displaying posts tagged with

“Screenwriting”

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.” […]

Share

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.

Share

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

Share

Options in the Motion Picture and Television Industries

In the financial industries, there are two broad types of options (which Black’s Law Dictionary defines generally as “the right of election to exercise a privilege.” One is the right to buy something in the future at a price you fix today, which Wall Street types term a “call.” The other broad category of option is the right to sell something in the future for a price you fix today, which financial investors term a “put.” There are variations on these two broad categories.

In motion pictures, it’s usually the first type people are talking about when they say “option.”

Share

Submitting Material to Film And Television Companies

While studio executives don’t usually steal ideas from submissions they receive, other people along the way might be tempted. Receptionists, messengers, and assistants may read your script. They may be struggling writers or producers themselves. They may like your concept and characters, but think they can write it better. Especially if they are new to the business and ill-informed, they may not consider it stealing to rewrite a version of your script and call it their own.

Share

Attachments to Screenplays

In simple terms, an attachment is someone (other than a writer) who has become involved with developing a screenplay to production and must be hired when production begins. When someone in the movie business says there is an attachment to a script, this is usually what they’re talking about. Usually, attachments are made because the script is good, but the writer is unable to get it to the “right people.” The “attachment agreement” can be a simple writing between the parties to record their mutual understanding of what is being promised.

Share

Why does a Filmmaker need a Lawyer?

Filmmakers need lawyers to advise them on their rights, protect those rights, and make sure those rights are accurately documented.

One of the saddest things I see in my practice is a filmmaker with a completed project who can’t sell it because the legal documentation isn’t correct. Why is this sad? Because it’s completely preventable.

Let me share with you one of the most important principles of professional film making: It doesn’t matter how good your movie is, if your legal work isn’t right, you don’t have a film to sell. (NOTE: if you’re making a home movie you plan to never show to the public, legal documentation is far less important.)

Why?

Share