Legal Case Analysis
Legal and Copyright Issues Involved with Independent Film Making
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the bachelors of audio production
Date of Submission: 26.09.12 Word Count: 1013 Institution: SAE
Vergone_102710 BCM220.3 Essay 26.09.12
The most confusing area for an independent film maker is dealing with all the legal issues, as an example situation of these legal issues here is a situation with an independent filmmaker who wants to make a music video clip. This music video is for an independent band from perth the film maker is curious about all the legal issues involved in her situation. The song was written by the entire band and was recorded at the singer’s home studio, the band has some basic ideas that would like to include in the music video. This music video is going to be placed on You-tube as well as the bands website and will be included as an additional feature to the CD package which will be distributed by a record label in Australia. As there will be a profit taken from the distribution of the music video there are many legalities including contracts, legal forms and possible lawsuits.
The first issue that will arise for the independent film maker is copyright, if someone decides they like the way the music video is put together or decided to reproduce the music video then copyright acts come into affect. Copyright is a form of protection provided by the law to protect original works of authorship including such things as literary, dramatic work, musical, artistic and other intellectual work. The way this works is that if the work is an original creation then it is automatically protected under copyright law, you own a copyright in your work when you write and register it. If your work is based on other material such as the scenario above where the music video is based on the bands artistic material meaning the independent film maker does not own the copyright to the underlying material. This work that existed before is the property of the band, being the music that the band produced and the copyright under the film maker exists in the additions and creations on top of the underlying work. (James M. O’brien, 2008)
The most common ways to register or establish proof of your work is to register with the Copyright Office in Australia, this is not exactly creating full protection of your work but this helps to prove when the work was created. The earlier you register your work the earlier you will establish your creation. Once a copyright has been obtained then a copyright protection symbol or statement must be placed in the work such as on the title page or in the music video introduction or at the end credits. Most independent film makers enter into collective bargaining agreements with unions when producing their films. In this circumstance the union is the record label as they will be distributing the work on behalf or the band and the independent film maker. The record labels use their collective bargaining powers to establish rules and regulations for working conditions and most importantly for dividing profit. This is where the film maker must watch what contracts and legal forms are signed and put in place to make sure that the independent film maker is not being ripped off by the unions.
Vergone_102710 BCM220.3 Essay 26.09.12
The steps that a producer or film maker use as guidelines are called clearance procedures, these are are to make sure the film is not in violation of anyone else’s copyright. A ‘cleared’ film is a film that can be distributed, preformed, copied and otherwise exploited by a film maker or distributors such as record labels without infringing or violating someones rights. Without proper clearance a film is generally not distributable so in our circumstance this independent film maker will have to have follow clearance procedures before releasing to the record company and before distribution....