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Copyright Law

How New AB-5 Law Affects the Entertainment Industry in California

The state's attempts to regulate gig drivers working for companies like Uber and Lyft have had unintended consequences, particularly impacting the independent film industry. While the legislation was designed to address issues surrounding worker classification and ensure fair treatment for gig economy workers, its broad scope has inadvertently ensnared freelance professionals in other sectors, including filmmaking....

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Tips for film distributors

In the intriguing case of Randles Films v Quantum Releasing (2014), the complexities of copyright law, particularly the extraterritoriality limitation of the US Copyright Act, come to the forefront. This case serves as a pivotal example of how copyright laws are applied in cross-border disputes and the extent to which US copyright protections extend beyond its borders....

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The Doctrine of Work for Hire is Often Misunderstood

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Today, we're going to talk about the doctrine of work for hire in copyright law. Often, there can be situations where you think you own a copyright because the work was made for hire for you or your production company. But, in fact, contrary to what the contract states, you might own nothing. Let's explore the caveats and ways to solve this problem. Many think that just because they have a contract with artists and have paid for the work, they own the copyrights. Let's say you own a film production company and you've hired a screenwriter to write a screenplay....

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Trademark Clearance for Screenwriters: Navigating the Legal Landscape

Trademark clearance is a critical step for screenwriters to protect their work and avoid legal entanglements. By understanding what needs to be cleared, avoiding certain words, and following best practices, screenwriters can navigate these legal waters with greater confidence and security. Always remember, when in doubt, seek legal advice to ensure that your creative work remains both original and compliant....

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Can an Idea be Protected Under the Law?

The key principle in federal copyright law is the distinction between an 'idea' and its 'expression'. This law protects the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. For filmmakers, this means that while a general plot concept, like a romantic comedy set in New York or California, is not protected, the actual script with its unique dialogue, character development, and scene descriptions, is....

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How to get financing for your independent film: Insights from lawyer Ernest Goodman

Unfortunately, if your film isn't produced by Netflix, it's likely to be buried in their content library, and the same applies to Amazon. These platforms typically don't actively market films unless they're labeled as Amazon or Netflix originals. While there are distribution companies that can place your film on Netflix, significant earnings are not guaranteed. From my experience with numerous films, Netflix is often where they go to die....

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The Crucial Role of a Certificate of Clearance in Film Financing: Insights from Lawyer Ernest Goodman

Financiers and distributors are pivotal in transforming screenplays into cinematic realities. However, their support comes with a caveat: a strict adherence to legal assurances. Without a certificate of clearance, these entities fear the legal repercussions of copyright infringement, which can lead to costly lawsuits and project derailments. Hence, they typically refrain from financing projects lacking this essential document....

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Tips for IP Portfolio Management

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An IP portfolio refers to the collection of intellectual property owned by an individual or a company, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. It serves as a strategic asset for the business, providing protection for the company's products, processes, and ideas. An IP portfolio can be used to deter potential competitors from infringing on the company's intellectual property rights and can also be leveraged to generate revenue through licensing agreements or other commercial transactions....

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