Filmmaking is constantly evolving and developing to adapt to the new standards of the world. Once these were silent films only, today every cinematic art is full of words, music, dances and paintings, as well as copyright protected elements. Taking into account that filmmaking consists of hundreds of players, how can you protect your own ideas against being stolen or used without your consent?
Well, the important thing experts from Red Rock Entertainment production company have to say – watch your every single step with the film development: from the mere idea to its distribution. If you create something truly valuable, the high chances are that someone more experienced or artful than you will try to steal your work. Or on the contrary, you will not document a particular collaboration and then get sued for not working by the law. To avoid any of these rather unpleasant and tiresome cases, it is essential that you have the right paperwork in place.
Copyright is the foundation of all intellectual property rights for a filmmaker. It helps you protect your work and ensures that you do not break any laws regarding the intellectual property of others.
The copyright laws are applied towards every single member of your cast and crew involved in the filmmaking process. All those names enumerated in the final credits, namely screenwriters, musicians, actors, costume and makeup designers, camera operators, etc. are the owners of some copyright for a film. To protect yourself as a filmmaker from any lawsuits coming from those people, you need to ensure that you receive their documented consent for using their art or work in your film. And especially sign such copyright agreements with the people you know since at the end these are cases with friends and family that get to the front pages of tabloids.
The script is, in fact, the main proof that the idea of the film belongs to you. Again, to be on the safe side, you need to cover it with legal protection. To ensure that no one else uses your idea for adaptations or other works of art without your consent, register the writing with The Writers’ Union and also protect it by the copyright. The cost of both registrations is about £9/month which is a small price for the full coverage.
Why is it important? Even the best writers require some proofreading and screenwriting help. The experts dealing with this part of your work might not be that decent and hence steal your ideas. However, if your work is protected by the law, you can sleep tight. Don’t also forget that if your script is based on another piece of art (a novel, a film, a story), you will need to pay particular fees to the owners of these pieces of art in order not to cross the legal line of no return.
Just as directors might be the holders of your film’s creative rights, the actors and other performers have the right for it as well. These are pretty complex and sensitive matters, and nevertheless very common for the film representatives. The production team from Red Rock Entertainment reviews hundreds of deals with performers for their projects and insists on the importance of the fairly discussed conditions of employment for every set member. The legal rights of every performer will vary depending on their contribution to a film as well as the country’s legal system stance on the matter. To learn more about this aspect, visit the official webpage of the UK.
Why does it all matter?
Proper documents and agreements written and signed by all parties involved are essential for the distribution. To get a film released, you must own the right to do so. And if one of your actors does not get consent for the film release because he or she claims their rights for the piece of art, then you are likely to wallow in courts and postpone film release for a couple of years.
The doubts are huge that you would like to be involved in such a case, so ensure that the above-mentioned protection exists. Moreover, besides the previous documentation, you will also have to sign particular distribution deals that will guarantee your profit from the film’s popularity. Producers are the ones who usually take care of this part, yet make sure that you know about the agreements as well. Be ready that in most cases, your distributors will have the right to change the name of the film and even cut it so don’t be surprised when a required document will need to be signed.
You can see that there is a vast number of people who will need you as the main idea-holder and filmmaker, consent to work in/with your project. Make sure that your papers are in the right order to avoid any speculation or confusion when the time for the film release comes.
Disclaimer: This article serves the informative purpose only. It should not be seen as any kind of legal advice. If you do need to discuss a serious intellectual property case related to your film, please seek professional legal help from a licensed lawyer.