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The Creative Artist's Legal Guide

The Creative Artist's Legal Guide: Copyright, Trademark and Contracts in Film and Digital Media Production

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 350
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  • Book Info
    The Creative Artist's Legal Guide
    Book Description:

    In today's complex media environment, aspiring filmmakers and new media artists are as vulnerable as swimmers in shark-infested waters. This user-friendly guide supplies creative artists with the essential legal concepts needed to swim safely with lawyers, agents, executives, and other experts in intellectual property and business law

    How do I copyright my screenplay? How can I clear rights for my film project? What can I do to avoid legal trouble when I produce my mockumentary? How do I ascertain whether a vintage novel is in the public domain? Is the trademark I've invented for my production company available? What about copyright and trademark rights overseas? If I upload my film to YouTube, do I give up any rights?

    Bill Seiter and Ellen Seiter answer these questions and countless others while also demystifying the fundamental principles of intellectual property. Clear and thorough, this plain-spoken and practical guide is essential for anyone seeking to navigate the rapidly changing media environment of today.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18354-2
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    (pp. IX-XII)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Copyright
    (pp. 1-63)

    One of these days you’re going to get a “cease and desist” letter. It will be from a law firm you never heard of, written on behalf of a client you may or may not have heard of. It is called a cease and desist letter because it demands you cease doing something their client doesn’t like, and desist from ever, ever doing it again. It will have some nasty things to say about a creative project you are on the brink of releasing, or a project you just released, or a project you released ages ago. It will follow...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Trademarks
    (pp. 64-114)

    Even James Bond, Hollywood’s most valuable piece of intellectual property, wants to own his own piece of IP. We’ll never know for sure whether he was joking about the patent, but he certainly does love his brands. An incorrigible name dropper, Bond is the epitome of what every trademark owner hopes every consumer aspires to be—a connoisseur.

    Not just any gin will do for Bond, it has to be Gordon’s. Not just any apéritif wine to flavor things up, it has to be Kina Lillet. The ultimate discerning customer, Bond would be at a loss without trademarks to identify...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Terms and Conditions
    (pp. 115-135)

    Most successful creative artists, even the Coen brothers, travel a long and winding road before they get an opportunity to play with other people’s money in their corner of the sandbox. Joel Coen survived the undergraduate film program at New York University, then labored in the industrial film and music video vineyards as a production assistant before meeting director Sam Raimi and getting his break as an assistant editor.

    You too should be so lucky, and then the day may come when you will wheel and deal with the likes of producer Scott Rudin, who bought the film rights to...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Contracts
    (pp. 136-168)

    That wasn’t so bad, was it? says Marlow.

    You groan. Contract negotiations with a retired English teacher really stink.

    Bonnie Charlotte laughs, seated beside Marlow in the front of his vintage Aston Martin DB5.

    Miss Bonnie, Marlow hams up a fake Southern accent, you sure drive a hard bargain.

    You hold your tongue, scrunched up in the back seat, wondering where he jacked the car.

    It seems like years since that fateful afternoon you dusted offHispaniolathe novel on a chance visit to Marlow’s Collectibles. Over time you’ve learned a thing or two about contracts. You’ve negotiated your share,...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Rights of Privacy and Publicity
    (pp. 169-191)

    In his final year in office, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law in the Golden State an “anti-paparazzi” bill enabling lawsuits against tabloids, television, and other media outlets that pay for and use material they know was improperly obtained in violation of a person’s right of privacy. It was the latest milestone on a long and winding road of legal developments enlarging rights of privacy and publicity.

    Simply put, the right of privacy is one’s right to be left alone, and the right of publicity is one’s right to control the use of his or her name, image, likeness,...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Internet and New Media
    (pp. 192-219)

    In 1984, Microsoft’s MS-DOS 3.0 upgraded MS-DOS 2.0, the 3.5-inch floppy diskette debuted, Hitachi sold the first 1 MB chip, Dell Computer was launched, author William Gibson coined the term “cyberspace” and used it in his cyberpunk novelNeuromancer, USC School of Engineering student Fred Cohen coined the term “computer virus” and showed how to write one,Beverly Hills CopandGhostbusterswere tops at the box office, Dire Straits recordedBrothers in Arms, the first CD album to sell a million copies, Megadeth recorded its demo tape, 1984Demo, Apple’s Macintosh kicked off with a Super Bowl ad entitled...

  10. Epilogue
    (pp. 220-222)

    There is a pause of profound stillness aboard theNellie, then a match flares, and the Director of Companies’ plump face appears, with an aspect of concentrated attention, and as he takes vigorous draws at his cigar, it seems to retreat and advance out of the night in the regular flicker of his Dunhill lighter. The light goes out. He laughs.

    What? says Marlow.

    Opening night jitters, he admits, turns to you, and asks: What time’s the red carpet?

    Seven, you reply, gazing out over the Marina.

    The Director of Companies smiles at you and says: You nailed it, kid....

  11. APPENDIX 1: How to Register a Copyright
    (pp. 223-228)
  12. APPENDIX 2: How to Register a Trademark
    (pp. 229-232)
    (pp. 233-235)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 236-244)