ABQ/Santa Fe! Legal Issues and Solutions in Audiovisual Production Lecture This Saturday 4/12/14

I’ll be giving a lecture at the South Broadway Community Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico this Saturday at 1pm, to discuss legal issues every production has to deal with – every time, whether you are doing a fiction movie or a documentary.  Plus, easy ways to address and solve these issues with the help of an attorney.

Brought to you by New Mexico Lawyers for the Arts and the Albuquerque Film Office

More info here.  Students with ID and NMLA members get in free.  General admission is $10.  NO RSVP needed.  Pay at the door.

2.5 hours of CLE credit are available to attorneys who attend, for $150.

Materials for attorneys will be available on site, but they may also be downloaded or viewed from this site on the day of the lecture.


VIDEO: How and When to PROTECT YOUR SCREENPLAY:  Copyright attaches to your work the minute you create it.  But registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office is a step you may regret not taking.  Which raises the question: what’s the difference between WGA Registration and Copyright registration?  It’s vast.  I’d dare to say that they’re not even in the same universe. Continue reading

9th Circuit: An actor’s performance is copyrightable

Always get talent to sign a release!  The 9th Circuit has ruled in a case involving the infamous ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film that an actor can under some circumstances claim a copyright interest in a performance, even if the lines spoken on camera were written by someone other than the actor.

What does that mean to the average indie filmmaker?  It’s very simple: for one, that you could lose the opportunity to distribute your movie just the way you intended if you neglect having talent sign a release – and that such a release better address copyright issues amount to a waiver of all claims.

The ruling provides the best evidence ever of why it’s important for producers to Continue reading

An idea whose time has come and gone: Dumb Starbucks Is Shut Down.

An idea whose time has come and gone: Dumb Starbucks Is Shut Down…“but for the least interesting reason possible.”

The trademark parody defense (note that copyright law wasn’t quite the issue here) remains a rather undeveloped area of the law.  And this stunt simply wasn’t shaping up into something that could make a good case for itself as a trademark dilution or trademark infringement parody:

We can at least be grateful this publicity stunt didn’t make its way through the court system, where it could have generated some bad precedent with its disingenuous take on fair use.

More at the link.  To sum up, it was poorly conceived, as if the term ‘parody’ were some sort of magic word that would make everything OK by merely invoking it.  And that’s just, well, dumb.