Copyright, Trademark, and Intellectual Property for Filmmakers

 

Copyright, Trademark, and Intellectual Property for Filmmakers

 

Lesson Info

Copyright Benefits and Coverage

You've heard me drill into your brains how important it is to protect your intellectual property and we've talked about one of the ways you can do that which is client service agreements now we're going to talk about copyright registration and how you can register the copyrights for your vast amount of footage on and be able to reserve your rights tio sell that work toe license and also to protect that work should somebody tried to steal it? Okay, so there's a lot of benefits to copyright registration let's dive in and talk about what some of those benefits are so one of the first benefit is that you create an official government record of your creation and ownership of the work s o that's step one that's the first benefit that you get on dh this can be used in a lot of different context for example, if you're going to sell it orderlies since the work a lot of times a big company will want to see the copyright registration certificate to make sure that you are actually the owner and cr...

eator of the work. The other benefit to this is that it's sort of like a birth certificate, right? If you were trying to prove or had to prove in a particular context that you're their creator, that would be your proof ok, so it's sort of like a birth certificate for your creative works so that's one benefit another benefit is that you get to bring a federal lawsuit you actually cannot bring a copyright infringement lawsuit unless you have a federally registered copyright with the u s copyright office so that's really important right? Infringers air sort of like experts at this now, you know, there are people out there who sort of steel content for a living, including your precious videos, right that you can sell and license in so many different ways, so really important for you to protect that work and one of the ways you do that is with the threat of a lawsuit, right? So if you're a professional infringer, you know that you know, if a work isn't registered than that person doesn't have a lot of recourse to stop you from stealing their work. So that's, why you want to get a copyright registration? You want to go through that process so that you have a way to bring a lawsuit and you can create that threatened? I know most of us don't want to actually have to bring a lawsuit, but just the threat of a lawsuit is really, really powerful, so still very worthwhile to do just so that you have that way to reserve your rights should you need them there's also been a lot of what I've seen where, where creative's have their work stolen by a big company there was a blogger travel blogger that I knew of who created a variety of videos for his blogged showing people how he worked different jobs around the world and how you can get a job in all these different locations around the world. S o you created a pretty popular blogger and shared a bunch of videos come to find out an hr staffing companies really large company actually stole the entire concept behind those videos so they didn't steal his actual videos but they stole the concept they stole the script everything that he was saying and then they hired an actor who looked exactly like him to appear in the video they also stole his trademark too so they misused his brand name is well they actually wound up settling in that case and paying a one hundred thousand dollars for misappropriating his work but one of the one of the reasons they did that is because he kind of created this social media campaign and got a lot of you know creatives and you know, sort of activated his community behind him and that's what got this company you know, to actually I talked to him and negotiate a settlement at first they wouldn't hear him but not all of us can create a you know, raving social media campaign behind our legal issues right? So this is a way that you can preserve those rights and make sure that you have the right to bring a lawsuit if you need teo and that serves the same purpose as creating a social media campaign, right? It brings attention and awareness, and it makes that company pay attention to you and understand that you have rights and that you've taken steps to protect your rights. Okay, so this makes you not so vulnerable if you don't register the copyright that you're putting yourself in a position to be a victim, you know where other people can steal your stuff and there's not much recourse you have, we don't want that. Ok? We're not going to be victims, you're going to be empowered. Now that you're in this court, has you've watched these videos? You're taking this course, you're going to understand exactly how to protect yourself, and so I'm going to actually walk you through a copyright registration so you can see exactly what you need to do. You can do this on your own. The application fee is fifty five bucks. You know, this is something that you can definitely do in your business, but copyright infringement is required before you can bring a federal lawsuit so very, very important, and then lastly, you get to seek statutory damages. This is really, really powerful, okay? Statutory damages is kind of like almost like free money. Right it's money that you don't have to prove that you've lost all right so let me show you how this works so if you bring a lawsuit against you know let's say if you were in the situation of that travel blogger I mentioned and someone you know larger company stole your videos was misusing them on their website didn't pay you for the privilege in fact completely ignored the fact that you created them if you wanted to bring ah lawsuit against them you could do that right? So let's say you bring a lawsuit, you go through that process and the court says hey tell me what were your damages all right, we agree this person has stole stolen your content they've stolen your videos um what should they owe you? Okay. How have you been damaged by them still in your videos? How do you quantify that? How do you come up with a number for the way it's damaged your reputation or the traffic you might have lost or you know that licensing deal that might have been lost because you know if you would protected your work and maybe they approached you tow license it what would that have been worth or what would another company license your videos for or potential sponsorships that you could have required it's hard to know it's almost like you need a damages expert you gotta hire somebody else which is another you know, cost to figure out what you'd be owed right in a lawsuit so the statutory damages eliminates that situation so you automatically get thirty thousand dollars per instance of infringement if the court finds that this company infringed on your copyright rights okay, so very, very useful you don't have to prove it you just get it so soon as you prove that this person stole your work, you get thirty thousand dollars per instance of copyright infringement, okay, so it makes it worthwhile to bring the lawsuit in the first place you also get attorneys fees, so if you had to pay an attorney fifteen thousand dollars to bring the lawsuit in the first place, you'd not only get those statutory damages, but you'd get your attorney's fees back as well, okay, so that makes it possible for small businesses like ours to protect ourselves from larger companies who would steal our work? Okay, so that's one thing the other aspect of the statutory damages is if it's a willful infringement. So in this case with the travel blogger, this company definitely was aware of this travel blogger and purposefully stole his work and recreated it and put it on their own website, so the copyright infringement was obviously willful and wouldn't have been that hard for an attorney to prove that it wass willful copyright infringement comes in the hundreds of thousands so I believe it's somewhere around one hundred fifty thousand dollars per instance of willful copyright infringement so every video that they re created that was his you know every instance of them stealing his copyrighted works they would have had to pay one hundred fifty thousand dollars so you know, obviously these rights are very, very valuable onda allow you to really protect yourself and protect your I p so these are some of the benefits of copyright registration that I want you to know all right? So let's talk about what you can register the copyright for okay, so here are some of the things that can be protected by copyright in the things that cannot be protected by copyright s o we have literary works novels, e books, computer programs, newspapers, musical works, dramatic works, artistic works like photographs and prince and graphic designs but also audio visual works so films, commercials, video recordings so all the footage that you're creating is all copyright protectable sound recordings as well. So you get the benefit of you know the actual images the footage but then you also get the sound as well is also protected and any you know, musical dramatic literary works that are recorded you know, audio in a sound recording are protected so here's some of the things that you cannot protect by copyright ideas and thoughts, so if you have an idea for a film you can't necessarily protect the idea or the thought itself you actually have to put it in some type of tangible form, writes you actually have to record the film or you have to create the script or you have to put it in some sort of format that shows that you're taking that idea and actually putting it down on paper or recording it or photographing it or whatever it is, okay business names, slogans and titles these are also things that you cannot copyright this would be something that you would actually trademark, so trademark registration is what you news used to protect your brand name. For example, if your studio has a specific name, you can register the trademark for that name, and we're going to talk about that in a little while as well. So work's not fixed in a tangible form. Like I said, it has to be in some sort of format that you can upload to the copyright office to show that you've actually got something here. It's not just a new idea of thought in your head. Um, and also systems process these methods and devices these are things that you don't protect via copyright, that something that you protect with patents and trade secrets there may be situations where patents or trade secrets is applicable to you, but for most filmmakers it's not super, you know it's not super applicable to your business, eh? So we're not going to cover that today, but just know that that's something that cannot be copyrighted. That is something that you either want to protect with, ah, patent or protected as a trade secret. And then common knowledge is also not something that you could protect with copyright it's. Just, you know, it has to be a creative work. It can't be something that's, incredibly obvious, you know. And lastly, your mother, we just threw that in there for fun. You cannot register the copyright for your mother. Um, so again, these are the five rights of copyright, so this is actually what youre preserving. When you're registering your copyright, the right to reproduce the right to prepare derivative works the right to distribute copies and the right to perform and the right to display the work.

Class Description

It’s one thing to know terms like “copyright infringement” or “intellectual property” – understanding and applying those concepts as a filmmaker can be much more challenging. Join Rachel Rodgers to learn everything you need to know to become your own best advocate.

In this class, you’ll learn when and why you need signed releases. You’ll also learn how to create client service agreements that protect your best interests. Rachel will also help you troubleshoot common copyright infringement issues filmmakers often face. Documentary filmmaker Eric Proux will join the conversation to share his been-there-done-that expertise.

No matter what type of films you make, this class will give you the skills and confidence to both defend and profit from your unique creations.