Copyright, Trademark, and Intellectual Property for Filmmakers

 

Copyright, Trademark, and Intellectual Property for Filmmakers

 

Lesson Info

Grant of Rights Clause

So let's, talk about a grant of rights clause, okay, this is an actual contract clause from an actual contract that I have drafted for one of my clients now let's go through it together. I mean, it looks like a lot of legalese, and what happens is a lot of artists and creatives just say, you know what? I don't need to know that I'm just going to sign it and wish for the best know we're not doing that, okay? That's, why you're in this class today so you can understand what the hell is all this? You know, what is all this legally is doing, what is the point of it? So we're going to talk about that so you can get it really clearly. All right, this is what this is doing for me. And this is why it's really important to include it in your contract. Ok, so let's go through it all film, including individual frames, with or without sound. Also known as footage. Okay. That's, that's what this is doing when you see the paragraphs with the, um little quotations around it that is just defining what...

ever was there. So footage means individual frames, whether without sound, produced by the studio that's you is an original work of authorship protected by the united states copyright act. Okay, what is that saying that saying that I own that damn it it's that that say ok, you own that footage it's yours? Even if a client hired you to do that work, you own that footage. So that's what this is saying this is letten letting the client know that you own the footage under the u s copyright act and that's actually, true, you're the creator. So the studio owns the copyright in an all intellectual property rights to all of the footage and reserves the right to exploit the intellectual property rights for display, publication, advertising or other purposes. Any other purpose? Okay, this klaus is incredibly important. This is reserving your right to exploit that I pay that you've just created for that client in any way you want ish? Okay, so selling it to a stock footage company creating using in another film in your own documentary if you're, for example, a filmmaker that gets flown all over the world to create films for a variety of different clients, or even just one client. If you reserve that right, you could take that film that you've, you know, recorded that footage that you've recorded in all these different places and turn it into something else create another video, another film from it so it preserves your rights you can provide it to a stock footage company for licensing you can create your own stock footage company where you have a certain amount of footage that's available for businesses to purchase from you or license from you so this has a lot of potential to generate revenue and so that's why it's incredibly important that you have either it's called a grant of rights clause or intellectual property rights clause that preserves your right in that footage so it lets the client know that I'm actually selling you a license I'm not telling you the creator rights so um let's look at the next part upon receipt of final payment all right? This is important because this is letting them know that you don't get any of these rights and about to give you until I receive all the money that you owe me you know? So you're making sure you get paid before any transfer of intellectual property happens very important so upon receipt of final payment client is granted a non exclusive unlimited license to display the footage for personal noncommercial purposes ok? So let's look at that decline is granted a non exclusive meaning that they're not the only ones that can use that footage you can use that footage in other ways you can license it to other companies that's what that's doing so you want to make sure you're not giving them a a new exclusive license because if you do that, then even though you own the footage itself, you actually can't use it because you've given them an exclusive license to use it. Okay, so you wanted to be non exclusive, unlimited license, so you're not limiting their license in terms of displaying the footage for personal use or not for personal, noncommercial purposes. Ok, so that's, if you have a personal client like you've done a video for a family event or a wedding or something like that now, if if it's, you know, for a business so let's say you've created a really for a business that's sort of promotional for them, they're going to use that sort of as an advertisement or to drum up business. Okay, so then you might say you take out this footage for personal, noncommercial purposes, and you'd say, you know that the client is granted a nonexclusive unlimited license to display the footage for commercial purposes limited to business development purposes for promotion of its business. Okay, so this is another way to limit that and there's a lot of different ways, you could write this, I mean, it's just english, ok, so don't think that because you're because this is a contract and it's a legal document you can't write in what makes sense to you the point is that it has to be clear it has to be very clear what you're transferring and what you're not transferring so here, up here we're letting them know this is my copyright I own it, baby okay, so you can't have it but what you can have is a limited license to use it in certain ways or, you know, unlimited to use it in personal, non commercial purpose or in a limited commercial setting meeting limited to business development purposes for promotion of your business. Okay, and then also, you know, you may want to have add something else that says, you know, nothing in this section shall be deemed to give client the right to sell the footage or create derivative works from the footage without the express written permission of the studio. Ok, so that just goes a step further to let clients know that hey, you don't own this, okay, this is mine. You can use it in these limited ways and that's what this clause is doing incredibly important. Okay, so that's the grant of rights clause when you are reserving the copyright. So that means that you remain the copyright owner now there's another way, do it. And this is if you plan to transfer all of the copyright ownership to the client so let's, look at this clause provided client has complied with the terms of this agreement again right? What are we doing here? We're making sure that the client has to, you know, make payment and provide you know, do everything that they're supposed to do under the agreement before any of this transferring of copyright actually takes place and has effect ok, so provided client has complied with the terms of this agreement and upon final payment to studio for services studio shall automatically thereby grant transfer a sign and convey to client and its successors and assigns that just means that you know, the client has the ownership and if something should have been to the client then you know it's heirs would have the ownership or you know, if the business was sold to a different business owner that visitors owner would then, you know, received those rights. So what are you transferring all right? Title interest ownership and all subsidiary rights, including all rights accruing to studio under the united states copyright act in into all works of authorship and all copyright patents, trade secrets and any other intellectual property rights, business concepts, plans and ideas report manuals, visual aids inventions, processes, et cetera right? So you're basically giving them everything the concept behind the video you know, possibly the script if the script is part of the work and you've created it the film itself and all of the footage itself probably all of the raw footage not just the resulting finished film so you are transferring everything that you've created with for them which is identified as the work to them right? So that's a lot that means that you know when I said that you could you know, sell or license that footage to a stock photography or stock sorry video ah graffiti company or you know you you use it in another film or in some other context or sell it to another business for example now you're giving the client the right to do all of that so if you're going to do that, you want to be receiving more money for it, right? Eso that's one thing that you want to make sure you do if you're going to give away the copyright, which means that now this person is the owner there like sort of the mama of thiss work right? So it's kind of like you're the surrogate and you've created this work on dso you passed it over to somebody else who's adopting it, you know, that's, I don't know if that's a clunky metaphor, but you get what I'm saying you're giving them all the rights to this work and so if you're going to do that, make sure you're charging a lot more because you're creating a profit center for them your footage is a profit center for you, it's. A way for you to generate revenue in a lot of different ways. So if you're going to give that away, make sure you're charging more for your services and for the copyright rights in itself.

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.