Copyright, Trademark, and Intellectual Property for Filmmakers


Lesson Info

Works for Hire

This is something that may not necessarily be in your contract, but you'll see it in a lot of people's contracts that you were working, so maybe your client or especially if you're working with a big business, you'll see a work for hire clause in there now work for hire. What that's doing is creating a legal status of your work that determines who owns your footage. So what happens is a lot of times works for hire are included in contracts, even though they're totally not enforceable, there are a lot of lawyers were sort of shady. Maybe if you heard about this, not all lawyers are like me, so some lawyers will include things and make people like you like a filmmaker or someone who's, a creative who they feel doesn't have a lot of knowledge of the law, so they will try to pull one over on you and include a work for hire claws and what the work for hire closet does this transfer all the copyright ownership to the client? Um, and so what happens, though, is that it's on ly applicable in c...

ertain circumstances, but you maybe won't know that, and they're sort of banking on you not knowing that, and so they'll included in their contract. So I really want you to understand what work for hire is and what it does so that when you see it you know, you know whether it's applicable or not and it helps you to preserve your rights in the work that you're creating so a work for hire clauses on lee actually valid in two circumstances one is if you're an employee so if you work for you know a larger company and are creating films or videos for that company, then they most likely own all the film that you're creating unless you negotiate that contract in some way and reserve a right for example to maybe create a real from some of the films that you created for them so that if you decide to leave the company some that you have that sort of business development piece that you can use to show samples of your work to potential clients so that's something you might want to negotiate in unemployment context but employees are are always in a work for hire situation so your employer owns the content that you're creating another case where work for hire is actually valid is when you have a written valid works for higher clause so a valid works for higher relationship on ly exists when there's a signed written agreement so if you have a relationship with a client and they tell you it's a work for hire and there's no sign written agreement you know immediately that it's not a work for hire s so you have to have a signed written agreement and that it also has to fall under one of the nine categories don't ask me how the copyright office came up with these nine categories it's sort of rando, but just know that there are nine categories that applied to work for hire, so ah contribution to a collective work part of a motion picture, which is, you know, usually going to be you as a filmmaker, a translation, a supplementary work like an index or appendix or something added to something else, a compilation, a textbook, a test answer material for tests and an atlas randomly enough. So the main thing you need to know here is that for filmmakers, do work usually falls under part of a motion picture, so usually your work can be considered a work for hire if there's a valid works for higher clause because it does fall under one of the nine categories. So just make sure you understand that if you see a work for hire clause, you are transferring all the copyright rights to that footage to the client, so don't agree to it if it doesn't work for you and also always be charging more.

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.