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The Curious Copyright Case of “It’s A Wonderful Life”

It’s A Wonderful Life has become a holiday tradition bolstered by near constant plays on television as the film fell into the public domain in 1975. But in the 90s, a studio would regain control over the film and put copyright to the test. This lesson is proudly sponsored by RØDE Microphones:Read More

How Mister Rogers Saved the VCR

In 1984, a landmark case laid down a controversial law regarding technology and copyright infringement. Here’s a look back at the “Betamax Case,” including the role Mister Rogers played in the Supreme Court’s decision. For many years in the pre-DVD, pre-streaming era, the Betamax, Sony’s prototype videotape player-recorder, was a punch line. A piece of Read MoreRead More

Legally Speaking, It Depends: Copyright in Court

New York Transactional entertainment attorney Christopher Schiller discusses what may happen if you should be involved in a copyright case that sees the inside of a courtroom. Specifics being key to every case, this effort will only lay out the big-picture elements of what it might be like to take a copyright claim to the Read MoreRead More

Legally Speaking, It Depends – Who Owns Script Notes?

You get notes on your script – perhaps it makes it better – but who owns the copyright on those notes? Entertainment Lawyer Christopher Schiller tries to figure it out. As you’ve likely learned fscript notesrom reading my previous articles, starting to fathom out who “owns” the notes themselves should be straight forward. The note giver, Read MoreRead More

VCR’s Past Is Guiding Television’s Future

The legal battle over recording television through the internet is mirror the legal battles originally waged over the VCR. The last few weeks have been a rugged legal stretch for incumbent television companies. First, an appeals court declined to rehear a case in which broadcasters sought to close down Aereo, a company that allows users Read MoreRead More

What’s the Legality of Writing A Script Based on a News Story?

We’ve all seen a sensationalist news story and thought – that would make a great movie. What are the legalities? Entertainment lawyer Christopher Schiller discusses some of the basic legalities of “based on a true story” but as always with legal advice found online – to be sure, CONSULT AN ATTORNEY. First let’s start with Read MoreRead More

How Easy Is It To Steal a Story?

Scott Myers tackles the question of story theft in Hollywood from non established writers. Any discussion on this subject has to begin with this point: Story ideas are the lifeblood of Hollywood. Every movie, every TV series has at its very foundation a story concept. It stands to reason that if everything flows from the story idea, Read MoreRead More

When Are Ideas Free to Steal?

At what point legally does an idea go from something that any creative can use to being a piece of protectable intellectual property? Granted, there are some ideas that aren’t created by anyone. They already exist– have to exist to be true to the genre. (This is called “scènes-à-faire” and we’ll go into this in Read MoreRead More

Andy Baio on the Copyright Infringement Culture

The January 2013 Portland/Creative Mornings features Andy Baio, writer and coder who loves making things most famous for Kind of Bloop, an 8bit remix Miles Davis’ best known album. The global theme for this month was “Reuse,” and Andy spoke about remix culture: “Cut, copy, paste. The ability to reuse and remix is so deeply Read MoreRead More

The Copyright Zone Guys

Everything you want to know about Copyright and other legal issues, but were too scared to ask. There is a boatload of bad information, myths, factoids, and half-truths about Copyright and other photo related legal issues, like model releases, floating around. Photographer Jack Reznicki and lawyer Ed Greenberg will both demystify and illuminate in their Read MoreRead More

Idea Theft – Threat or Myth?

Julie Grey answers a common question about plagiarism that make writers paranoid about their ideas. If you are particularly worried that your concept is so original that it needs to be protected post haste, you can go ahead and register your script with the WGA when you have a complete first draft. If you want Read MoreRead More

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