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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old December 19th, 2010, 09:27 AM   #1
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Permission to use and the little guy

I have reread the "Stickies" about using copyright material without permission, and as usual, they brought a chill to my heart. So lets go to the next step. I am producing a documentary that depends heavily on what appears on specific pages of certain books, some in-print, some out-of-print. I am perfectly happy to pay a user fee to the publishers to include these pages. These aren't best-sellers...it can't cost that much!
The problem is that these folks won't even respond to requests from a little guy like me. How do you get through the red tape? If these companies have attorneys on their payrolls to scroll the Internet looking for violators, they must have someone empowered to sent out a form to people trying to avoid violataions.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 05:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
I have reread the "Stickies" about using copyright material without permission, and as usual, they brought a chill to my heart. So lets go to the next step. I am producing a documentary that depends heavily on what appears on specific pages of certain books, some in-print, some out-of-print. I am perfectly happy to pay a user fee to the publishers to include these pages. These aren't best-sellers...it can't cost that much!
The problem is that these folks won't even respond to requests from a little guy like me. How do you get through the red tape? If these companies have attorneys on their payrolls to scroll the Internet looking for violators, they must have someone empowered to sent out a form to people trying to avoid violataions.
Just to clarify ... is your doco using actual images of, or readings from, those pages or are you using the information you found there as a basis for your documentary's topic, script, and coverage? Using the information doesn't require permission - ideas and facts aren't copyright, only the tangible expression of those ideas. Paraphrasing doesn't require permission, making an exact copy does. Having someone say "According to biographer Wally Dohinkle, writing in his book "Lives of the Giants," President James Madison was over ten feet tall" doesn't require permission.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 10:53 AM   #3
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How about quoting one or two sentences from a book? A lot of times you'll see something like

"quoted section"
- Author

I imagine that would require obtaining copyrights even though I'm not actually showing any printed material. Am I correct in that assumption?

-Garrett
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Old December 20th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #4
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Still not clear on your intent. First of all you won't obtain the copyright - you'll obtain PERMISSION to use the material - the copyright will still reside with the owner.

You are making a documentary - are we going to SEE a talking head say - "Famous quotation by famous person..." or are you going to show a screen shot , some sort of title card that says "Famous quotation" - famous Author's name and then cut to video?

And finally - NO ONE HERE is going to offer you legal advice. If it's enough of a concern, you should talk to an IP attorney.

If you're using the 'heart' of the material - most likely it will be needed. If you think you're going to SELL this doc - it will definitely be needed - or you'll have to sign a document saying you have obtained all rights and permissions - if there's a lawsuit, you'll pay for it.

How professional do you want to be?
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Old December 20th, 2010, 11:43 AM   #5
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Richard,

Sorry I used some incorrect wording. You are correct that I would not be seeking to obtain copyrights, I would need to obtain rights to use the material.

I was thinking of having text overlaid on the screen in quotes. Actually I was more interested in something containing statistics quoted from a source, much like is done for research or technical papers.

As far as your "And Finally" statement. I am not asking for legal advice. This is a forum to share ideas and experiences. In many cases people have had similar experiences and can share some very useful information. Of course in the final evaluation I would consult legal counsel if I had any questions.

"How professional" I want to be has nothing to do with it. My question was to gain some information to clarify if obtaining rights would be needed for a particular situation. I believe I am correct that it does not matter if you plan on selling your documentary if you are just going to make it and watch it with your friends and family, the copyright laws still apply.

Cheers,
Garrett
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Old December 20th, 2010, 12:28 PM   #6
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To obtain the best information from the forum - it's always best to give solid examples of what you're dealing with up front, rather than having it sort of trickle out over the course of a thread.

Statistics are not copyrighted. The accumulation of and presentation of said statistics can be.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
To obtain the best information from the forum - it's always best to give solid examples of what you're dealing with up front, rather than having it sort of trickle out over the course of a thread.
I thought I was pretty clear about how I was thinking about presenting the info but obviously I wasn't.

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Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
Statistics are not copyrighted. The accumulation of and presentation of said statistics can be.
This is where things get screwing. From doing hundreds of research papers and projects, the quoting of statistical or factual information, even directly quoting and copying of presentation methods, without gaining rights, has never been an issue. But then again, these are for very boring, technical reports that are generally being prepared for public agencies or public agency reviews. The documents are open to public review however. There is no copyright infringement in those cases, at least non that has ever been brought to my attention and I'm sure if there were we would have been informed by now and required to take appropriate measures.

I should point out that these projects have absolutely no artistic merit whatsoever and I'm waiting for the day that we do get sued by someone saying we are unfairly making their copyrighted material unfairly boring.

-Garrett
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Old December 20th, 2010, 02:28 PM   #8
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Again - without knowing the EXACT set of statistics, their source application, the way you intend to present them - it's not possible to say anything specific beyond - "It all depends."

For instance, statistical information compiled by the govt is mostly in the public domain. So use away.

Derivative presentations of public domain compilations of statistics - may not be. Think about classical music that is in the public domain. It's 'free to use' right? Well yes... as long as you CREATE the recording - you are free to use it. But using a recording of the London Philharmonic playing a Beethoven piece - is NOT 'in the public domain'.

Saying "Recent research indicates that fifty percent of people look at their handkerchiefs after blowing their nose" is fine. Using the pie chart from Kleenex website showing this information - is not.
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