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Old March 12th, 2009, 12:08 PM   #1
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Clearing Rights for Movie Trailers

I am trying to figure out the process of clearing the copy rights for movie trailers for the use of them in a movie review show. We are going through the process of getting it on the air locally, but want to make sure we are covered by then. I've searched online, but haven't found anything real useful. Any insight is welcome.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 03:17 PM   #2
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It's a familiar refrain but talk to a lwayer, not an internet forum. FWIW (IANAL) for a legit review show you shouldn't have any problems using portions of the trailer under the "fair use" doctrine. But that's a defnese if you're sued and won't prevent someone from trying. Talking to your lawyer now will be far cheaper than paying him to defend you later, even if you win.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 04:40 PM   #3
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Call the people who own the rights. Trailers are produced as a sales tool. They are usually eager to get them used in forums that allow them to sell their film. Talk to an entertainment attorney and find out what your rights are. it may cost you $125 for a consult but it will be worth it. And it may not cost you anything.

You'll probably have to produce a few episodes before business entities deal with you casually. At the point where they can see you are serious, it will probably be a matter of faxing over a one page contract that they sign and fax back.

For that fact, I'd call one of the studios on the meantime, and get a hold of their legal department. it may take some phoning around to get there. Just talk to them - see what they have to say. They'll tell you what they are looking for.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 05:08 PM   #4
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Don't call the owners of the footage 'till you've spoken to an attorney. If your show is bona-fide journalism, there may be first amendment and fair-use basis for using clips to provide criticism and commentary on the films.

I advise clients on subjects such as this all the time.

Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark
Theatre and Entertainment Law
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Los Angeles, CA 90024

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Web: Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark - Entertainment Lawyers
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Old March 12th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #5
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A huge thank you to all three, the common point was talk to a lawyer. I thought about calling around studios, but thought I should post on here first, good thing I did. Do you guys suggest a lawyer in my area (Philadelphia) or can everything be done on the phone? Gordon, how would I go about soliciting your services. I've got over 30 reviews done online and can show samples of how I use the trailers.
When faxing a contract is this going to be a content contract I create, or would I use a standard they have?
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Old March 13th, 2009, 02:35 PM   #6
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Join NNS or something

Depending on where you are broadcasting your show and what your budget it, you might want to consider joining NNS (Network News Service) or some other news video content distribution service. TV Stations use these news video services to get video content from around the world. This is how your local news station gets video from other parts of the country.

Movie studios will release movie trailers and movie clips through these video services specifically so they can be used for the purpose of news and reviews. There is usually a script associated with the video, as well as restrictions for how the video can be used. Common restrictions might include that you must provide an on air courtesy, such as "Movie clips courtesy Universal Pictures" or provide a set of dates in which you are cleared to use the video.

If you are a member of an organization like NNS they take care of clearing all the copyrights for their members- so as long as you are a current member of NNS you have the right to use video on their network as long as you abide by the restrictions.

All the major networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox have their own news video content sharing service. CNN also runs their own, then you also have NNS, Reuters, and the AP which run similar services. There might even be more, I don't know. If you can join one of these though it seems to be that would be the best way to get what you want.
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