Work for Hire – Entertainment Law Asked & Answered

Gordon P. Firemark

Can a pre-existing song recording be deemed a Work Made For Hire just because a clause in a record contract says so? ” If the masters were actually produced prior to the agreement being signed, is it still possible to call them works for hire?

Why most “work made for hire” agreements in theatre don’t work.

Gordon P. Firemark

Writers and Producers familiar with the way things are done in Hollywood have surely seen the ubiquitous term “Work Made For Hire” in their contracts. What is a Work Made For Hire? The trouble is, theatrical works aren't listed.

Trending Sources

A Work for Hire Agreement: A Critical Tool for Production Companies

Film and Television Law Blog

Commentary : Many companies operate under the misconception that if they have hired and paid freelancers for their work, the company has that paid them has all of the rights to it. You would think this would provide you with all rights in that work.

Vivendi Demands Spinal Tap Members Be Ousted From Lawsuit "Absurdly" Claiming $400M in Damages

THR, Esq. Entertainment & Media Law Blog

The conglomerate offers a "reality check" to Harry Shearer's claim over contingent profits and also states he has no termination rights because his co-written material was a work-for-hire.

Dougherty on the Misapplication of "Mastermind": A Mutant Species of Work for Hire and the Mystery of Disappearing Copyrights

Media Law Prof Blog

Jay Dougherty, Loyola Law School (Los Angeles), is publishing The Misapplication of 'Mastermind': A Mutant Species of Work for Hire and the Mystery of Disappearing Copyrights in volume 39 of the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts (2016

CINEMA LAW: WHO OWNS THE FOOTAGE I SHOT?

KWIKA Entertainment Law Blog

A little while back, they asked me for a year’s worth of B roll footage I shot for them. Tags: Copyright Employee Within the Scope of Employment Work for Hire [This blog entry originally appeared at MovieMaker.com.] Q: I have an issue with a large client that has never asked me to sign any agreement or contract. I eventually gave it to the client because I thought [.].

Law 0

Spider-Man faces an enemy more persistant than the Green Goblin — litigation!

JetLawBlog

District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that profits earned by Lee for his creations rightfully belong to the Company and requests $750 million in damages.

CINEMA LAW: HOW DO I TELL ONE MAN’S STORY?

KWIKA Entertainment Law Blog

Tags: Copyright Life Story Rights Release to Portray Right to Adapt an Article into a Screenplay Right to Option a Literary or Intellectual Property Work for Hire

Law 0

CINEMA LAW: WHO OWNS WHAT? RAW FOOTAGE VS. COMPLETED PROJECT

KWIKA Entertainment Law Blog

Tags: Assignment Copyright Film Implied License Work for Hire

Law 0

In Assessing Employee Status in Copyright Ownership Disputes, Technology Start-Ups Are a Special Case, Says the Ninth Circuit

New Media and Technology Law

5, 2010), the Ninth Circuit was faced with a dispute over ownership of the source code for a program that operated a digital audio device. JustMed claimed that Byce was an employee and that the code was a work for hire, with copyright ownership vested in the company. JustMed arose out of an idea that Byce and his then-brother-in-law Joel Just had for an improved digital audio device (a digital audio larynx). Tags: Copyright work for hire

Y.M.C.A. — Spells Copyright Termination

Current Trends

Pursuant to section 203 of the 1976 Copyright Act authors (or certain heirs) may terminate copyright assignments and reclaim copyrights 35 years after the work is first published. The music publishers that own the songs made famous by The Village People have asked a judge to find the songs were created by Willis as “works for hire.”

Y.M.C.A. — Spells Copyright Termination

Current Trends

Pursuant to section 203 of the 1976 Copyright Act authors (or certain heirs) may terminate copyright assignments and reclaim copyrights 35 years after the work is first published. But, songs are not specifically enumerated as a category of “works for hire,&# so the music publishers would be required to prove that Willis was their employee in order for this argument to fly.

Producer beware: “Work Made For Hire” agreement creates a “statutory employee” relationship.

Gordon P. Firemark

For the past few years, however, California State law has presented a sticky little problem with this approach. Under California law, a party transferring rights to any work made under a work for hire agreement is an employee for purposes of workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

Entertainment Law Update Podcast #46 – Top Ten Stories of 2013 – Forecast 2014

Gordon P. Firemark

In this episode of Entertainment Law Update, Entertainment lawyers Gordon Firemark Tamera Bennett and Peter Kaufman review the ten most significant cases and controversies in the entertainment industry for 2013, and forecast what we’ll be seeing in 2014. Decision for YouTube - Apr.

More Questions for Artists: Record Producer Agreements, Part 9: Grant of Rights–Joint Authorship Issues

Music Technology Policy

See also Twenty Questions for New Artists: Record Producer Agreements, Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5. Watch this space for futher installments, or subscribe to the RSS feed. There are good reasons for U.S. based artists to engage the producer to render services as an independent contractor creating a “work made for hire” under the U.S. This is an important distinction for a couple of reasons: first, the U.S.

Copyright Grant Termination Can Undue Songwriter Estate Plan Part 1

Current Trends

Copyright Act to file notice of termination of the copyright assignments for Charles’ songs and reclaim those revenue streams. Charles left the bulk of his estate, including his copyright assets, to The Ray Charles Foundation for the benefit of hearing and seeing impaired persons. There are two schemes for termination of copyright grants under the U.S. Copyright law and they arise from works created and published pre or post January 1, 1978.

#irespectmusic and Fasten Your Seatbelts: Where Do We Go From Here on Pre-72?

Music Technology Policy

This has been a good week for artist rights–the Turtles struck a major blow in the struggle against the new boss in their case against Sirius to protect the rights of artists who recorded prior to 1972. Yes–they have that much disdain for artist rights.

Contracting to Address Joint Copyright Issues

Film and Television Law Blog

Intellectual Property Law: Joint Copyright Ownership: As I previously discussed on this Blog, in A Work for Hire Agreement: A Critical Tool for Production Companies , work for hire agreements are a necessary aspect of the relationship between film production companies and their freelancers.

9th Circuit ruling could limit publication of private celebrity photos, videos, sex tapes.

Gordon P. Firemark

Treacherous waters ahead for news media. Things just got more treacherous for publishers and news organizations to run private photographs and videos of celebrities. This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in Monge v. Ammunition for celebrities.

Guest Post: “Taylor Swift, Spotify and the Musical Food Chain Myth” by @DoriaRoberts #irespectmusic

Music Technology Policy

I’m sure we’ll hear Doria’s strong voice many times in the future and will be the better for her.] . Maybe people will start listening to what independent artists like me and my peers have been saying for years now. A little background for those who don’t know me: I’ve been a indie musician by choice for 22 years. And, for the first time in all my touring history my American dollars lost value going into Canada. I am a working class artist.

Contracting to Address Joint Copyright Issues

Film and Television Law Blog

Intellectual Property Law: Joint Copyright Ownership: As I previously discussed on this Blog, in A Work for Hire Agreement: A Critical Tool for Production Companies , work for hire agreements are a necessary aspect of the relationship between film production companies and their freelancers. The law generally provides that all contributors to a work may be able to claim rights as a joint copyright holder.

Contracting to Address Joint Copyright Issues

Film and Television Law Blog

Intellectual Property Law: Joint Copyright Ownership: As I previously discussed on this Blog, in A Work for Hire Agreement: A Critical Tool for Production Companies , work for hire agreements are a necessary aspect of the relationship between film production companies and their freelancers. The law generally provides that all contributors to a work may be able to claim rights as a joint copyright holder.

How the Copyright Office Wants to “Offset” the Copyright Term

Music Technology Policy

Thus the Office’s 2006 orphan works proposal suggested limiting remedies when copyright owners are unlocatable — effectively freeing many works from the long tail of time.103 Similarly, the Office appreciates section 108(h), which allows libraries and archives to copy, distribute, display, or perform any published work in its last twenty years of protection, for purposes of preservation, scholarship, or research.

Music - now and then

Trademark, Copyright, and Entertainment Law Forum

I hope it was a good week for everyone else. Even if that means just letting your brain rest after a long week of work. (I Speaking of music, there is a ticking time bomb in copyright law - that is the ability for musicians and composers to recapture their copyrights in music they make. Music has always been treated as an exception to the Work-for-Hire provisions of copyright law. The forum is not a space for legal advice. This was a good week.

Manzarek v. St. Paul fire & Marine Ins. Co.

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

Manzarek was sued by John Densmore and Jim Morrison's parents for infringing on "The Doors" name, logo, and trademark. Paul's argued that the policy had a "field of entertainment" exclusion, barring "personal injury or advertising injury that results from the content of, or the advertising or publicizing for, any properties or programs which are within your field of entertainment business." For more information, please see: Manzarek et al.

Manzarek v. St. Paul fire & Marine Ins. Co.

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

Manzarek was sued by John Densmore and Jim Morrison's parents for infringing on "The Doors" name, logo, and trademark. Paul's argued that the policy had a "field of entertainment" exclusion, barring "personal injury or advertising injury that results from the content of, or the advertising or publicizing for, any properties or programs which are within your field of entertainment business." For more information, please see: Manzarek et al.

Shepard Fairey Obama poster: lots of questions, few easy answers

Copyrights & Campaigns

I have avoided blogging about the Shepard Fairey poster controversy for several reasons, chief among them that the facts about who owns what copyrights have been so unclear. Finally, let's assume that Fairey did copy ( i.e. , make a derivative work of protectable elements).

Excellent Review of "most prolific scholar of copyright in history"

Music Technology Policy

Call for Mr. Geithner.Call for Mr. Geithner.) The reviewer says "I began [the book] hoping for a slanted-yet-thoughtful analysis of how to reconcile the potential of both copyrights and the Internet. Now, me, I'm not as smart as all these guys, so I just assumed the book would be snake oil to grease Google's slide to global terminator status combined with dog whistles for Willard to use while summoning his four legged friends.

Protect yourself. It's cold outside.

Trademark, Copyright, and Entertainment Law Forum

I drove to Philadelphia for the weekend.) Remember, when a work falls under copyright law, the creator of the work has a copyright in the work. No lawsuit can be filed without registering the copyright in the work, however. As for the filing copyrights, there are two mistakes that many people and businesses make when filing the copyrights themselves: Filing separate works as collections. Lil' Wayne is sued for copyright infringement.

SOUTH CENTRAL FARM DOCUMENTARY SEEKS COMPLETION FUNDS

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

The film examines the environmental, health and social advantages of urban farms, their ability to create safe, sustainable environments for families, and produce nutritious and plentiful food sources to inner city communities in greatest need, as well as to many visitors. Additional completion funding is needed to meet the distribution deadline of July 1 for the Natural Heroes PBS series which wants to air the film in its upcoming third season if the film is completed by July 1.

SOUTH CENTRAL FARM DOCUMENTARY SEEKS COMPLETION FUNDS

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

The film examines the environmental, health and social advantages of urban farms, their ability to create safe, sustainable environments for families, and produce nutritious and plentiful food sources to inner city communities in greatest need, as well as to many visitors. Additional completion funding is needed to meet the distribution deadline of July 1 for the Natural Heroes PBS series which wants to air the film in its upcoming third season if the film is completed by July 1.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Public Domain

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

One might think that Sherlock Holmes is now in the public domain and any writer could freely borrow his character for inclusion in their own story. Works published before 1923 are most likely in the public domain, at least under U.S. For those stories published after January 1, 1923, they could remain protected until 2023. There is no such thing as an "international copyright" that will protect an author's work everywhere. citizen directing a movie for a U.S.

MGM 0

Frequently Asked Questions: Securing Rights

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

Question: I am currently working on an animation project that we have just pitched to a large animation production company. So far we have walked twice just for that reason. They have told us that should they decide to develop our idea, they had the capability to finance it in-house (something they say they previously have not been able to do) and I'm almost anticipating them downplaying our idea for the reason of getting more out of the deal.

WRITERS’ CLAIM AGAINST AARON SORKIN DISMISSED

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

Morris and Richert thought the two projects were substantially similar and asked a WGA arbitration panel to determine if they should receive shared writing credit for “The American President.” The writers also claimed breach of contract against Castle Rock for failure to pay additional compensation for “The American President”; copyright infringement by Castle Rock, Sorkin, and Warner Bros., Washington Lawyers for the ArtsAt 11:45 a.m.

WGA 0

WRITERS’ CLAIM AGAINST AARON SORKIN DISMISSED

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

Morris and Richert thought the two projects were substantially similar and asked a WGA arbitration panel to determine if they should receive shared writing credit for “The American President.” The writers also claimed breach of contract against Castle Rock for failure to pay additional compensation for “The American President”; copyright infringement by Castle Rock, Sorkin, and Warner Bros., Washington Lawyers for the ArtsAt 11:45 a.m.

WGA 0

Hawaii Offers Generous Tax Credits to Film Production Companies

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

The credit is designed to give a 100% return for investments up to $2 million per year per QHTB. So for example, if a Hawaii investor put up $500,000 and an Arkansas investor put up $500,000, the parties could agree to allocate all the tax credits to the Hawaii investor (since the Arkansas investor doesn't pay taxes in Hawaii they are worthless to him anyway). For additional information about Hawaii’s tax incentives, goto [link].

Hawaii Offers Generous Tax Credits to Film Production Companies

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

The credit is designed to give a 100% return for investments up to $2 million per year per QHTB. So for example, if a Hawaii investor put up $500,000 and an Arkansas investor put up $500,000, the parties could agree to allocate all the tax credits to the Hawaii investor (since the Arkansas investor doesn't pay taxes in Hawaii they are worthless to him anyway). For additional information about Hawaii’s tax incentives, goto [link].

Frequently Asked Questions: Contracts

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

Question: About six years ago, I wrote and directed a short film and the contract I signed stipulated that any future work based on said material would have to be produced by the producer I originally signed with. Try to work it out. Question: Can you suggest an appropriate form for obtaining licenses, permissions, and approvals from talent and crew who have contributed to making a film or video production? It is non-union, work for hire, no residuals.

Frequently Asked Questions: Life Story Rights

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

How can I find out what constitutes a typical arrangement for the sale of movie rights to someone's "true life story"? The price for life story rights varies depending on the appeal of the story. For a TV network broadcast movie, it might be $50,000 to several hundred thousand dollars. For feature films, it could be two times or more that amount. Life story rights encompass a release for these causes of action. Question: Thanks for your continuing insight.

Frequently Asked Questions: Writing

Entertainment Law Resources Blog

Question: I am currently working with another writer. And what would my steps be in registering this work? If you want an option to purchase rights to the work, you should have a written option agreement. The work can be registered with the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress ([link] The parties determine credit, but if the script is subject to the Writers Guild agreement, the Guild will determine how writing credit is allocated in the event of a dispute.