Is it fair use to perform one scene?

A reader asks if a planned DVD crosses into dangerous copyright territory.

Quoting books in a script

Screenplays don’t cite references because they don’t quote things.

Referring to famous people

Yes, you can have characters talk about people like Michael Bay without getting permission.

Authors’ Guild vs. Kindle

Cory Doctorow makes many of the points I would about the Authors’ Guild’s grumpiness over the Kindle’s text-to-speech function.

When writing teams break up

Don’t just think about who “owns” what. There are more practical considerations.

Shouldn’t I get credit for the outline?

Explorations of ownership in a corporate environment.

Question sprint

Killing backstories, writing out lyrics and why you will always want to be writing something else (amongst other topics), explored.

Selling novel rights

Steps a publisher can take to offer up properties to moviemakers.

Permitted filmmaking

If it’s you and a buddy with a tiny camera, should you really have to register with a governmental agency? I say no.

Her least favorite mistake

An episode of Grey’s Anatomy might have the same title as your spec. That’s not even close to being plagiarism.

Finding out if a book has been optioned

Easy steps to tracking down rights.

Help! I’m getting screwed on my own series

If this sounds like you, stop reading and start dialing. You need a better attorney, stat.

Using overheard dialogue

Let’s say you’re at work and you overhear some great dialogue. Should you worry about co-workers suing when they hear it in your movie?

Using your friend’s name in a script

Do you need signed legal permission to use a friend’s name in a script?

Because really, he should drive a Chrysler LeBaron

Clearing (and not worrying about) brands, artwork and monikers for your movie.

Copyright: The Comic Book

Link to a great legal resource for filmmakers concerned with portraying reality.

Writing about real events

How to deal when your situations and characters are based on real incidents and people.

Using the story of a friend’s life

Legal and moral issues arise when taking someone else’s story, even just pieces of it.

Getting permission

Link to a great book to ease your fears of getting permissions to copyrighted material.

Optioning a screenplay

Options; defined and explained.

Using a song in a short without permission

Using unlicensed material can be okay at the festival level. The trouble comes when you make money off of it.

Average price for a short story option

What is the average option price short stories are optioned for? Just to get an estimate of what I should be offering/accepting. Where else can I do research about these confidential matters?

Setting up a project without having the underlying book rights

If there’s a book you can’t afford to option yourself, it’s worth trying to get someone to option it for you.

Using the music of an unknown band

Having the rights shouldn’t necessarily be your first concern.

Slandering historical figures

Dead people are fair game, for the most part.