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.

Dead copyright holders, and being too young

How to track down rights after someone passes on.

Getting rights when the story is based on actual events

Navigating the differences between public domain and intellectual property.

Do you need permission to use a quotation?

Let lawyers handle the law. You have plenty to worry about as a mere screenwriter.

Finding a writer

Got an idea but no writing chops? Here’s some options for getting a writer on board.

Getting rights to a concept album

Copyright almost certainly rests with the songwriters, so start there.

Stealing sequels

If you feel like writing a remake be prepared to approach the original studio first. Know that, If they don’t want to make it, and no one else is willing to buy the rights from them, you’re screwed.

Copyright and changes

How much needs to change to make re-registering your script worthwhile?

Registering ideas

Only written, detailed ideas can be registered and protected.

Spoofs in your script

There’s a long tradition of movies parodying each other, and it would be hard to prove any actual damage or wrongdoing.

Rewriting an old movie

Every studio has somebody who handles exactly these kind of rights.

Bob Marley

Thoughts on writing a biopic.

Are jokes public domain?

At a certain point, some jokes circulate out in the popular culture enough that I would argue they’re essentially public domain.

Optioning your book

How much is my book worth? Should I option or sell?

Using copyrighted material in a short

The consequences for trampling someone else’s copyright are not that dire. Since you’re a student, and probably broke, it’s not like 20th Century Fox is going to sue you for your life’s savings.

Based on a true story

How is that label earned? What are the legal parameters?

A character sings a song

Hope you have to worry about these problems when the movie gets made. Until then, don’t.

Copyrighted materials in your script

Worry about writing the best scenes and not about lawsuits or song rights.

Worried about copyrights

This is America. If you want your characters to say that TOWN AND COUNTRY was a boring, unfunny disaster, they can.

Optioning a book

If you can, option. If not, don’t be afraid to show your script for fear of losing the rights to the source material.

More copyrights and changes

How important is it to register your screenplay?

Getting rights to a concept album

Copyright almost certainly rests with the songwriters, so start there.

“Fictional events” disclaimer

In GO, the threeway, the strippers and the burning hotel room all happened – at different times, to different people – but in stringing them together, I created a fictious work that is not really “based on actual events.”

Finding the rights

Sometimes an attorney should be your first stop on the search for rights.