Monthly Archives: February 2014

Can I name names in a true-crime screenplay?

Can I name names in a true-crime screenplay?

In this video, Entertainment Lawyer Gordon Firemark answers a question about whether it's OK to name names of real people in a true-crime drama.

http://youtu.be/dOpp_owefOc

And…a small correction

AUDIO:

Play

TRANSCRIPT:

Mary has some questions about her true-crime screenplay, and whether it's ok to name names. I'll give my answer… so stick around.

Hi, I'm Entertainment Lawyer Gordon Firemark, and this is Asked and Answered, where I answer common Entertainment Law Questions to help industry professionals like you, realize your dreams and achieve your goals.

Q: Mary writes:
I am in the process of writing a crime script about a famous Las Vegas casino magnate and his nemesis, a crime figure from the magnate's home town . The magnate still has a son working in his casino empire. The time period is late 1940's-early 1950's. My father was a lawyer for the nemesis, who had a “hit” contract out on him . All these men are long dead now. The material I am using is from newspapers and magazines-and some stuff from my mom, also gone, as my dad never “talked about” a client- but men always talk to their wives. Do you forsee any problem using their real names in this script? I want their stories told-they were really characters, bigger than life.

A: Well, true stories can be very compelling, but they can be a legal minefield.

First, when you're telling stories about real people, you have to be careful that you're being truthful. Making false statements about people that harm their reputation(s) is Defamation. Libel if it's recorded, published, etc., and Slander if it's merely spoken between individuals. It doesn't really matter whether the people you're talking about are living or dead. You still have to be truthful.

The best-practice when telling true-crime stories is to make sure that every factual statement is borne out by proof. Corroboration coming from multiple, independent sources should be used to footnote the facts contained in the script. News Media reports from the time period are usually reliable, but it's best if the facts were reported in several papers, etc. Interviews with the people involved or who investigated the cases are also great. Court records are among the best source material you can use. If a person was convicted of a crime, and you're telling the story of the commission of the crime, then as long as you're true to the trial transcript's telling of things, you should be OK. But, if all you've got to go on is stories from your now deceased parents, and you can't find other sources to corroborate, I'd stay clear.

And, just changing the names probably doesn't help. If people would recognize the person from the story, characteristics, etc., you could still face a lawsuit.

Bottom line. Make sure you can back up every incident or event that could be construed as damaging to someone's reputation with proof.


Hey, if you like these Q&A videos, please subscribe. It's easy. And by all means share, Plus, like or tweet these on your favorite social networks.

If you've got a question you'd like me to answer… head on over to https://firemark.com/questions.

==============
This is intended as general information only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It is not a substitute for a private, independent consultation with an attorney selected to advise you after a full investigation of the facts and law relevant to your matter. We will not be responsible for viewers'’ detrimental reliance upon the information appearing in this feature.

Changing Titles of Works Registered for Copyright

Changing Titles of Works Registered for Copyright

In this video, Entertainment Lawyer Gordon Firemark answers a question about changing titles of works once registered for copyright protection.

AUDIO:

Play

This is intended as general information only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It is not a substitute for a private, independent consultation with an attorney selected to advise you after a full investigation of the facts and law relevant to your matter. We will not be responsible for viewers'’ detrimental reliance upon the information appearing in this feature.

TRANSCRIPT:

A client recently wrote me with a question about changing the title of a work that's been registered for copyright. I'll tell you what I told him in a moment.

Hi, I'm entertainment lawyer Gordon Firemark, and this is Asked & Answered, where I answer common entertainment law questions to help industry professionals like you take their businesses to the next level.

Q:
Mike wrote in to ask whether he needs to re-register the copyright for a screenplay after changing its title.

A: The short answer is yes. IT's a good idea to register the changed title, but it's not RE-Registering. Instead you file form CA, which stands for Correction/Amplification.

Form CA allows a copyright holder to record changes or addiational information connected to an existing copyright registration. An application for supplemental registration can be filed by any copyright claimant, author or assignee, but form CA shouldn't be used to record a transfer of ownership.

When you file a Form CA, it is given its own registration number, and creates a sort of cross-referenced entry in the “chain of title” of the work. So, anyone searching copyright office records for the work in question will discover both documents, and have notice of the change.

Supplemental registration can be used for more than just changed title. If an author's name was left off the registration, or some other error was made, or if other vital information about the work was omitted or incorrect.

The filing fee for a Supplemental Registration (at the time I'm making this video) is $100, and that's more than the cost of just filing a whole new registration. But don't do that. It'll lead to confusion, since the two registrations won't be cross-referenced the way a supplemental registration would. And that could lead to problems if you ever go to sell or license your material.

Form CA is pretty self-explanatory and the instructions are easy to understand, but if you encounter any problems, you can have an attorney help you.

for more information about Supplemental Registrations, you can go to the link listed in the description below this video. Or just google Copyright office Circular #8. (http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ08.pdf)

I've also included a link to the form and instructions.
http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formcawi.pdf


If you like these Asked & Answered videos, please subscribe to my youtube channel, so you don't miss a single one. Go ahead… click that subscribe button!

But, if you're watching these on YouTube, you're only getting a small bit of the valuable entertainment law content I create. Head on over to my website at firemark.com for lots more.

You can ask YOUR entertainment law question at firemark.com/questions.

==============

Entertainment Law Update Podcast – Episode 47

podcast-logo

Play

Clio - Online Practice Management done right.Entertainment Law Update is brought to you by Clio, the best way to manage your practice online. Clio allows you to manage your matters, clients, time, bills, trust accounts and more all through a a secure, easy-to-use, web-based interface. For a free 30-day trial and 25% off your first 6 months of Clio, sign up at www.goclio.com and enter promotional code [ENTLAW]” Or, just visit http://entertainmentlawupdate.com/clio

Continue Reading

There is no custom code to display.

Find us on Google+