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Re: Who owns raw footage?

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Timothy J. AllenRe: Who owns raw footage?
by on Dec 2, 2007 at 6:36:33 pm

The "tangible expression" of the concept can be copyrighted, but not the concept itself.

For example, I can't copyright the letters of the alphabet, but I can get a trademark for a font that I designed. (the tangible expression of those letters)

The issue introduced is "how broad does that protection cover the concept"? A large portion of intellectual proerty lawsuits are about that issue.

Obviously, it would be ludicrous to enforce a protection of any "circle representing a 'close-mid back rounded vowel', but you could enforce your typeface representation of the letter "O", if it doesn't infringe on other's intellectual property protection filed for the letter "O" as represented in their font or typeface.

With me so far?

I could copyright a script about "a man who escapes his captures and goes on a quest to prove his innocence", but unless I'm very specific about how the story plays out, I'm not going to be able to claim infringement by any of the hundreds of other treatments and scripts with similar concepts. The more details you include, the better protection you have, but the more you paint yourself into a corner with your concept. The key is having a clear vision and being able to express it well enough so that people can easily identify your concept as unique.


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