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Copyright Warning & Disclaimer

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Simon HustingsCopyright Warning & Disclaimer
by on Sep 27, 2008 at 6:46:07 pm

Hi Guys,

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a copyright warning (This presentation is intended for private viewing only etc.) and disclaimer (The events depicted in this movie are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead etc..) for an independent movie I'm cutting and at present, preparing for delivery. I'm looking for the kind of jargon you would find at the end of a credit roll.
It's intended use is for film festivals primarily and the market place, if it is received well. All the footage and sound design is owned by the production company. No other copyrighted material has been used.

Any suggestions or links would be greatly appreciated!



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grinner hesterRe: Copyright Warning & Disclaimer
by on Sep 28, 2008 at 4:32:46 pm

You can just tag it with your copyright info. Doesnt have to be anything templated.
I have never disclaimed anything (of mine).
If somebody sees a simularity, I hope they enjoy it. If they are dumb enough to try something in one of my videos, thats just a weeding of population that was bound to happen anyway.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Copyright Warning & Disclaimer
by on Sep 28, 2008 at 9:43:37 pm

This reminded me of the funniest disclaimer I ever saw in a movie, it was in the third Indiana Jones movie, the one about the Holy Grail, where Hitler unknowingly autographs Professor Jones' notebook.
They had to apparently disclaim that Hitler autographing a fictitious character's book was drama and not fact. Afraid of a lawsuit from his estate?!?!?

Something is wrong with the business.

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Larry S. Evans IIRe: Copyright Warning & Disclaimer
by on Sep 29, 2008 at 8:40:35 pm

A LEGAL copyright notice is of the following form in the U.S.:

©2008-My Production Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The copyright symbol on a Windows PC is accessed by holding down the alt key and typing 0169. You can also use the word "Copyright" instead of the symbol.

Note that changes in U.S. Copyright Law to bring it into compliance with European and other countries now require registration with the Copyright Office (at $45 per) in order to bring a claim for infringement seeking damages.

The "private viewing" portion is not actually required by law, but is frequently added based on the idea that somebody viewing it may not be fully aware of what copyright prohibits. While that's really not a valid defense for infringement, lawyers being what they are (and I'm married to mine) they add the "overkill". You can get by with the following:

"This motion-picture photoplay is protected by copyright and other applicable laws in the United States and other nations and may not be duplicated, distributed, re-broadcast, or used in any other manner without the expressed written consent of the copyright owner. This material is intended for personal use only and the public exhibition or broadcast of this material is prohibited by law."

As for the disclaimer, this is frequently added by studio attorneys to cover themselves if the rights and releases department missed something. While I would agree with the previous poster that it sometimes leads to bizarre and humorous implications, it's still not a bad idea, just in case someone somewhere gets the bug to sue you.

It's far more likely that this would be a small business type of thing where you accidentally or coincidentally used the name of a business or product in your indie project, without ever knowing about it. But consider that if your indie project shows someone getting killed by an Amalgamated Widget, the guys who actually make that might rightly be upset. The following verbage is generally adequate for this sort of thing:

"This motion-picture photoplay is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real persons (living or dead), places, events, or other material is coincidental and unintentional."

And just to keep everyone happy, you probably also want to add that line that "No animals were harmed in the making of this motion-picture." It's also not legally required, especially if you didn't have any animals in the picture, but you know some people get really outrageous about these things. If you're planning on making the rounds at Sundance and similarly activist festivals, it can't hurt. -R

Larry S. Evans II

Executive Producer

Digital I Productions

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Arnie SchlisselRe: Copyright Warning & Disclaimer
by on Sep 30, 2008 at 2:51:06 am

The FBI has a nice boilerplate notice that you can use:

"Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000."


Post production is not an afterthought!

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Simon HustingsRe: Copyright Warning & Disclaimer
by on Oct 4, 2008 at 3:25:28 pm

Excellent info. Thanks guys!

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