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copyright 2008 or 2009?

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Oliver Dickinsoncopyright 2008 or 2009?
by on Mar 16, 2009 at 11:27:33 am


I completed a 52 minute documentary in September 2008. It has been selected and shown in a few film festivals since: "published"?

I recently signed with a TV distributor. The Master copy I am about to send him includes 5 new shots. I was wondering if this "re-edition" allows me to change the copyright at the end of the film to 2009 instead of 2008: a better selling point.


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Bruce BennettRe: copyright 2008 or 2009?
by on Mar 16, 2009 at 1:47:46 pm

Hi Oliver,

All works are automatically copyrighted upon completion (even if you do not publish a written copyright date with it). The including of a date on your work (i.e., ©2008) helps prove that you created your work at a certain point/date in time. This can be beneficial when suing others who have copied your work, or if you need to defend yourself from others who claim that they own the copyright for similarly created material. So when it comes to legally protecting your work, an earlier published copyright date is more beneficial.

A friend of mine who is a painter, says that many painters do not include dates on their work because it deters from selling them (seems like some people only want to buy her newest paintings). I can see this same concern crossing over into our world of media creation since we don’t want our peers/clients to see “outdated work”, but to me, legally protecting our work by putting an actual date on things is worth the price.

One way to help keep your ownership/copyright of an earlier created work/project with the addition of newly appended material is to publish a range of copyright dates along with the work (i.e., ©2006 - 2009 Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC). You see this all the time with software, Websites, revised cookbooks, etc.


Bruce Bennett
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC

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David Roth WeissRe: copyright 2008 or 2009?
by on Mar 16, 2009 at 11:48:30 pm

Not trying to be argumentative, Bruce has made several valid points, however there are a few reasons for adding the latter 2009 copyright date.

1. Festivals and distributors can, at times, get hung-up on the completion dates of projects and may reject projects that weren't produced during the last "calendar year." So, by adding the 2009 date, you can help to stretch-out your film's "apparent" eligibility a bit.

2. Plus, there is a psychological benefit. Average viewers are often impressed by the "apparent" freshness of a film on the screen in the the same way they are impressed by the freshness of milk and lettuce on the grocer's shelf.

David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles


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