Entertainment

Have Entertainment Questions? Ask an Expert

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Entertainment

Hi! My writing partner and I have been hired by a production

Customer Question
company to write a short...
Hi! My writing partner and I have been hired by a production company to write a short film script. We wrote it under a contract that said we would be the owner of the copyright (we haven't copyrighted it yet). The short film got made, was a success, and we are now hired by the same producer under another contract that still claims US as the owners of the copyright for the feature-length script. Two months later, we are close to submitting our 1st draft...the producer sends another contract (Chain of Title) that has all kinds of changes made to it (1) the producer now wants to own the copyright, (2) the pay scale has changed, (3)we have waive our moral rights of authors, etc. He wants us to sign this immediately...but we are hesitant to. If we haven't even copyrighted the feature length script yet, is this Chain of Title necessary? Or is it that he messed up and is trying to fix things? Thx
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Entertainment
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Entertainment Question
Answered in 1 hour by:
10/7/2009
Entertainment Expert: Hugh, Composer, Producer and Performer replied 8 years ago
Hugh
Hugh, Composer, Producer and Performer
Category: Entertainment
Satisfied Customers: 59
Experience: 20 years experience in performing, studio sessions, producing, composing, entertainment management.
Verified
Without having the contract in front of me, It's difficult for me to say what rights you have. Firstly, the work should have been copyrighted before the film went into production. Do you know for a fact, that you own the copyright? Technically (and legally) you do, provided you didn't sign your rights away, however to prove that copyright, you have to file with the Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

Look at it this way. If you didn't copyright the work, then it is wide open for anyone else to. No - it's not moral or legal for that matter - but trying to prove that is another thing. I don't know without seeing the contract. Did you get an entertainment lawyer to look over the contract before it was signed? Did the production company give you the contract, or did you draft it?

In terms of the Chain of Title. That is typical and common in the motion picture industry - however usually more for the distributor. It can consist of a series of "permissions," (documents) that you have obtained, such as location agreements, music sync license agreements, E&O insurance etc Distributors need these to be held harmless in case of copyright infringement. However, what this production company has sent you, sounds like a complete scam and doesn't sound like a Chain of Title (again, really impossible for me to clarify without seeing it).

They can't take your copyright. They may be able to take your "idea" (ideas are not copyrightable), but they can't take your literary work, unless you sign it over to them. So, you may give them the rights to produce it into a movie, but you still keep the copyright. That is your right! Sounds like they are pulling a fast one on you. And...why would they tell you to sign it immediately? I have been in the entertainment business for over 20 years. I've dealt with publishers, record companies, producers etc. No one who is reputable tells you to sign something immediately. You always get an entertainment lawyer to check it out first. I don't know where you live, but there are many e lawyers in large metropolitan cities. I live near Atlanta, for instance, and there are many reputable ones there.

You need to go ahead and copyright your material with the copyright office ASAP! Hopefully, no one beat you to the punch on the first film.

What are they giving you as consideration? (what kind of financial arrangement have you made). That is a biggie right here. Are they offering to buy your work, as a work for hire? This is typically when a party buys your script and you get no credit or copyright but you get paid a lump sum for the script. If you are giving away your copyright, how else would you make money? It won't be from royalties. Signing over your rights would leave you penniless.

I would advise you to get this contract reviewed ASAP by an entertainment lawyer. And, DO NOT give way to their pressure. If they are pressuring you that much, it doesn't sound like they are reputable or even worthy to be working with. And...don't give away your rights!

Edited by Hugh on 10/7/2009 at 4:54 PM EST
Hugh
Hugh, Composer, Producer and Performer
Category: Entertainment
Satisfied Customers: 59
Experience: 20 years experience in performing, studio sessions, producing, composing, entertainment management.
Verified
Hugh and 87 other Entertainment Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Ask Hugh Your Own Question
Hugh
Hugh
Hugh, Composer, Producer and Performer
Category: Entertainment
Satisfied Customers: 59
59 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 20 years experience in performing, studio sessions, producing, composing, entertainment management.

Hugh is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here.

DianeDallas, TX

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Cher

Cher

MENTOR/ENTERTAINMENT

430 satisfied customers

TV, Movies, Music, Parties, Entertainment Industry Analyst

Michael

Michael

Entertainment Industry Analyst

300 satisfied customers

Entertainment Industry Professional

Martin

Martin

Engineer

227 satisfied customers

Fan of Cinema and Video Games

Erdaram

Erdaram

Composer, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards

146 satisfied customers

I have been Writing, Arranging, Composing, Preforming and Recording Music for 37 years.

Ask Veronica

Ask Veronica

Entertainment Exec.

140 satisfied customers

10+ years as an Entertainment Executive and Industry Insider

Hugh

Hugh

Composer, Producer and Performer

59 satisfied customers

20 years experience in performing, studio sessions, producing, composing, entertainment management.

N Cal Atty

N Cal Atty

Attorney

83 satisfied customers

Attorney in California since 1983

< Previous | Next >

Related Entertainment Questions
How can my daughter get in Disney channel. She is in the
She is in the chorus of the school so she can sing and act but has no experience … read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
I am cheerleader coach at August High School where graduated
My name is***** am cheerleader coach at August Martin High School where Russell Simmons graduated from.We are asking him for some assistants in getting our football field ready for September. … read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
Need a date for a wedding. I'm going to a wedding on the
I'm going to a wedding on the 27th of this month, I don't want to go alone … read more
Cher
Cher
MENTOR/ENTERTAINMENT
Masters Degree
430 satisfied customers
FOOD PRICES: Please be and honest with your answer. Question
FOOD PRICES: Please be blunt and honest with your answer. Question for Chef / professional cook. Lately I have been shocked at the prices of food. Is it just ME or is there something going on causing … read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
I would like to contact eminem ..on a personal matter. My
I would like to contact eminem ..on a personal matter … read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
I remember a very time ago seeing a movie about a family
I remember a very long time ago seeing a movie about a family stranded on an island or forest where one morning, the father swims underwater for whatever reason when suddenly a whale appears. He tries… read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
I'm thinking about going on the Carnival Victory cruise in
I'm thinking about going on the Carnival Victory cruise in Febuary. I'm a little worried about spending too much. How much do drinks cost (both alcoholic and non alcoholic? How do I find about prices … read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
I am looking for the name of a particular movie. It is a
I am looking for the name of a particular movie. It is a older black and white movie set in the world war 1 or 2 time period. I don't remember any of the particulars about the movie, except in the end… read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
james gammon did a play in 1954 possibly called toby trims
james gammon did a play in 1954 possibly called "toby trims a christmas tree and possibly by james otis and possibly published by pierce publishing where can I get the script?… read more
Edward Johnson
Edward Johnson
Senior HR Consultant and Business Devlpm
Bachelor's Degree
6,994 satisfied customers
I am trying to learn how to spell the piece of beautiful
I am trying to learn how to spell the piece of beautiful classical music called the (Phonetic)...JENOPITY Can you help me spell it correctly? and who is the composer? OH - I just answered my own quest… read more
Expert
Expert
I need to get in contact with Jeremy Clarkson management.
hi I need to get in contact with Jeremy Clarkson management … read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
Does Mark Wahlberg come out in a TV program show where he
Does Mark Wahlberg come out in a TV program show where he plays the part of a cop or something like that? If he's not a cop in the TV show program, he still faces danger and has to physically defend h… read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
Although I know that the 1995 movie titled "Into The Mouth
Although I know that the 1995 movie titled "Into The Mouth Of Madness" with Sam Neill wasn't filmed in New Hampshire at all, for some reason, the filming locations, setting, environment, and stuff of … read more
Martin
Martin
Engineer
Bachelor's Degree
227 satisfied customers
Where in north County of San Diego County can we buy a
Where in north County of San Diego County can we buy a already prepared half turkey thanksgiving meal?… read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
How many times per year should one limit themselves to
How many times per year should one limit themselves to seeing a certain movie so one will not get tired of seeing it? 2 times per year perhaps? Thank you.… read more
Cher
Cher
MENTOR/ENTERTAINMENT
Masters Degree
430 satisfied customers
If a person wants to buy a pair of shoes of their own
If a person wants to buy a pair of shoes of their own personal choice and limit himself/herself to only one pair of shoes "for pleasure" and "not" out of necessity, what strategies should he/she use i… read more
Michael
Michael
Entertainment Industry Analyst
Bachelor's Degree
300 satisfied customers
In your personal and professional opinion, which movie is
In your personal and professional opinion, which movie is better? Code Name: The Cleaner (With Cedric The Entertainer and Lucy Liu) or A Haunting In Connecticut? Thank you.… read more
Cher
Cher
MENTOR/ENTERTAINMENT
Masters Degree
430 satisfied customers
In your personal and professional opinion, please rank the
In your personal and professional opinion, please rank the following movies from the best movie to the least best movie:Johnny English Part 1 (Rowan Atkinson) A Haunting In Connecticut Resident Evil: … read more
Cher
Cher
MENTOR/ENTERTAINMENT
Masters Degree
430 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x