World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Film rights

Article Id: WHEBN0003958039
Reproduction Date:

Title: Film rights  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Superman in film, Mashup (book), Beautiful Bastard, Bless the Beasts and Children (film), Casablanca (film)
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Film rights

Film rights are rights under copyright laws to produce a derivative work (a film in this case) based from an item of intellectual property. According to U.S. law, these belong to the holder of the copyright, who may sell or option them to someone in the film industry (a producer or director or sometimes a specialist broker of such properties) who will then try to gather the other professionals and secure the financial backing needed to convert the property into a film. This is different from the right to exhibit a finished motion picture commercially to an audience; this is usually referred to as "exhibition rights" or "public performance rights".

Origins

In the United States, the need to secure film rights of previously published or produced source materials still under copyright stems from case law. In 1907, the Kalem Company produced a one-reel silent film version of General Lew Wallace's novel, Ben-Hur, without first securing film rights. Wallace's estate, and his American publisher, Harper & Brothers, sued for copyright infringement. The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, establishing the precedent that all adaptations are subject to copyright.

Options

When producers option a script, they are purchasing the right to buy certain rights to intellectual property. A general option fee is 10% of the cost of the rights, should the producers manage to secure full financing for their project and have it "greenlit". Because few projects actually manage to be greenlit, options allow producers to reduce their loss in the event that a project fails to come to fruition. Should the project be greenlit, an option provides a legally binding guarantee to purchase the film rights.

The contract for an option will specify the length of time it is valid for. If the producer is unable to have their project greenlit within the specified timeframe (e.g. two years), the option will expire. The rights holder can then put the previously optioned rights up for sale again. Or, the contract may allow the producer to renew the option for a certain price.

Chain of title

As it is common for scripts to be stuck in development hell, the options for a script may expire and be resold on multiple occasions. As well, producers who purchase an option and rework the script own the rights to their own derivative work- while the original rights holder owns the underlying rights. This lineage is referred to as the chain of title. This lineage can become cloudy if the underlying rights are divided. Producers may purchase the rights to a specific region (i.e. a country, the entire world, or the universe) and/or they may purchase ancillary rights such as merchandising

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from School eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.