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The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers: A Legal Toolkit for Independent Producers Paperback – January 8, 2011
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"Crowell, entertainment and intellectual property rights lawyer, presents this pocket guide providing vital and useful legal information for independent filmmakers. With this well organized reference, producers can navigate the murky legal waters associated with the filmmaking process. Crowell covers everything from protecting intellectual property to dealing with Hollywood actors' agents and even benefitting financially from state film taxes and product placement. Presented in accessible language, without all the obfuscation of legal jargon, this guide provides adequate legal counsel for those embarking on producing an independent film."--Book News, Reference & Research
About the Author
Thomas A. Crowell, Esq., is a New York-based lawyer who counsels his clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, He graduated from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, cum laude, and was awarded membership in the Order of the Coifùthe national legal honors society. For over a decade prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Crowell produced television news and award-winning children's entertainment. He is a member of the bars of NY, NJ, and the United States Supreme Court, For more information, please see www.thomascrowell.com.
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Something I thought was rather interesting about this title can be found on page 262. In the grey box, he reminds the reader that while it's typical to have post production assigned a share of the take for a film, that you need to watch out for those contracts that try to sneak in language that assigns the copyright as well...essentially the post production house legally steals your film.
It's also not a boilerplate contract book. This actually breaks down what the elements of a production company is; he goes into how to write language that actually protects the "idea", and the film, so that along the way it can't be wrested from you at distribution.
Another example is on page 92, he goes into the bullet points of Ownership Rights, and asks who is responsible for what part, and in turn-what part does that person own of the finished product you produce. There is also an explanation of why it's so critically important on the larger projects to invest your time, and create a production company to lock it all down.
It's in plain English, and for those with legal exposure or training, you'll be happy to know that where needed, he cites why explicitly, and references the chapter and verse.
So rather than a cookie cutter one size fits all approach, you actually learn what you need to choose what's important to your project, and set things up from the start to keep things aligned with your vision, and establish relationships that are all focused on the bringing of the idea to the screen-without making you feel like you've just sold yourself down the river.
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I thought the law and contracts were all about precise language.Read more