Copyright and Clearances (Introduction)

As student filmmakers, you want your work to be exhibited to the widest possible audience. Public screening of your film requires that it be “cleared” so that you do not have to defend yourself from lawsuits brought by injured parties. This area, similar to pre- production, is taught in greater length and detail in the production courses at the School of Film/Video.

In brief, you must have permission to use what belongs to someone else – that is – their likeness, their personal property, and their intellectual property. If you fail to obtain all the necessary clearances, waivers, rights, and permissions – your project will be limited to “classroom” screenings only. That precludes showing at any film festival, public screening and on network or cable television – as well as other public venues.

This guide is intended to give you a general idea of what is needed in the way of clearances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor should it be construed as legal advice.

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