In the motion picture industry, the chain of title involves a series of documents which establishes proprietary rights in a film. The chain also applies to compilations in other fields, where many people have contributed to the project, thus acquiring authorship rights, or where materials were culled from many sources. Chain of title is extremely important to film purchasers and to film distributors, as it establishes the veracity of the owner’s proprietary rights (or rights under license) in the intellectual property in a film, book or encyclopedia.

Chain of title documentation can include:
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  • copyright clearances on music from the regional collecting society, and to a less common extent, footage of other films;

  • trademark clearances;

  • talent agreements, which should incorporate a legal release from the talent, be they actors (including crowds), directors, cinematographers, choreographers, or others, to use their works, images, likeness and other personality rights in the film;

  • proof of errors and omission insurance (a special form of insurance for motion picture producers which covers omissions in obtaining adequate chain of title).