Film Crowdfunding Lawsuits
Crowdfunding is a boon of the modern age.
The success of online sites for raising money is being fueled by the interconnectivity of the digital age. Social media conversations provide the fuel, and the online technology provides the platform.
Now more than ever, independent filmmakers have an effective way to acquire instant investment dollars for production costs.
However, if your film is being backed by a wave of public involvement, your increased fame could entail an increased risk of lawsuits.
The recent Star Trek lawsuit is a poster child for this legal risk.
Axanar is a self-described independent Star Trek film funded through nontraditional means. The film raised $638,471 on Kickstarter and another $574,434 on Indiegogo. However, in December of 2015, legal troubles began.
As ArsTechnica explains, “After all, fans had been making Star Trek fanfic for decades, and CBS had either encouraged it or turned a blind eye.
“But that tacit approval stopped after Axanar Productions was able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo.”
PCMag explains that the saga seemed to be ending in May 2016 when J. J. Abrams signaled the legal troubles would be coming to a close.
However, the crowdfunding lawsuit saga has continued.
CBS and Paramount have given a set of guidelines for Axanar to follow, one of which includes a stipulation of how long the film should run.
Whatever the outcome of the legal battles surrounding this film, one thing is for certain. A lack of copyright infringement risk management was at the bottom.
Script Clearance Matters
With Axanar, a script clearance would have probably brought this crowdfunded project to a screeching halt. The copyright infringement risks were glaringly obvious.
And while your film may not contain these kinds of infringements, there may be areas of copyright infringement your production team isn’t even aware of.
However, when using crowdfunding platforms, your film may suddenly face unexpected legal hassles—hassles that can halt production and create legal costs.
While grassroots movements can bring a sense of life to a film, the unfortunate reality is that the sudden spotlight of fame may bring swift scrutiny.
Beware of the increased attention as the buzz-building often leads to legal turmoil that can derail fully funded films before the camera starts rolling.
You need to take steps to protect your film… and the investments of each dedicated individual who contributed to your fund. Secure an Indie Clearance Package to minimize the risk that your project will face crowdfunding lawsuits.