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Film Clearance Procedures

Be proactive and avoid the dumpster bin.

Proactive clearance procedures dictate whether a television or film project

makes it to distribution or production comes to a stop.

When you decide to use copyrighted material in your TV show, movie, or other print project, you risk opening yourself up to possible legal exposure if you don’t secure important licensing, such as music, stock footage, and location rights, or chain of title documents. A lack of awareness concerning the ownership of rights or licenses can spell disaster for your project.

You have to know who retains the rights involved in your project to ensure you both recognize their contribution and account for work that is not your own. If you don’t want borrowed material or a lack of proper documentation to cost your production team downtime or fines, be proactive with your clearance.

Below are four benefits of proactive clearance.

  1. Satisfying Your E&O Carrier—the First Time Around

Dealing with your insurance carrier doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. When you perform the necessary research and procure the proper documents—copyright reports, chain of title, script clearance, etc.—you eliminate the risk of returning to your E&O carrier a second time. The more preparation you put into your clearance procedures, the less likely you are to meet resistance and avoidable red tape.

  1. Reducing the Likelihood of Legal Exposure

Researching the contents of your project, including your script and stock footage, alerts you and your carrier to possible legal exposure. If you file for your script clearance and attorney opinion letters before you begin production, you can get ahead of any potential problems. This saves you time and money in the long run as you reduce the likelihood of legal exposure.

If you don’t properly cite the ownership of rights or give credit where credit is due, then you risk attracting unwanted legal attention, including fines, lawsuits, and irreparable damage to your project. A proactive approach to possible legal red tape ensures your work’s success.

  1. Avoiding Unnecessary Legal Fees

The appearance of legal problems is typically accompanied by exorbitant fines and fees. You’ll lose money better spent on production or distribution costs—a loss that you could avoid. Most of your project-critical clearance procedures can be dealt with before production is underway, which is when a proactive position works best.

  1. Avoiding Downtime for Your Film or Television Project

Utilizing a proactive approach to your clearance circumvents unnecessary downtime. Production won’t have to slow to a crawl or stop altogether—it can move on, unhindered by legal trouble. If an issue with copyright or rights comes up, productivity can tank. You’ll avoid this by handling your clearance procedures before, or during, the early stages of production.

The benefits of proactive clearance procedures are numerous, from saving money and time, to making the production-to-distribution process run more smoothly.

Although clearance procedures are necessary, they aren’t always taken care of at the most advantageous moment in the process—specifically during preproduction. Potential legal problems are much smaller when you’ve done your due diligence.

Keep your project ahead of trouble and contact The Clearance Lab today—we’ll help you stay on top of your clearance procedures in a proactive, timely fashion.