At the end of your film project—after the foley, the music, and the final renders—it’s time to give your film the final legal touch that will protect you and your work of art: a review of film clearance procedures.
Having your film clearance undergo scrutiny can be the difference between a film with a firm legal standing and a film that’s at risk for a lawsuit.
In this article, we’ll cover why you need a review of clearance procedures, what it gives your film, and the risks associated with skipping this important step.
Why You Need a Review of Film Clearance Procedures
You may be wondering why you need a review of clearance procedures when you’ve already completed a title review, script clearance, and chain of title review. That’s a fair question.
Think of the entire clearance process and your film together like assembling a car. The script is the engineering blueprint, the chain of title is purchasing all the parts. At each step, you perform due diligence to ensure that everything is properly completed.
The final step in assembling a car is the test drive, the last bit of quality assurance to see that all the individual components come together as designed. In the same way, the review of clearance procedures compares what you planned to do (production script) to what the actual finished product.
Let’s face it: a lot changes over the course of a film project. Locations get altered, a different song is chosen in post-production, and more. It’s very, very easy to have legal exposure creep into a project as complex as a film.
What a Review of Film Clearance Procedures Provides
When you obtain a review of your film clearance procedures, you’ll gain valuable insights into where your film invites litigation and controversy. An attorney will sit down with your completed film and compare it to your legal paperwork. The goal here is to look for inconsistencies between the expected documentation and what was executed.
Here are some examples of potential discrepancies:
- To make the set seem more authentic, additional props were brought in, some of which have visible trademarks.
- Artwork is present in the museum scene. You have permission from the museum, but not from the artists to show their work.
- You licensed a song for use but not the actual recording, so your license doesn’t cover the way you used it.
- You’re missing paperwork from a supporting actor.
After the review is complete, you will receive an attorney opinion on your legal risk as well as recommendations for fixing any issues found. Armed with this information, you can take steps to defend your film before the litigation starts.
Risks from Skipping a Clearance Procedure Review
In the film industry, inadequate film clearance can cost filmmakers not only dollars but lost distribution or significant delays with their film. As your film reaches the masses, the smallest copyright infringement, trademark infringement, or other violation can have huge implications.
To see some real-world examples of the risks (and lawsuits) that resulted from poor legal caution, check out these examples:
Your E & O Insurance carrier knows these risks as well, which is why every insurance application asks if an attorney has reviewed your clearance procedures. It’s the final form of protection you can give yourself and your film.
Order your Attorney Review of Clearance Procedures so you can spend more time promoting your work instead of worrying about defending it in court.