In our lecture today we discussed copyright and contracts. Copyright is defined as ‘The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.’ by the Oxford Dictionary. Personally, copyright is a simply a reassuring factor that my creative material won’t be stolen. As well as copyright, we discussed contracts. More importantly, contracts while working with other people. This interested me greatly as i’ve had many projects fall through because of lack of communication and understanding.
When creating a film, you need to have as much documentation supporting you as possible. I’m currently producing a short and I had no idea how many contracts you actually needed. We’ve got location forms, casting forms, equipment forms, funding forms and most importantly, group contracts. The group work contract is probably the most important while creating something with others. All parties must agree to the terms and see them through. If this contract fails/isn’t put into place, the likelihood of the entire project falling apart is incredibly high.
In our lecture, we filled out a contract found online (it’s not an offical legally binding contract, but it’s close). What i learnt is that copyright is not fun and in fact it can be quite boring to figure out. But it’s so so important to know. Especially in the creative industries. There have been so many cases of copyright infringement that results in creative people losing credit, money and respect.
A great example of copyright infringement is the case of Rogers vs Koons. Art Rogers shot a photo of a couple of a couple holding a line of puppies in 1985.
In 1988 artist Jeff Koons created statues for his art exhibit based off the photograph by Rogers. Koons sold several of the statues and made a significant profit before Rogers found out and sued him for copyright.
Jeff Koons claimed he was parodying the work however the court found that there were too many similarities between the two. Koons was forced to pay a monetary settlement to Rogers. This case was huge in the art world as many people started to question if you could still use other work to influence your own.
It’s a fine line between inspiration and stealing and I think the copyright laws help protect your creative work from being ‘stolen’. That being said, I do believe that people should be able to take direct inspiration without it being considered a copyright infringement.