Acquiring Screenplay Rights

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Author:
aceaj03@yahoo.com
ID:
44972
Filename:
Acquiring Screenplay Rights
Updated:
2010-10-26 02:04:35
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Film Copyright Legalities
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Description:
Chapter 8 of The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers
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  1. The Screenplay Option/Purchase

    Screenplay Purchase Agreement
    The contract drawn between a writer and a producer over extent of copyright being handed over.
  2. The Screenplay Option/Purchase

    Option Agreement
    A filmmaker's exclusive right to buy the screenplay during the option period.
  3. The Screenplay Option/Purchase

    Exercising the Option
    When a filmmaker decides to purchase the screenplay during the option period.
  4. The Screenplay Option/Purchase

    Worthless Option
    An option whose purchasing price was not negotiated at the time the option price was negotiated.
  5. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    What does the producer want?
    • -To shop the script around before exercising option
    • -Get longest option period possible
    • -Get lowest option price possible
    • -Make option price applicable to purchase price
  6. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    What does the writer want?
    • Prefers to sell outright (but knows not usually possible)
    • Wants movie made so they can demand higher price for next writing assignment.
  7. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    Grant of Option
    The exclusive right for the producer to purchase the screenplay during the option period.
  8. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    Option Price
    • Low end $50
    • High end 10% of purchase price
    • Will the option price be applicable or nonapplicable to purchase amount?
  9. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    Option Period or Term
    • Usually at least one year
    • Extension payment offered
  10. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    Extension Payment
    When a producer can renew the option.
  11. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    Exercise the Option
    • Send snail mail notice of plans to exercise option to writer.
    • Writer needs to sign purchase agreement.
    • Writer also needs to sign over copyrights and other rights to producer.
  12. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    Right to Development and Preproduction
    Clause enabling the filmmaker to move forward with script rewrites, storyboards and trailers to raise money for project.
  13. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    Reversion
    Clause stating that all rights are reverted back to the writer after the option period has expired.
  14. Major Deal Points: The Option Agreement

    What are the elements that make up the Options Agreement?
    • The Parties
    • Grant of Option
    • Option Price
    • Option Period
    • Exercise of the Option
    • Right to Development and Preproduction
    • Reversion
  15. Major Deal Points: The Purchasing Agreement

    Rights Granted are:
    • Medium
    • Duration
    • Geography
    • Motion Picture
    • Merchandising
    • Other (sequels, remakes, etc)
    • Right to make changes
  16. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    What does the producer have to do before contracting a script?
    Perform a copyright search at U.S. Copyright Office.
  17. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    What goes in the copyright section of agreement?
    • Copyright info- title, regristration number, year published
    • Producers renewal rights
    • All additional copyright documentation for rights transfered
  18. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    What might constitute as a writer's Reserved Rights?
    • Book
    • Radio
    • Comic book
    • Stage
    • Separated Rights
  19. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    Holdback period of Reserved Rights:
    During holdback period, writer cannot exploit reserved rights
  20. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    Right of First Negotiation/Right of Last Refusal:
    Writer has to offer reserved rights to producer first before attempting to sell to anyone else.
  21. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    Rate schedule:
    WGA provided rates their writers need to be paid by.
  22. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    What right does the writer have if their is an agreement to a percentage of the net profits?
    The writer may audit a production company's profits off their script, usually not more often than once a year.
  23. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    What is Rights Reversion?
    When the writer gets the rights back if the production company does not start principal photography in an agreed amount of time.
  24. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    Indemnification:
    Insure against loss.
  25. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    What are the Representations and Warranties here?
    This is the writers assurance that this agreement does not infringe on any other agreements and that the writer is not breaching contract.
  26. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    No Obligation to Produce
    Producer has the rights to the screenplay without actual obligation to film it.
  27. Major Deal Points: The Purchase Agreement

    What are the components of a Purchase Agreement?
    • Rights Granted
    • Copyright
    • Reserved Rights
    • Payment
    • Accounting (auditing)
    • Rights Reversion
    • Representations and Warranties
    • Credit
    • No Obligation to Produce
    • Publicity

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