March 19, 2003
In This Newsletter:
COURT TV CAN USE NEWS FOOTAGE WITHOUT A LICENSE AS A FAIR USE
Plaintiff Los Angeles News Service generates income by licensing video footage to news stations. It has licensed the footage of the beating of Reginald Denny during the L.A. riots, which occurred after the acquittal of police officers accused of beating Rodney King. Some news outlets, however, have used the footage without a license, claiming their use is a fair use permitted under the Copyright Act.
LA News Service sued Court TV and Group W Newsfeed (now owned by CBS) after Court TV used segments of the Reginald Denny video footage to promote its coverage of the trial of one of those accused of beating Denny, and after Group W Newsfeed distributed the footage to its subscribers. Initially a Federal District Judge dismissed the case on a motion for summary judgment. On appeal, LA News was able to partially reverse that ruling because critical pieces of evidence offered by the Plaintiff were excluded as inadmissible. The Judge found that some of the evidence was, in fact, admissible and could be used by a jury to decide in LA News Service's favor. The dismissal was therefore reversed.
However, Court TV had used this clip to tease coverage for a related trial and an evening news program. Based on the specific facts, the Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of LA News Service's claims, stating that Court TV had a right to air the clips based on the fair use doctrine.
Los Angeles News Service v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc., 305 F.3d 924, 2002 U.S.App.LEXIS 18843 (9th Cir. 2002)
"DUNSMORE" TO SCREEN AT METHOD FEST AND BIFF
Congratulations to our clients, Peter Spirer and Michael Andrews. Their film, "Dunsmore," has been selected for screening at the Bermuda International Film Festival and for a West Coast premiere at Method Fest, which will be held in Burbank, California. Both festivals are in April.
For more information about Method Fest, visit their website at:http://www.methodfest.com/methodfest_2001/index.htm
For more information about Bermuda International Film Festival, visit their website at:http://www.bermudafilmfest.com/
HARD WORK AND SELF-DISTRIBUTION BRING PRESS TO FILMMAKER
In another example of how elbow grease and ingenuity do pay off, VideoBusiness magazine featured our client Jimi Petulla and his self-distributed film, "Reversal," in a recent issue.
Unable to land a distribution agreement, Petulla set up a website to sell the film directly to viewers and has sold about 13,000 DVD copies in 120 days. He attributes the sales volume to the film's "niche appeal," saying, "Filmmakers need to know that if you have movie in a niche, you can reach that niche through the Internet."
VideoBusiness magazine can be found at: http://www.videobusiness.comVisit the official "Reversal" website at: http://www.reversalthemovie.com
FIND PRODUCT PLACEMENT CONTACTS ONLINE AT E.R.M.A.
Filmmakers looking for product placement deals can search online at: http://www.erma.org
The website, run by E.R.M.A., the Entertainment Resources & Marketing Association, lists contacts for more than 70 companies that represent dozens of well-known brands. The site also contains information on the organization itself, which seeks to "ensure high-quality ethics and standards of operation in the industry."