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Jim Krause | Classes | C228 Multi-Cam TV Studio Production 1

Week 12


  • Legal and IP (intellectual property) issues
  • Start in on Remote Productions

Announcements/Reality Check

  • Quiz #5 Next week in lab. (It will cover legal, IP issues and remote productions)
  • Drama/Comedic Scenes this week in lab.
  • Performance Projects next week (Week13). Got talent?
  • Remaining assignments:
    • Dramatic/Comedic Scene critique (4 points due week 13)
    • Performance production (Week 13)
    • Production packets for Final Projects
    • Budget/Remote (due by Friday, April 23)
    • Final project & class critique (2 page due by Monday, May 3)
    • Final exam Monday, May 3 (10:10 AM adminstered by Canvas)

Readings: Just review the on-line lecture notes

Legal Concepts for TV Producers

Intellectual Property (IP)

Work of the mind is known as Intellectual Property, often abbreviated as IP. The essential idea behind IP law is that once someone creates something (a story, song, painting, invention, etc.) their idea is protected by law.

Copyright Law protects the authors of intellectual property from other people profiting from their work. The first Federal Act was passed in 1790. It has been modified and elaborated upon over the years. It falls under the Library of Congress.

What does it protect? It protects ideas that can be represented in a tangible form (books, songs, artwork, choreography, etc. You can find out more here. How long does it last? Find out here.

Ten famous intellectual property disputes (Smithsonian Magazine)

FYI It's relatively easy to acquire a copyright for a song or other piece of creative work, which can be obtained from the Library of Congress. One does not need a appy for a copyright to gain basic protection.

IP law can be divided into several categories.

  • Inventions and devices can be patented.
  • Logos can be trademarked.
  • Music, poetry, film, dance and other creative works can be copyrighted.

Patents and trademarks and registered through the US Patent & Trademark Office, an agency of the Department of Commerce. Copyrights are registered through the US Copyright Office, a division of the Library of Congress.

While it's relatively easy to acquire a copyright for a song or other piece of creative work, one does not need a copyright to gain basic protection.

Generally speaking, one should not use existing IP in commercial work. If one does want to use existing music, photos, video, film or other elements in a commercial work, they need a license agreement.

Watch this video on Creativity, Copyright, and Fair Use (4:40)

Fair Use - This legal concept defines exceptions to when one can use a portion of existing intellectual property for certain applications. This falls into four areas: education, commentary, news, and comedy/parody.

Public Domain - The copyright has expired. Many publications before 1923 have fallen into the public domain.

Other Legal Concepts to be aaware of:

  • Privacy - everyone is entitled to this. However those in the public spotlight are given less protection.
  • Intrusion - When you intrude into a person's privacy.
  • Access - Generally shooting on public property is OK. Private property for news is another matter.
  • Commercial appropriation - It is NOT OK to use someone else's likeness to further your own cause.
  • Staging - Can't "stage" or reenact events unrealistically for news or documentary purposes. NBC got into trouble for this when they rigged a GM truck to help it explode for Dateline NBC. Be careful with using comparable footage as well.
  • Shield Laws - Protecting sources. States offer differing protection than the Feds.
  • Defamation (libel & slander) - Presenting content that lowers the public's estimation of a person. Negligence (not bothering to check facts).

Legal contracts:

There are three types of legal contracts you should be familiar with:

  • Model Releases
  • Location Releases
  • License Agreements

Model/Talent Releases: These agreements outline the conditions of which the talent will appear in a program. In order to be legally binding, they must specify a time period (duration) and some form of compensation.

Location Releases: These agreements outline the conditions of which a certain location is used in a program. Usually signed by the property owner or legal representative.

License Agreements provide for the limited use of someone else's copyrighted material (intellectual property). Anything that has been created, written, composed etc is given some level of protected by Federal copyright law. Music is usually the easiest thing to procure a clearance for (most TV & radio stations have blanket licenses with BMI and ASCAP). Prints, photos, paintings & other visual items are much trickier.


Be careful with what you have in the background on a commercial production. Avoid showing existing IP (E.g. identifiable artwork NOT in the public domain).


These entities are Performing Rights Organizations (PROs). They collect royalties for public performances, which includes fees paid by TV and radio stations, bars, restaurants, arenas, digital streaming services, etc.

These three organizations do similar things: they represent the IP rights of musical artists, publishers & composers.

  • Blanket License - Allows the holder (E.g. TV or radio station) to play any of the recordings. Typically broadcasters would want them from both BMI & ASCAP.
  • Mechanical rights define the terms an existing copyrighted work may be used in an audio-only product, such as CDs.
  • Master Use Rights specify the terms of using a master recording
  • Synchronization (Sync) rights are used to define how a work can be used in a soundtrack to a video or film (E.g. music for a montage). The are obtained from the music publisher/copyright holder and are licensed to the producer of the film or program.
  • Performance rights are necessary to broadcast or perform the work publicly. Broadcasters also need to obtain Performance Rights, since they are publicly transmitting the material. They pay BMI & ASCAP in order to broadcast existing music.

Insurance -----------------------------

Liability - This is the basic insurance all videographers should have if they are doing professional work in the field. Like car insurance (which is required by law in order to drive a car) liability insurance will cover costs in the case of accidents.

E & O Insurance - Errors and Omissions insurance is a sort of "catch-all" type of insurance that protects you against many unforeseeable issues. All producers should have this.


Vocabulary Words ------------------------

  • Copyright
  • E & O insurance
  • Fair Use
  • I.P. (not Internet protocol)
  • Liability insurance
  • Library of Congress
  • License agreement
  • Location release
  • Public Domain


Lab --------------------------------------------------------------

Learning Objectives:

  • Give students practice producing their own show
  • Have fun in the process!


  • Attendance
  • Check in on next week's Performance videos
  • Remind students that Final Project packets are due next week
  • Produce Dramatic/Comedic Scenes
  • Wrap


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