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RockArt
04-01-2005, 08:27 AM
Hey There,

I havn't been able to find the answer to this through searches so I thought I'd post a question.

We just finished an eight minute short film that we originally did for a comic book fan film contest. The film takes place in the Batman universe at Arkham Asylum. It turned out so well that we want to enter it into other short film festivals. Right now we are using a 10 second establishing shot of Arkham from Batman Forever. We have no plans to sell the film to anyone, we just want to get our work out there and seen. My question is, do we need clearence from WB to have the clip in there? I live in Orlando which isn't known for it's scary buildings, so finding a replacement would be difficult. Can I leave it in there and just put a credit at the end saying where it came from? Again, we don't want to sell it, just get it out there. Any info is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Chris

mrblue1022
04-01-2005, 08:41 AM
Legally, yes you need a clearance from Warner Bros in order to use this clip.

In reallity, you can put it out to film festivals and hope that Warner Bros doesn't decided to sue you. However, most film festivals will not show your film without the release becuase they don't want to run the risk of getting sued.

Rob

Erik Olson
04-01-2005, 08:47 AM
Chris,

You'll need to secure a courtesy clearance from Warner Bros. You can approach them directly for a license grant or use an agency (http://www.clearance.com/get_clearance.htm) specializing in same.

It doesn't matter whether you're producing something for your solicitation reel or commercial distribution - intellectual properties, unless use rights are expressly granted, will be stringently defended against all forms of unsanctioned use.

If you want to get your name out there, don't do it by pirating someone else's work on your first effort - doesn't matter if you give them credit without their permission.

Good luck.

e

RockArt
04-01-2005, 09:37 AM
Rob & Overlandfilms,

Thanks for your responses. I kinda figured that I would have to get the clearence but figured I'd put the question out there incase I overlooked something.

Overlandfilms- How do go about getting the courtesy clearence directly from Warner Bros.? What department should I call or get into contact with? I would never pirate someone elses work just to get my name out there, which is the #1 reason I put the question out there.

In the meantime I guess I'll start looking around Orlando to see if I can't come up with something else.

Thanks,
Chris

David Jimerson
04-01-2005, 10:00 AM
You’re likely going to need permission to use the “universe,” too . . .

RockArt
04-01-2005, 06:01 PM
David,

If I need "universe" clearance, does that mean that the makers of "Batman: Deadend", "World's Finest" and "Grayson" all got clearances? And did Sandy Collora the maker of Batman: Deadend get clearances from Warner Bros/DC Comics and the people that own both the Predator and Alien characters? The reason I'm asking is just incase anyone else wants to make a film like this too.

Thanks,
Chris

Erik Olson
04-01-2005, 07:06 PM
RockArt,

You'll have a better time of it if you are documenting entertainment in the public domain. If you intend to include works or derivative works from a third party in your finished piece, then the clearances issue is at the fore again...

You will likely need to secure a clearance - if you're going on your own or through an entertainment lawyer specializing in clip clearances - from the distributor, performers appearing within the clip and, sometimes, the WGA and DGA.

The order of business is to: a) identify the current copyright holder - likely Warner Bros. for domestic distribution; b) research any third-party rights (e.g., actor(s), director and producers; c) use a clearance coordinator or entertainment law firm to assess fees (if any) to use the associated clip

In your letter to the distributor / copyright holder: a) identify yourself and the project you wish to use the clip in, and a realisitic timeline for approval or declination of your request; b) the way in which and audience to which your project will be distributed, and how much you expect to earn through each distributed end-product; c) indicate the context in which the requested clip will be used; d) a brief summation of the requested clip contents, the requested duration in hours, minutes, seconds and frames; e) request contact information for additional rights holders on record with the distributor / principal copyright holder

You need to contact:

Warner Bros. Studios
Clearances and Placement
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522

David Jimerson
04-01-2005, 08:11 PM
David,

If I need "universe" clearance, does that mean that the makers of "Batman: Deadend", "World's Finest" and "Grayson" all got clearances? And did Sandy Collora the maker of Batman: Deadend get clearances from Warner Bros/DC Comics and the people that own both the Predator and Alien characters? The reason I'm asking is just incase anyone else wants to make a film like this too.

Thanks,
Chris

I have no idea if they got clearances or not; I don't think they did. Whether or not Warner (and whoever owns Predator and Alien) enforces its rights is a business decision on their part. They might enjoy the free publicity; who knows? It's up to them.

There are many people out making Star Wars and Star Trek fan productions, too; they don't have clearance, either.

If you want to be on the good side of the law, you need permission. Otherwise, you're open to suit.

RockArt
04-01-2005, 08:14 PM
Overlandfilms,

Thanks for all the great info! I knew the people here would come through. It sounds like it might be a lot easier to just find an ominous looking building and get a location release for the building. I might pursue Warner Bros and see what they say since there are no actors in the shot, it is just an establishing shot of the building.

What's your thoughts on the issue of getting a release for the "universe"? All the examples that I listed in an earlier post just state that the characters are property of their respective TM and Copyright holders and are just intended for entertainment homage purposes and are not for sale or resale. Does that seem like enough covering of one's backside?

Thanks,
Chris

Jarred Land
04-01-2005, 08:55 PM
if you seriously want to just submit it to festivals, you can obtain Festival Rights, which are very cheap. Its worth the small amount to be on the safe side.

RockArt
04-02-2005, 03:49 AM
Jarred,

How do i go about obtaining Festival rights? Who do I need to contact and what does it cover? Thanks for the information.

Thanks,
Chris

David Jimerson
04-02-2005, 06:42 AM
And your questions are getting specific enough where you need to talk to an attorney in your area.