What happens when you put a handful of lawyers into a room full of independent filmmakers for three hours? Magic. Entering its second year, the Bronze Lens Film Festival Legal Mashup (http://bronzelens.com) offered a series of presentations focusing on three specific legal topics every producer, director and filmmaker needs to know about: story legalities, music in film, and employment of talent and crew.
The first panel “Story Legalities” brought back the legal duo of Jonathan Mason (http://www.atlshowbizlaw.com) and Deborah Gonzalez (http://www.dgonzalezesq.com) from 2015. Moderated by Julie K. Roach (http://juliekroachesq.wixsite.com/law-firm), the three offered insights on where a film always begins – with a story. Who owns it? How can
you own it? What do you do with it? After laying a basic foundation of copyrights and derivative works, the conversation got into specifics concerning transfers of copyrights, rights of acquisition, life story rights, first amendment, defamation and even public records. A few other tidbits: how much creative control can you expect, clear chain of title, script clearances, option agreements, and errors and omissions insurance.
After lunch the second panel “Music in Film” brought a host of successful music attorneys from around the Atlanta area including: Ashley Couch (http://www.hollanlaw.com), Evita Kaigler (http://www.evitakaigler.com), James L Walker (http://walkerandassoc.com/v2/), and Julie K Roach. Moderated by Lee Morin (http://morinentlaw.com), the panel was rounded out with an industry pro – Tammy Hurt of Placement Music (http://placementmusic.com/about/tammy-hurt).
The panel provided some guidance on the appropriate use of music in film and license requirements including synchronization licenses. They gave wonderful examples of what works and what doesn’t, and offered a few resources for filmmakers who want to make sure their music will not become a holdup to distribution.
The last panel, “Talent, Crew and Employment Law” provided a gathering of attorneys – Breyuna Williams (https://twitter.com/breyunal) and Ronald Barabas (http://www.patelburkhalter.com/who-we-are/profiles/ronald-barabas/) – with industry professionals – Melissa Goodman (http://www.sagaftra.org/atlanta) and Rick Estimond (http://peoplestore.net/jet4_content_area/rick-estimond/). This session was moderated by Deborah Gonzalez and provided an overview of relevant legal issues concerning employment of top of the line and below the line individuals including: union concerns, offer letters and employment contracts, minors in entertainment, on set safety, and more.
This year also saw the first time Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits were offered to participating Georgia attorneys. We plan to do so again next year so put us on your calendar if you need CLE credits and practice law, entertainment or other.
A lot got covered in these three hours but there is always more. What topics would you like to see the attorneys mashup next year? Did you attend the legal mashup? Did you miss it this year? Don’t miss it next year – Like on Facebook so you can be kept up to date – https://www.facebook.com/Bronzelens