Complexity

As we can see, copyright is a complex issue due to the portability of copyrights. It becomes even more complicated for filmmakers. The C.D.P.A. defines the copyright holder on a film as whoever organized the production (Great Britain 1988 para.11.2). This was taken as being the Producer of the work until 1994, when it was clarified as being the Director (Kretschmer et al. 2009 p.5).

The director is the author of an arrangement of other copyright elements – the story, script, music, actors, etc. Each person who contributes creatively to a film has a claim to copyright over their element, which will be recognized in their individual contract. An actor will be perceived as contributing more as their performance is covered under copyright law than, say, the grip – whose contribution is one of skill.

The right exists to grant licenses for the use of music in this work, dependant on the context (Great Britain 1988 para.11.2). Licenses are often granted for limited purpose and on a limited duration, so it may run out after a number of years, meaning that it will need to be re-negotiated or replaced if the work is to continue to be distributed. If an alternative use for the music is also wanted (for example, a soundtrack) that will need to be negotiated separately.

Copyright infringement also depends on the country where the infringement takes place. This is illustrated well by the case of Lucasfilm Ltd & Ors V Ainsworth & Anor [2008]. Justice Mann ruled that no infringement had taken place under UK law by Mr Ainsworth replicating ‘Storm trooper Helmets’ as used in the film ‘Star Wars’. While Lucas claimed an artistic copyright infringement (upheld in U.S. Law), the ruling stated that the manufacture of the design was not artistic and was therefore out of copyright under UK Law. He further ruled that the UK courts would only uphold UK Law as the country of Infringement. (Mann 2010).

One of the factors making the application of copyright Law more complex is, obviously, the Internet. While making distribution easier and bringing down national boundaries, it also brings those creations that infringe to the attention of the copyright holder, as well as enabling action to be taken. It has made it not only easier to break copyright law, but far easier to police it as well. Every action on a computer is recorded and logged.

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