Jessica Rosner writes:

>I still feel this whole issue boils down to nervous publishers who are
>afraid to take a risk without signed documentation.

There are several take-a-risk scenarios created by UK copyright law (the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998 as amended 1996).  Firstly, the
criteria it uses to determine the first owner of copyright, secondly the
fact that it permits rights under the act to be sold, given away or
bequeathed just like any other commodity BUT subject to certain provisions
in company law and thirdly the period of copyright subsistence can be
unclear in many circumstances (basically it's 70 years UNLESS one or more
conditions apply) all combine to mean that in the case of some films in our
holdings, we don't know and it would be near-impossible to ascertain if
copyright subsists at all and if so who owns it.

In such cases we may release material for commercial use against an
indemnity clause in the contract.  Our standard clause is as follows:

>The Producer shall keep the Archive fully and effectually indemnified
>against all actions, proceedings, claims and demands what may be made
>against or upon the Archive in respect of:
>a.      any infringement of the copyright material or any other right to
>use the same, and
>b.      the defamation or alleged defamation of any person or persons, or
>of his or their property, or the infringement of any patent rights or
>common law or other rights by reason of the use of the material in the
>production, and also against all costs, damages, liabilities and expenses
>which the Archive may incur in resisting, opposing, compromising or
>settling any such claims, and nothing hereinbefore contained shall prevent
>this indemnity from being fully effective in the case of any claim for
>breach of copyright as a result of any uncertainty on the part of the
>Producer or the Archive as to the person or persons in whom the copyright
>in the material is vested, provided that the Archive shall immediately
>notify the Producer in the event of any such action, claim or demand being
>brought or made against the Archive, and shall give the Producer the
>opportunity of joining with the Archive in opposing such action,
>proceedings, claim or demand.

If they don't sign, they don't get the footage.  It's as simple as that.


Dr. Leo Enticknap
Director, Northern Region Film and Television Archive
School of Arts and Media
University of Teesside
Middlesbrough  TS1 3BA
United Kingdom
Tel. +44-(0)1642 384022
Fax. +44-(0)1642 384099

Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite