Introduction to Digital Legalities


Introduction to Digital Legalities introduces students to the fundamentals of protecting a wide range of digital intellectual properties, fair use, optioning and securing rights, protecting work online and in emerging platforms, and what happens when a work is stolen.
Students will:

1. Understand how to file a copyright and register their work.

2. Identify limitations of legal protection of media works.

3. Fill out contract boilerplates.

4. Submit media works properly.

5. Define public domain.

6. Use other protected work legally.

7. Use release forms.

8. Use Sync-licensing.

9. Understand and utilize fair use properly.

10. Know the consequences of breaking media laws (pirating, etc.).

11. Demonstrate an understanding of Internet media legal practices.

12. Take an active approach to safeguarding their work.

I. Introduction to digital legalities

A. Importance of law in media

B. The copyright

i. Copyright act of 1976

ii. How to file a copyright

iii. Introduction to fair use

II. Fair use

A. What constitutes fair use?

B. Fair use and the Internet

i. Modifying/using others’ intellectual property

ii. Public domain

C. Manipulation of fair use in the media

III. Protecting yourself and your work

A. Contracts

i. Release forms

ii. Option Deal Memo

iii. Production agreement/completion bond

B. The entertainment attorney

C. Submitting unsolicited work

D. Software licensing

i. Freeware

ii. Shareware

iii. Licensed

iv. Open source

IV. Legal tools

A. Insurance

i. Production, liability, completion bond

ii. E&O

B. WGA registration, certified mail

C. Royalty free

V. How legalities affect the industry

A. Distribution of work


C. Online media

i. YouTube

ii. iTunes

VI. Limitations to media legalities

A. Legalities in foreign countries

i. UK and US music rights

ii. Emerging markets

iii. Cultural concerns

B. So your idea was stolen – Legal action: theory v. industry practice

C. Burden of proof

VII. Law and Order

A. Mock trial

B. The best defense is a good offense - against your own work.