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InvisibleOneMoreRobot3021
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What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into?
    #7325208 - 08/23/07 11:44 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

There's a movie that really affected me, a documentary, about medical marijuana. It's called Waiting to Inhale and it's available for viewing from Google Video - not only can you view it there, but you can download it as well an save it to your computer. I corresponded briefly with the filmmaker, Jed Riffe, telling him how much the movie affected me and how I wish it got wider distribution.

I then asked him if he would be okay with me burning copies of it onto DVD's, setting up a table somewhere in my city and distributing it for free along with pamphlets regarding medical marijuana - NY State's legislature has the issue on the table right now and I'd like to raise awareness in some of the more conservative neighborhoods of NYC.

Anyway, he responded to my e-mails - but he didn't even touch on the questions regarding distribution that I directly addressed to him. This had me scratching my chin. It seems to me that he is sort of giving me the go-ahead, but not explicitly, but rather by omission. I assume that he doesn't care if I do it, but that perhaps the film's distributor would be the ones who have a problem with it. By not telling me "yes" or "no" he sort of absolves himself of any responsibility should a situation arise where the distributor sues me and then somehow subpoena my e-mail or something and see that I contacted him.

I'd really like to do this, I just wonder if copyright laws are something I should be worried about it or if I should just go for it..


--------------------
Acid doesn't give you truths; it builds machines that push the envelope of perception. Whatever revelations came to me then have dissolved like skywriting. All I really know is that those few years saddled me with a faith in the redemptive potential of the imagination which, however flat, stale and unprofitable the world seems to me now, I cannot for the life of me shake.

-Erik Davis


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Offlinegluke bastid
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: OneMoreRobot3021]
    #7325241 - 08/23/07 11:53 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

You are smart to be hesitant about this. I can't give you any specific legal information about what the consequences are for copying and re-distributing copywritten material. But I had a professor in school who was a documentary filmaker and he said it was typically a question of scale. Companies won't usually take notice of you using their material unless you do so on very large scale, or start to make money, or more importantly if they think they can get lots of money out of suing you mercilessly.

I'm pretty sure that the company that owns the film is what you have to watch out for.


--------------------
:hst:
Society in every form is a blessing,
but government at its best is but a necessary evil
 
- Thomas Paine


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InvisibleOneMoreRobot3021
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: gluke bastid]
    #7325268 - 08/23/07 11:59 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I'd probably run off 50 copies at first and see how much interest it garnered. And like I said, I'd give it away for free, not making any money off of it - eating a loss actually by buying the DVD-R's.


--------------------
Acid doesn't give you truths; it builds machines that push the envelope of perception. Whatever revelations came to me then have dissolved like skywriting. All I really know is that those few years saddled me with a faith in the redemptive potential of the imagination which, however flat, stale and unprofitable the world seems to me now, I cannot for the life of me shake.

-Erik Davis


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Offlinenakors_junk_bag
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: OneMoreRobot3021]
    #7325912 - 08/23/07 02:50 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I think perhaps, the idea is dissemination. Maybe you are supposed to do just what you are proposing to do.

Copyright laws are generally only an issue if you profit from the copy and distribution of materials you have no rights to.


--------------------
Asshole


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Offlinewilshire
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: OneMoreRobot3021]
    #7326284 - 08/23/07 04:44 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

I assume that he doesn't care if I do it, but that perhaps the film's distributor would be the ones who have a problem with it. By not telling me "yes" or "no" he sort of absolves himself of any responsibility should a situation arise where the distributor sues me and then somehow subpoena my e-mail or something and see that I contacted him.

correct!

http://sevenlockspublishing.com/Contact_new.htm


--------------------



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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: nakors_junk_bag]
    #7326653 - 08/23/07 06:28 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

nakors_junk_bag said:
Copyright laws are generally only an issue if you profit from the copy and distribution of materials you have no rights to.




False.

He didn't give explicit permission. Don't do it. It may not be his property.


--------------------


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OfflinexFrockx
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: zappaisgod]
    #7327627 - 08/23/07 10:20 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Realistically, I can't see you getting in any serious trouble, just don't appear on the news or anything, stay low key.


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Invisiblejohnm214
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: xFrockx]
    #7327656 - 08/23/07 10:26 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

What this guy said doesn't mean anything. Find out who owns the distribution/reproduction rights, and seek permission. At least if they don't respond, you have that on your side if charges are brought (I asked and the production company didn't respond, but the director said it was ok.)

That said, if the government wants to prosecute you your up shit creek. Even if the rights owners sue you, this looks like willful infringment which has high statutory penalties (meaning no damage needs to be alleged to collect). I believe the stat. penalties are up to 150K per copy- you'll also probably have state law unfair competition and fed/state trademark claims brought (which have their own stat. damages.)

Be careful


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Invisiblejohnm214
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: zappaisgod]
    #7327682 - 08/23/07 10:33 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

zappaisgod said:
Quote:

nakors_junk_bag said:
Quote:

Copyright laws are generally only an issue if you profit from the copy and distribution of materials you have no rights to.




False.

He didn't give explicit permission. Don't do it. It may not be his property.




Zappa is right. Nakors junk bag is wrong- and dumb- imo

While criminal liability may attach only if certain limits are met, you must have some private gain from the reproduction or have produced 1k worth of copyright- 50 videos perhaps?, civil liability exists even if you copy one video.

People are sued for selling software they bought over ebay. Copyright laws provide remedies for any infringment whatsoever, its criminal liability that requires a threshold.

Quote:


§ 506. Criminal offenses
How Current is This?
(a) Criminal Infringement.— Any person who infringes a copyright willfully either—
(1) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or
(2) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000,




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Offlinenakors_junk_bag
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: johnm214]
    #7329307 - 08/24/07 11:23 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

They are giving it away on Google video(or what ever the hell the site is), you can download it, for free. Is it your contention that he faces imminent civil suit, coupled with that of criminal action? Probably not.

I also never said anywhere in my post that it was legal. I merely stated that it generally wasn't an issue when no profit was taken.

Operative word there is generally, fully espousing the possibility of action against a non profiting distribution of copyrighted materials.

So fuck off you, and next time wrap your mind fully around the ideas and statements before your uncomprehending eyes.


--------------------
Asshole


Edited by nakors_junk_bag (08/24/07 11:26 AM)


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OfflineEllis Dee
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: OneMoreRobot3021]
    #7341417 - 08/27/07 07:11 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Unless you have written consent to distribute it without profit it's illegal. Google no doubt has that limited license. You do not.

Realistically, I can't see anyone hassling you over that. Mostly, because they'll never even hear of a piss ant like you. Keep it low key and act like you know what you're doing. No one will question you.


--------------------
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


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Offlinededjam
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #7343852 - 08/28/07 10:17 AM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Give it away, just dont make money off of it.


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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: dedjam]
    #7344534 - 08/28/07 01:45 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Well its also a question of whether or not your actions are causing them to lose money, not just whether or not one is making money off of it.

If nothing else, you could also pass out links to the Google video site. :lol:


--------------------
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Offlinekotik
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: fireworks_god]
    #7344639 - 08/28/07 02:13 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

unless you are selling bootlegs of blockbuster movies (spiderman 3, harry potter, etc.) i dont think there will be a problem.

ive contacted documentary filmmakers before on this same matter, and most are very opposed to it, and will say so.


--------------------
No statements made in any post or message by myself should be construed to mean that I am now, or have ever been, participating in or considering participation in any activities in violation of any local, state, or federal laws. All posts are works of fiction.


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Invisiblejohnm214
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: nakors_junk_bag]
    #7347174 - 08/29/07 05:25 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

nakors_junk_bag said:
They are giving it away on Google video(or what ever the hell the site is), you can download it, for free. Is it your contention that he faces imminent civil suit, coupled with that of criminal action? Probably not.

I also never said anywhere in my post that it was legal. I merely stated that it generally wasn't an issue when no profit was taken.

Operative word there is generally, fully espousing the possibility of action against a non profiting distribution of copyrighted materials.

So fuck off you, and next time wrap your mind fully around the ideas and statements before your uncomprehending eyes.




I shouldn't have said your dumb, sorry.

I do think that the advise you stated gave false impressions.


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Invisiblejohnm214
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Re: What kind of legal trouble could distributing a film get me into? [Re: fireworks_god]
    #7347179 - 08/29/07 05:30 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

fireworks_god said:
Well its also a question of whether or not your actions are causing them to lose money, not just whether or not one is making money off of it.

If nothing else, you could also pass out links to the Google video site. :lol:




Well, they don't need to show damages to win, under the copyright law.  Google, assuming a user posted it- not them, also has safe-harbor protections under the DMCA, something that wouldn't affect you.


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