Do you need the "Copyrights" for all of...



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  • Do you need the "Copyrights" for all of...

    If I'm wanting to write a <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--> comedy spoof<!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> (like Scary Movie, Hot Shots, etc.), would I have to get permission to "steal" (not the right word) all of the particular scenes from the variety of movies that I spoof? ...Or, do I just write the script on "spec" and do it without getting permission, and if it gets requested by producers (after I send out my query letters), would they realize that they are reading scenes that look similar to some scenes that they've seen in other movies?

    Just look at what Scary Movie did (regardless if you like it or not), it had scenes from The Matrix, Sixth Sense, Scream, etc.!

    And look at Hot Shots, it has scenes from Rambo, Dances With Wolves, Rocky, Top Gun, etc.!

    I love these types of movies because COMEDY is my genre.

    Your wonderful, loving help will be so adored and appreciated. 8o

    Ric Clint

  • #2
    Parody is not theft.


    • #3
      Thanks for the response, CRASH!

      So what your saying is that doing a parody, or spoof, is not theft and any unknown writer can do it without having to worry about going to jail and being some big mean man's "love toy"?


      Ric Clint

      Now, for some helpful advice to apply to your life... A personal quote by Ric Clint:

      <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--> Just because a Beautiful lady asks you out to dinner <!--EZCODE BOLD START--> doesn't<!--EZCODE BOLD END--> mean that you're handsome or that she wants to marry you... her plan may actually be that she is a cannibal and she intends to eat you!<!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> :\ :eek :x


      • #4
        It's considered satire, which is a very specific type of writing and to satirize something, you do not need to own rights to it.


        • #5
          Good luck with it, but I have to say that writing a funny spoof is tough.


          • #6
            On this one, I'm sure. (A rarity for me)...

            Having had a comedy cable show that did a lot of satire, I can guarantee that if a scenario is presented as a "spoof" or "send-up," you absolutely don't need permission.

            I've had this tested on me, and I can tell you that, as long as you don't slander a SPECIFIC person (such as making a direct comment about someone's otherwise unrevealed sexual preference), you are completely safe.

            Simply spoofing other films, shows or situations is open territory.

            Good Luck!


            • #7
              I just finished listening to the hit-or-miss directors commentary on "Airplane!". One of the things that I found interesting was that a good portion of the movie is lifted directly from some other airplane movie, but added a funny line at the end, or some other minor change. Despite the fact that they mention the name of the film like 1000 times it slips my mind right now

              Anyhow... they said that the studio bought the rights to the film before producing it. This would seem to indicate that as far as the lawers are concerned - it's a bit of a grey area.


              • #8
                Yelling "parody" does not automatically protect you. I would suggest you buy Clearance and Copyright by Donaldson. It covers this issue in detail.


                • #9
                  Yes, but "parody" does cover you as long as the work is a "parody."

                  In other words, you can't steal word-for-word from another published work, but as long as the material (be it a screenplay, article, skit, etc.) is spoofing another situation or work, it is fair game.

                  I don't believe Ric was talking about taking actual passages from another work, my impression is that he's planning on poking fun at other works. He spoke of "Scary Movie's" satire of "The Matrix." There's no way that anyone involved with "The Matrix" is going to win - or for that matter, bring - a lawsuit against someone for parodying their scene. Everyone involved knows that once you make something public, it is open territory for satire.

                  If this weren't the case, I'd be even poorer than I am, having paid off all the judgements against me.


                  • #10
                    Thanks to all the replies!


                    • #11
                      I don't think Saturday Night Live has had to get permission from the White House for every parody of every Pres. they've ever done.

                      However, there's a guy named Dave Sim, who does a comic named Cerebus. He parodies everybody. Groucho, Mick Jagger, everybody. Never had a real problem with that. But he also liked to take the piss out of established, copyrighted and trademarked comic book characters (the legal name for these is "icons"). Using a character that was known as The Roach, he parodied Batman (in concept/background). although it was clear to the dimmest bulb on the X-Mass tree he was mocking DC comics outright, the slight differences he added to the Roach were DESTINCT enough that DC really could not do/say anything. But then Sim got cocky, and gave The Roach a personalityshift.

                      Like Moon Roach (mockery of Marvel's Moon Knight).

                      Marvel was not going to stand for that, and sent nasty, "we'll rip your nuts off and use them on you like ben wa balls" letters. In other words, Cease and Desist.

                      But Sim just laughed. Why? He knew this: that he'd have to stop using Moon Roach after the first cease and desist letter. But that letter only applied to one, particular parody. Marvel couldn't send a cease and desist on what he MAY do in the future. So that's when he threw the multiple personality in. Moon Roach became Captain-Roach (Captain America). Another letter. Sim laughs louder. He changes Captain Roach to Wolver-Roach. And so on, and so on.

                      But that's a series; Sim has room to breathe and not the investment-concerns of a movie prodco. A cease and desist on a movie is a much bigger issue since it's a singular product.

                      So it's a tight-rope act, Ric.