Rights and release forms can be complicated. Hopefully, this explanation will make them easier to understand.
A copyright provides protection for “ideas fixed in a form”—you can copyright a book because it’s been published, or a song because it’s been recorded, or a play because it’s been performed. Typically, photographs, footage, graphics, and published words are protected by copyright. If you wish to include copyrighted material in your program, you must secure the rights to use that material from the owner of the copyright. You will want to do this formally, so that you have a written record that permission has been granted.
When your work (your MiND program, for example) is complete and fixed in a form (that is, edited and completed), it is automatically protected by copyright. For documentation of that protection, you may apply to the U.S. Copyright Office.
Each of us owns the right to determine where and how our image may be used. Typically, a producer requests the right to use a person’s appearance on a television program through the use of a Personal Release Form, or, more commonly, a Release Form.
As a rule, we suggest that MiND producers include only original music. While it is possible to secure the rights to existing music, doing so may be time-consuming and complicated. The rights to the composition must be secured from the composer, or, in some cases, the composers, and if the song has been published, from the music publisher as well. And, if the song has been recorded, rights must be granted by the record label, the recording artist, and sometimes, by the producer of the recording. It is possible to make an original recording of an existing composition, but the composer and music publisher must grant permission to do so—if the music is to be used as part of a project that is distributed for others to enjoy. There are many possible variations.
Release Forms on File:
If your MiND program includes material that belongs to others, you must secure a signed release form for each graphic, each personal apperance, each piece of existing footage, etc. We ask that you keep these signed documents in a safe place for 3 years after submission of your MiND program. Do not send these documents to MiND—unless we specifically request copies (never send originals!).
Copyright Your Work!
For information about copyright law, visit: