Legal Ease: My Title is Their Title - Now What?

From Film Independent

Q: I’m in the process of wrapping up a movie.  I just discovered that the title we’ve been using, and the title I love, was the title of a little known [major studio] film from back in the ’70s.  Can I still use the title?

I believe it was Joe Eszterhas who once wrote “what’s in a name?”  From a legal perspective, what’s usually in a name is a trademark.  Trademark law allows a party to reserve a name for itself for use in connection with particular goods or services.  If I own a company that uses the mark CINCO as a brand of toys, you can’t come around and use that same mark or any confusingly similar mark (like SINCO) for toys because not only would you be making money off of my hard work (by confusing consumers into buying your products thinking they were mine) but you’d be doing harm to the consumers themselves (who would be stuck not with my ingenious creations but with your inevitably crappy ones).  In sum, when you get to issues of whether or not you can call something by a particular name, it’s usually trademark law that comes into play…

"So is it that simple? I can’t use the title because someone else already has and thus must have trademark rights in the name?"  Simple? Of course not.  See, there’s a twist.  Trademarks generally do not protect a singular title of one work…

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2 years ago / 1 notes
Miramax distributes via Facebook

For 30 Facebook credits ($3) you can rent one of the 20 Miramax titles available on Facebook for 30 days, however, the rental period ends 48 hours after you start watching it.  The Miramax movie app can be watched on the iPad and GoogleTV.

The films available are some of Miramax’s top films:


Cold Mountain

Good Will Hunting

No Country for Old Men

Pulp Fiction

3 years ago / 8 notes
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3 years ago / 5 notes
Hulu, Miramax deal means Netflix, Hulu Plus both  add Pulp Fiction and more starting today 3 years ago / 7 notes
IndiePix launches IndiePix Unlimited

Indiepix unlimited, online subscription VOD, will feature unlimited streaming of premiers from Venice, Tribeca, Cannes, and Sundance film festivals.  $7.95/mo (first month free) will get you 200 titles that’s ramping up to 500 by the end of summer.  The LA Times is presenting sponsor and Filmmaker Magazine an affiliate launch sponsor.

Domestic Films

International Films

Short Films

3 years ago / 1 notes
Digital & VOD Distributors

New Video Group

As the world’s largest independent digital video distributor, NEW VIDEO Digital provides over 10,000 hours of film and television from more than 100 trusted brands to download and streaming platforms, including iTunes, Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, Xbox, and Amazon.

e one Television

Entertainment One is a leading international entertainment company that specializes in the acquisition, production and distribution of film and television content.
eOne’s comprehensive network extends around the globe including Canada, the U.S., the UK, Ireland, Benelux, France, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. 
Through established Entertainment and Distribution divisions, the company provides extensive expertise in film distribution, television and music production, kids programming and merchandising and licensing.

Cinetic Rights Management

CRM has built a full suite of services to support filmmakers. Our services include encoding, systematic quality control and a state of the art transcoding and storage infrastructure. We offer transparent transaction and view reporting and real-time access to programming, sales and financial information 24/7 via our custom partner portal.

CRM can ensure your film reaches the widest audience possible by accessing our established distribution network across all leading digital portals and cable providers.

Inception Media Group

Inception Media Group accepts submissions of feature-length, English-language films, as well as a wide range of special interest programming including episodic and classic television, documentaries and cult films.

Premiere Digital Services

Premiere Digital Services encodes, transcode, processes, stores and distributes digital content anywhere in the world. We work with major studios and independent producers. We actively seek new content from around the globe and partnerships with content retail platforms.

3 years ago / 7 notes
Pop Tarts Some States Cut Back Financial Incentives for Hollywood Productions, While Others Look to Pick Up Slack

Hollywood may film even fewer of its movies and TV shows in the United States if cash-strapped states and local governments cut the financial incentives that have been used in recent years to attract productions.

“The state incentives were initially launched to combat runaway production to Canada, so in the beginning it was the U.S. versus Canada,” Jeff Steele, a film finance expert and owner of the entertainment consulting firm Film Closings, Inc. told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “40 states later, it’s devolved into state versus state, with many states trying too hard to outdo each other, and ultimately cannibalizing their own incentive programs.”

Read more here.

3 years ago / 3 notes
3 years ago / 1 notes
Seeking Film Finance? You Get What You Pay For

From 2004-08, there was a flood of new capital that poured into the film industry. 

Most of this money came from institutional investors like hedge funds, private equity firms and investment banks. 

The bulk of that money went to the studios, but when their coffers were full, it trickled down into the independent markets. 

Hundreds of millions of dollars were invested into independent film funds like Grosvenor Park, Aramid, Oceana, Winchester, 120db, Newbridge, Barbarian and many more. 

As competition for viable projects increased, lending practices decreased. Soon, finance plans were looking for films, instead of the other way around.

Some of those funds are still around, but most are not.

More at The Wrap.

3 years ago / 0 notes
Dish outbids Icahn

Dish Network out bid Carl Icahn and others for Blockbuster.  Dish bid $320 million, which includes $228 million in cash.

3 years ago / 1 notes
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“Update: Looks like Illinois extends sunset clause to 10 years”
3 years ago / 0 notes
11 Most Expensive Mistakes Filmmakers Make

1. Wrong Script

2. Your Friends Can’t Act

3. Wrong Budget For The Story

4. Music Rights

5. No Social Media Plan

6. Uncleared Story Rights

7. No Sales Strategy

8. No Festival Strategy

9. No PR Strategy

10. Not Putting Investors First

11. Not Understanding The Market

Read more here.

3 years ago / 1 notes
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Lisa McT
Tracking the media industry: at the intersection of media and technology

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