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The Pixel Lab 2011-Christoph Fey: Format Protection, Copyright & Public Domain


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The Pixel Lab 2011-Christoph Fey: Format Protection, Copyright & Public Domain

  2. 4. MY IDEA, MY CONCEPT, MY FORMAT <ul><li>IDEA </li></ul><ul><li>CONCEPT </li></ul><ul><li>FORMAT </li></ul>
  3. 5. BIBLE ?
  5. 7. Format Tape
  6. 10. 360° ?
  7. 15. WHAT IS A “ FORMAT ” ANYWAY ? <ul><li>The word “ format ” cannot be found in any law code. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can it be a valid copyright protected work that can be owned by its creators and protected against copying? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 1990, a bill was proposed in the UK Parliament to create a “ format right ” – but it was defeated. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I can ’ t define it - but I ’ ll know it when I see it ” . Justice Potter Stewart, US Supreme Court (1973) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you don ’ t know what your “ format ” is, then how can anyone else possibly know? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 16. IS IT YOURS ? <ul><li>There are only three ways to obtain a format: </li></ul><ul><li>CREATING IT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating it alone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating it with someone else </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hiring someone else to create it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BUYING IT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Buying the idea </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buying the concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buying the pilot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buying the bible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>STEALING IT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Copying it and calling it your own </li></ul></ul>
  9. 17. IT IS EASY TO STEAL <ul><ul><li>Why buy it when one can steal it ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PITCHING IT When you pitch it, you must disclose it. No pitch, no deal. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RELEASING IT Confidentiality ends as soon as it is released into the public. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 18. PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW OF CONTRACTS <ul><li>Can I own my ideas ? </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright law does not protect ideas – but ideas can be the subject of a contract. </li></ul><ul><li>Is there an express contract in writing – if only for the sake of creating evidence ? </li></ul><ul><li>NON-DISCLOSURE SUBMISSION RELEASE </li></ul><ul><li>Is there an implied contract indicated by the conduct of the parties rather than by their words ? </li></ul>
  11. 19. IDEA SUBMISSION DISPUTES <ul><li>Questions you need to ask: </li></ul><ul><li>Is it really your idea ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is your idea the kind of original idea with a commercial value that has to be paid for ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there some action – more than just the submission of that idea – that has created a business relationship with the recipient ? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you conditioned the disclosure upon the recipients ’ agreement to pay for the use of your idea – before you submitted your idea to the recipient ? </li></ul>
  12. 20. IDEA SUBMISSION DISPUTES <ul><li>Questions you need to ask: </li></ul><ul><li>Has the recipient voluntarily accepted the submission on those terms and thereby implicitly agreed to pay for the use of your idea ? </li></ul><ul><li>Has your idea been used by the recipient in such a way that it would deny you the ability to make money from your own use of that idea ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the ultimate use by the recipient substantially similar to your submitted idea ? </li></ul>
  14. 22. COPYRIGHT – OR RIGHT TO COPY ? <ul><li>Copyright is to be seen as an exception to the rule: </li></ul><ul><li>FREEDOM OF ENTERPRISE </li></ul><ul><li>FREEDOM OF COMPETITION </li></ul><ul><li>RIGHT TO COPY </li></ul>
  15. 23. PUBLIC DOMAIN <ul><li>What cannot be monopolised by copyright ? </li></ul><ul><li>One is free to use: </li></ul><ul><li>Facts </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Themes </li></ul><ul><li>Creation methods – such as style and technique </li></ul><ul><li>Old works for which copyright has expired </li></ul>
  16. 24. COPYRIGHT PROTECTED WORK <ul><li>Can it be a valid copyright protected work ? </li></ul><ul><li>The essential requirement for copyright protection is </li></ul><ul><li>EXPRESSION OF ORIGINALITY </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it sufficiently expressed in a perceptible form ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it sufficiently original ? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 25. IS THERE COPYRIGHT IN THE FORMAT ? <ul><li>Is there copyright in component parts of the production package ? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>scripts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>visual graphics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>set designs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>musical compositions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sound recordings </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>film clips </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>computer programmes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Is there copyright in the underlying formula itself ? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>plot devices </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>story lines </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>story characters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>game rules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>sequence of events </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 26. IS THERE COPYRIGHT IN THE FORMAT ? <ul><li>Questions you need to ask: </li></ul><ul><li>Is it highly improvised – or is the underlying formula strongly delineated and thoroughly elaborated ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a script ? </li></ul><ul><li>Over which events does the creator have control – and what events are beyond the control of the creator and thus a true product of chance ? </li></ul><ul><li>Which scenes necessarily result from the choice of a general idea, theme, setting or situation ? </li></ul><ul><li>Which scenes are predetermined by necessity, practicability, function or logic ? </li></ul>
  19. 27. IS THERE COPYRIGHT IN THE FORMAT ? <ul><li>Questions you need to ask: </li></ul><ul><li>Is the format stereotypical – or is there a unique twist providing for originality ? </li></ul><ul><li>If so, what are the characteristics that form the unique fingerprint of original expression ? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there original game rules ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there original plot devices, story lines, story characters ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there an original selection and combination of elements ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there a distinct concept, tone and feel ? </li></ul></ul>
  20. 28. IS THERE AN INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT ? <ul><li>Not all copying is copyright infringement as copyright extends only to those components of a work that are original. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is copied ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are the copied items protected by copyright ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the copyright protected expression of originality copied to such an extent that there is substantial similarity ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there a defence of fair use ? </li></ul></ul>
  21. 29. PROPORTIONATE JUSTICE <ul><li>Where the act of creation has led to a work that is a novel creation, copyright will be treated as relatively “ thick ” . </li></ul><ul><li>Where the act of creation is minor – as in the adaptation or compilation of earlier work – copyright will be treated as comparatively “ thin ” . </li></ul><ul><li>The greater the originality, the “ thicker ” the protection. The lesser the originality, the “ thinner ” the protection. </li></ul><ul><li>The “ thinner ” the protection, the greater the similarities must be. </li></ul><ul><li>When is close too close ? </li></ul>
  22. 30. SUBSTANTIAL SIMILARITY <ul><li>Focus on the similarities ! No copier may defend an act of copying by pointing out how much of the original he has not pirated. </li></ul><ul><li>Inevitable similarities do not constitute an infringement of copyright. </li></ul><ul><li>Unlawful copying must be substantial. </li></ul><ul><li>If there is substantial similarity – and such substantial similarity comes from the copying of items that are protected by copyright – then there is copyright infringement. </li></ul>
  23. 32. UNJUST ENRICHMENT ? <ul><li>“ He who reaps where he has not sown” </li></ul>
  24. 33. PROTECTION OUTSIDE OF COPYRIGHT LAW <ul><li>How can it be protected if it is not protected by copyright ? </li></ul><ul><li>THE LAW OF BREACH OF CONFIDENCE </li></ul><ul><li>THE LAW OF PASSING OFF </li></ul><ul><li>THE LAW OF UNFAIR COMPETITION </li></ul>
  25. 35. CREATIVE COMMONS ? <ul><li>SHARE, REMIX, REUSE - LEGALLY </li></ul>
  26. 37. HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF <ul><li>Write it down, the more detailed the better </li></ul><ul><li>Number and date all creative material, name the creators and include a copyright notice ( ©) </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a diary and record minutes of all development meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Save all your drafts – new over old </li></ul><ul><li>Register your creative material </li></ul><ul><li>Keep sensitive information confidential </li></ul><ul><li>Mark all material as “ confidential ” to indicate that it is disclosed under an obligation of confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a copy file of all material that has been submitted while noting the recipient and the date </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a diary and record minutes of all pitch and sales meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Follow up your meetings with written notes sent by mail or e-mail to create a communication “ paper-trail ” </li></ul><ul><li>Sign exclusive know-how and talent deals </li></ul><ul><li>Make a pilot </li></ul><ul><li>Select a domain name and set up a website </li></ul><ul><li>Register the title and logo for trademark protection </li></ul>
  27. 39. WE ‘VE BEEN HERE BEFORE … Increasing demand leads to copycats Market becomes saturated Concept disappears for a while Absence creates need New successful concept is launched
  28. 40. KNOW YOUR FORMAT <ul><li>Is it yours ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it original ? </li></ul><ul><li>Can it be protected ? </li></ul><ul><li>Can it be made within a reasonable production budget ? </li></ul><ul><li>Can it make its money from volume ? </li></ul><ul><li>Can it be repeated, adapted and remade ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it scalable ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it transferable ? </li></ul>
  29. 42. NEGOTIATING THE DEAL <ul><li>KNOW YOURSELF </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about what you need. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider what will happen to you if no deal is struck. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about your alternatives to a negotiated agreement. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess your reservation price for each round of negotiations. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>KNOW YOUR ADVERSARIES </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider what will happen to them if no deal is struck. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about their alternatives. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Investigate how they have negotiated in the past. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about what the buyer wants. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think carefully about what the buyer ’ s tactics may be. </li></ul></ul>
  30. 43. NEGOTIATING THE DEAL <ul><li>KNOW THE MARKET </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know the size of the market. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Investigate what production budgets are paid in this market. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider what rival formats are available on the market. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Map out a strategy for a deal that fits the market. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set different prices for different markets – sub-divided in terms of territory, time, medium and use – to be able to capture the highest return from each market. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>KNOW YOUR DEAL </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you receive an offer, you may accept or reject that offer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When you make a counteroffer, then you have rejected the offer and have yourself made a new offer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep in mind that the deal is not closed until all of the deal points have been agreed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When you reach an agreement, be sure to write it down. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By writing the first draft, you can choose language which reflects your interpretation. </li></ul></ul>
  31. 44. <ul><li>… and don’t tell everyone how well you’ve done. </li></ul>
  32. 46. <ul><li>Christoph Fey </li></ul><ul><li>Berlin Office: Monbijouplatz 2 · D - 10178 Berlin · Germany </li></ul><ul><li>T +49 (0)30 - 288763-33 </li></ul><ul><li>E [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>W </li></ul>