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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

  1. 2. FORMAT PROTECTION, COPYRIGHT AND PUBLIC DOMAIN RIGHTS AND WRONGS IN THE SEARCH FOR PROTECTION Christoph Fey UNVERZAGT VON HAVE 30. Juni 2011 THE PIXEL LAB 2011
  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 ?
  4. 6. LOVE YOUR BRAND
  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>
  13. 21. PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW OF COPYRIGHT <ul><li>EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY </li></ul><ul><li>FREE ACCESS </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 www.unverzagtvonhave.com </li></ul>

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