ProductionNegotiating The Location Agreement
January 9, 2017
When filming on private property, a location agreement is a must. Not only does this agreement protect the production company against claims such as trespass, but will be required when securing distribution and E&O insurance. Every filmmaker should have a good form agreement that is readily available on set (and can be used on different shoots).
Here is a summary of the provisions that are most important to the filmmaker (read: make sure your form includes these clauses).
- Grant of Rights: Through this provision the landowner grants the production company the right to enter upon the property for filming purposes. A filmmaker should ensure the clause contains the following language:
- The use the filmmaker can make of the property.
- That the filmmaker has the right to bring personnel and equipment onto the location suitable for filming needs.
- That the filmmaker has the right to depict the location in the motion picture in any and all media whether now known or hereafter devised for any purpose whatsoever.
- That the filmmaker is under no obligation to use any of the footage of the location in the final cut of the picture, nor is the filmmaker under any obligation to depict the location in any particular manner.
- Access Rights: What are the rights of access being granted? Days of the week? Time of day? What portions of the location can and cannot be accessed by the filmmaker? Everything should be set out in this provision.
- Will the access be exclusive or non-exclusive? If the landowner reserves a right to be on the premises during shooting, make sure such use does not interfere with reasonable needs for quiet on set.
- Identify dates and times of access. Don’t assume 24-hour access unless it is writing.
- Intellectual Property Rights: In this clause the landowner releases any claim it may have to the film or the footage shot at the location and vests sole and exclusive ownership of such property in the filmmaker.
- The clause typically reads something like this: “All right of every kind in and to all film, videotape, stills, and sound recordings (the "Works") made hereunder shall be and remain vested in Producer, its successors, assigns, licenses, and neither the Grantor nor any other party now or hereafter having an interest in the Location shall have any right to the Works or any element thereof; provided, however, that the Works shall not contain any trademarks or other intellectual property owned by any third party without obtaining the prior consent of such third party.”
- Grantor’s Release: In this provision, the landowner agrees to release any potential causes of action against the filmmaker it has or may have in the future.
- Typically, the following claims are specifically disclaimed: libel, defamation, invasion of privacy or right of publicity, trespass, trademark and trade dress infringement, copyright infringement, trespass to chattels, nuisance or violation of any other right arising out of or relating to any utilization of the rights granted in the agreement.
- This provision should also include the landowner’s waiver of any right to equitable relief, including, but not limited to, injunctive relief, arising out of a claim for breach of the agreement or damage or destruction to any of landowner's property.
Stacey Davis is the owner of The Law Firm of Stacey A. Davis, LLC, an entertainment and intellectual property boutique firm, specializing in film, television, music and literary publishing. For more information on the Firm’s services, please visit staceydavislaw.com. You can follow Stacey on Facebook (/staceydavislaw), Twitter (@staceydavislaw) and LinkedIn. You can also reach Stacey at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find her inside the Seed & Spark Filmmaker Box.
The materials contained in this post are general in nature, were prepared for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. It is always wise to consult with a qualified attorney for your own specific legal issues. Transmission of this information is not intended to create and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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