By Alex Eyengho
Film producers worldwide develop ideas and stories, obtain the necessary legal clearances, secure financing, engage writers, directors and actors, organize principal photography, and employ technicians as well as many other creative contributors.
Producers are engaged in all stages of the creation of the film including development, financing, pre-production activities, principal photography, post-production activities as well as sales and marketing. These are some key positions defended by film producers worldwide.
Suffice it to say at this point that the film producer takes the principal financial risk. While developing, filming, editing and other post-producing, marketing and selling films for distribution are necessary steps in the life cycle of a film, these activities all require that the producer secure upfront financial investment by distributors, financiers and other equity investors. Both investors and the producer thereafter require a secure legal and commercial context.
The worldwide film industry and its significant contributions are at risk. In order to ensure the future of the industry and maintain and grow its economic and cultural benefits, FIAPF has confirmed the following range of Basic Principles, which are relevant to the political and regulatory work of national governments, regional institutions and international organizations:
Creativity and copyright are the pillars of film production and distribution. They are crucial elements for a vibrant worldwide film community and in creating films that the public enjoys. This basic framework must strike a balance between protecting the creator (or defining the creator’s rights) and creating conditions under which the public has access to films.
Film producers consider that copyright is the establishing of legal infrastructure for any film community, generating a strong incentive to develop and create new works and distributing them to the public. Changes to the copyright system require in-depth reflection on potential detrimental impact on the creation, financing, distribution and availability of films, as well as on social, cultural and economic development as a whole.
·The exercise of exclusive rights and contractual freedom is vital for creating, financing and distributing films worldwide.
· Physical and online piracy is theft of the intellectual and private property of right holders, including producers. Piracy weakens the film industry’s ability to continue to create and finance films, and therefore to respond to public demand for content or to contribute to GDP growth and jobs creation.
Governments and the private sector are invited to put in place appropriate measures designed jointly with Nollywood and make the enforcement of such measures a priority. As far as the online access to content is concerned, governments and the private sector are essential partners to foster cooperation with Internet Service Providers to address rampant illegal practices online as well as raising public awareness of the value of copyright-enabled creativity.
· Exceptions / limitations to copyright. Exceptions and limitations are part of the balance built-in to copyright laws. Film producers believe that current practice and case law worldwide demonstrate the flexibility and pragmatism of current copyright laws.
Continues next week.