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2.5 Film, Video / DVD

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  1. Other relevant issues for films

    1. Copyright in underlying works

      It is important to remember that the screenplay, musical and artistic material incorporated into a film are protected as separate works and will require permission from the relevant copyright owner. For example:

      • if you are using an artistic work in the film and the use is more than incidental to the main action, you should obtain permission from the copyright owner
      • if you are adapting a book into a screenplay, you will need to obtain permission from the copyright owner of the work

    2. Entering films in competitions

      If a student shows their finished film outside the classroom, for example entering into a short film or video competition, they should ensure that they have obtained permission from the relevant copyright owners of the underlying works incorporated into the film. Students often rely on fair dealing for research and study when reproducing musical works and sound recordings on the soundtrack for their film. This exception will not apply where the work is taken out of the classroom or study context and presented to the general public.

    3. Filming school events

      Copyright is not infringed by filming a school event, such as a sports day or fair day.

    4. Filming houses or buildings and public artworks

      The Copyright Act provides a specific exemption for filming houses, buildings and public artworks.

    5. Film titles

      Film titles are generally not protected by copyright, but will generally be protected:

      • as a trade mark if the film title has been registered as a trade mark in the relevant classes with IP Australia
      • at common law under the common law tort of passing off. The law of passing off prevents a person from misrepresenting his or her goods or services as being the goods and services of another or as having some connection to that person which is not true.
      • by the misleading and deceptive conduct provisions of Australian Trade Practices legislation
      • by registration as a domain name and/or a business name

    6. People's images

      There is no copyright in a person's image and in Australia, there is no general law of privacy which prevents people being filmed without their permission. However there are other legal avenues that may be used to protect a person's image, such as trade practices law or defamation. It is good practice to obtain permission from a child's parent/guardian before using their image in a publication.

    7. Playing film, video and/ or DVD in class

      Schools should note that videos and/or DVDs which are commercially purchased are not the same as those purchased under an educational licence. Commercially purchased videos /DVDs may contain restrictive notices or shrink-wrap licences which prohibit showing the film in public. These licence terms may override the Statutory Licence and exceptions.

    8. Moral rights 

      You should always be aware that the creator of a film has moral rights in that work which must be respected.

      See 1.16: Moral Rights

      See FAQs: Film and Video DVD

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