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Licensing television and motion picture clips for on-set-playback, entertainment and other commercial uses.

What is the process and what do I need to know? *

A Feature Film or Television Program is a highly encumbered piece of media created under contract and agreement with dozens and even hundreds of parties all contributing their creative services.   All have signed off for the Distribution of a Motion Picture.   None have signed off on using clips in your production. You are "re-purposing" a piece of creative content and in your license agreement the copyright holder will put the onus of determining these obligations and obtaining those additional clearances and permissions to you.

The core obligations for using a clip from USA Motion Pictures 1960 to the present (Universal and UA Films 1948 to present) and nearly all Television Programs* are as follows:

Approach and obtain an approval and quote for the clip you are seeking from its copyright holder/distributor.   Both the approval and fee will be based on your usage, length of the clip and rights requested.
Research and determine any underlying and third party rights (Music/Film Score, Likeness, Publicity Rights, Architecture, Background Artwork, Logos, Trademarks, etc.) that may require additional clearance or consent.
Obtain written consent and negotiate a fee to any credited performer or the estate of that performer if seen or heard in the clip.
Declare and remit a Directors Guild Clip Fee
(see calculator below)
Declare and remit a Writers Guild Clip Fee
(see calculator below)
Why do we have to pay guild fees?

You're paying these because the Studio is a signatory to multiple guilds/unions and ultimately on the hook for any residuals for licensing you a clip.   Your license has passed this obligation on to you.   All guild fees of these nature are designed to be one time, buy out payments.   Your use of the clip in your project as well as the licensor's guild obligations will be satisfied for the life of your project.

The following is a calculator you can use to see the potential fees due and payable with your licensing of a Motion Picture or Television Program Clip.   These fees range dynamically depending on the length and nature of your use and apply to all USA Made Feature Films and Network Television Programs released on or after January 1, 1960.   These rate also apply to many Universal and United Artists films released on or after January 1, 1948.

USD $.00
[mpmp]
USD $.00
[tvmp]
USD $.00
[tvtv]
Totals are the estimated DGA + WGA + Pension, Health and Welfare Contributions when applicable.   These fees are in addition to any license fees payable to the copyright holder and fees negotiated with credited actors/performers who appear or are heard in the clip.

There are many exceptions to these fees and areas where lower fees may be available.   Hire a professional, experienced rights and clearances expert to help you find these savings and do everything possible to mitigate your costs and stay in compliance with your license.

Do Not Wait - You should start your licensing, review and pre-clearances as soon as you know or anticipate the need for your production. The time it takes to complete all steps in this process is dependent on the clip itself, your usage, the number of actors and estates involved and underlying rights, if any.   Some can take months to complete, others can go very quickly in a matter of days.

(*) Disclaimer - USA made films and television.   Nothing contained herein is intended to be legal advice, production advice or made with any warranty to its accuracy or current fitness to be relied upon.  Estimates contained herein are based on USA produced theatrical and television programs and the current rates as published in the Master Basic Agreements of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America as of June 30, 2017.