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Copyright for the Freelance Artist Pt 2: 3 Types Contract Agreement

The 3 Basic Types of Agreement for Artist Freelancers by Lee Morin, Esq. Articles related to Copyright for the Freelance Artist series may be found here: Part 1: Copyright Basics (The 101) Part 2: 3 Types of Employment Agreements Part 3: Copyright Infringement and Defenses  Part 4: A Case Study of Momocon THE IMPORTANCE OF EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS: The Case of Jack Kirby and Marvel Comics Whether you transfer ownership of or merely grant permission to use the exclusive rights to your work depends on the contract agreements in place.  Heated debates have arisen where it concerns agreements between freelance artists and publishers that allowed publishers to exploit characters in the comic book industry. Motion picture adaptations of literary superheroes are an example of derivative works, which provide the film industry with some of the highest earning films of late, grossing more than 15 billion dollars for Marvel, now Disney, since 2000 [11] .  Because copyright law provides that freelancers can terminate transfers of ownership in the exclusive rights to their work [12] , heirs of freelance artist Jack Kirby sued Marvel to reclaim rights to characters Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Spider Man, Thor, and X-Men [13] . Marvel argued that Kirby produced work as made for hire not subject to termination; thus, Marvel was author and owner; neither Kirby nor his heirs had any claim.  The heirs insisted that Kirby had not irrevocably transferred his rights to Marvel, rather that the transfer was subject to termination after 56 years [14] . After petitioning the Supreme Court for certiorari, parties settled their dispute on confidential terms [15] .  Whether freelance...

Copyright for the Freelance Artist Pt 1: Copyright Basics

So today we have an awesome guest blogger Lee Morin, an Entertainment Lawyer here to shed some light about things that artists might not know but probably should, especially if they are freelancing or considering doing so. One of these things that people might be familiar with but not in details have to do with the issue of copyright in art and adaptations. While something we are all probably familiar with at a basic level, here’s some useful information that might get artists more familiar with a bit more than just the definition and a bit of how copyright is important especially to artists. * This guest blog post was written by Lee Morin, Esq.   OF COPYRIGHT, CONTRACTS, AND FAN ART If you are reading this blog, words like “manga,” “cosplay,” or “doujinshi,” may seem ordinary.  To the uninitiated, these words are foreign; but, if you have heard of Pokémon, or Dragon Ball Z, then you know “manga”[1].  My first encounter with manga was the film adaptation of Akira, and later with Ghost in the Shell, whose soundtrack is as haunting as its subject matter.  Following in the footsteps of the crossover tradition was the epic film adaptation, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, from the successful media franchise Final Fantasy, which, “centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games, but includes motion pictures, anime, printed media, and other merchandise [2].” The film adaptation of Final Fantasy was the first photorealistic computer animated feature film, and most expensive to produce at $137 million with a staff of 200 at 960 workstations rendering 141,964 frames over a span of...

42nd Annual Annie Awards 2015 – ASIFA Hollywood Winners Results

Every year there is the Superbowl, Oscars Award, and plenty of different prestigious Award Shows on the road. For Animation, one of the most esteemed of these award ceremony is the Annie Awards held by ASIFA-Hollywood recognizing achievements in the animation field- both in animated shorts/ animation TV production/ and features. Personally, I was rooting for The Lego Movie, Song of the Sea, Damkeeper, Feast, Over the Garden Wall, and ARCHER. Who did you cheer for? The results are in this year and the winners of each categories are: CURRENT Results from the 42nd Annie Awards Best Animated Feature  How to Train Your Dragon 2 – DreamWorks Animation SKG JURIED AWARDS June Foray Award Charles Solomon Ub Iwerks Award Dreamworks Animation’s Apollo Software Winsor McCay Award Didier Brunner, Don Lusk and Lee Mendelson Special Achievement Awards Walt Disney Family Museum   Production Categories Best Student Film  “My Big Brother” by Jason Rayner (Savannah College of Art & Design-SCAD) Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Joaquim Dos Santos – Legend of Korra – Nickelodeon Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Truong “Tron” Son Mai – How to Train Your Dragon 2
 – DreamWorks Animation SKG Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Illya Owens – Disney Mickey Mouse
 – Disney Television Animation Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated Feature ProductionJohn K. Carr – How to Train Your Dragon 2 – DreamWorks Animation SKG Best Animated Video Game Valiant Hearts: The Great War – Ubisoft Montpellier Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Benjamin Balistreri – Wander Over Yonder 
-  Disney Television Animation Outstanding Achievement, Character...

Animating on the Go: So you want to shoot a live stop-motion

While a lot of animation is done sitting down either in a dedicated studio space or at home, there are also times, especially for stop motion animators, that you might have to step out into the physical world to capture raw footage or animate on location. Such was the case with animation and Animation Chair and seasoned film festival veteran Matthew Maloney and motion media specialist and professor Christina Maloney of Savannah of College and Art and Design-Atlanta. (Their other beautifully crafted stop motion animation “The Anchorite” premiered at Cannes in 2009.) While in theory, this may seem as simple as grabbing a camera and running outside to start shooting, the physical world deals with weather conditions, unexpected passerby reactions, and uncontrollable variables. This past winter break, they were in Hong Kong with their puppets shooting live in the mountains, on the beach, the metro of Kowloon, and on the streets in the bustling crowd of passerby for their new animation Loon. With this, they came up with some tips for those that might be interested not just in stop motion but perhaps even live action sequences that requires shooting on the streets. 1. Secure Your Equipment Not just stop motion pieces or props are probe to damage or being stolen but expensive equipment used for the shoot such as cameras, laptop, tripod are susceptible during a mobile shoot. While shooting on the street, the Maloneys created a laptop cage by repurposing an old shoe rack he bought for around $3 and locked it to the ground and then locked the tripod to it. Now it’s safer from being stolen or being bumped into during...

The Bigger Picture: Daisy and Chris’ Next Big Move

As it so happens one lazy afternoon as I was browsing my inbox, I was surprised to see an email from Daisy Jacobs and Chris Wilder telling me they’ve read my blog. For those of you who are not familiar with their work, you probably wouldn’t rationalize with my excitement of running around the living room in my pajamas doing this… As an avid stop motion fan, the first time I saw  the well deserved Oscar-nominated animated short “The Bigger Picture”, I was captured by the unique technique of blending live size 2.5D and 3D elements. Currently, Daisy and Chris are now in the process of campaigning for their next upcoming larger-than-life animation. As it is, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and commend the efforts of independent artists. As an artist, I know fully well the efforts that goes into creating your own original pieces. It is a labor of passion and one that is a time investment often with cost involved. While there is still the idea that if art is passion, it should be free but the reality is artists also have to eat, pay rent, and function in the world as any other field of occupation. So to artists that are doing their own thing to carry out their creative vision is always a refreshing site to see and has my support and admiration. Their Next Project Now not much has been revealed about the upcoming animation Daisy and Chris has planned for yet but here are some sneak previews of images and animated gif that is sure to thrill and delight. Just looking at the lovely...