Copyright Questions

  • Hoffman1030
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I just registered here because I found this website while searching around for some answers to my question, so I'm hoping maybe somebody here can give me some insight on my questions. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I currently operate a website where I post news information on current or upcoming horror movies(Such as when a new image or trailer is released, interviews, etc). The website is a horror blog, you can find it by looking up horror-junkies on Google(I can't post the link for some reason). I've been working on this website and updating it frequently since around 2007. I didn't really think much about if I may be violating any copyright laws until recently while discussing my website with a friend. Obviously for over six years now, I've been updating the website and to this day, I haven't had any movie and/or television companies contact me with any legal issues, but I don't know if that's maybe just because I've been lucky so far. As far as I know, I haven't violated any copyright laws, but that's the problem: I don't know if I am or not.

Other movie news websites, such as Bloody-Disgusting, Dread Central, Screen Rant, Cinema Blend, /Film, and many other major websites post new information daily, sometimes multiple times per day, so I'm sure they don't contact a movie/television company every time they post news about a film or tv show. What I'm wondering is am I breaking any laws, and if so, how would I go about being legal in this, as these other major websites do? How do they acquire the right to be able to post the massive amounts of new information they do, and how do they get permission to upload movie trailers to their Youtube accounts(Something I'd like to start doing)?

I did a bit of reading on the fair use act, and from what I can understand, I believe that I'm not violating any laws. Quoting the U.S. Fair Use Act, it states-

Fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.

If I'm correct, what I am doing, as well as all of the other major movie information websites, is considered reviewing, criticizing, and/or news reporting, but I can't be 100% positive if that's true or not. I've been going mad trying to figure out if I'm legally safe, and if not, how to be able to do what the other websites do. I've called a bunch of major TV and film companies(AMC Network, Warner Bros., Dimension Film, Lionsgate, etc), and they either tell me to e-mail them my website information and then they'll get back to me(Which they haven't yet), or to leave a voice mail and they'll call me back within 5 minutes when the proper person gets back from lunch/meeting/whatever(Which, again, they don't).

If somebody could help me with this, I'd be really grateful. This is a huge hobby of mine, as I've been doing it for years, and I just want to continue doing this while not getting into any legal issues.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • musik
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I understand wanting to cover your back on this one especially when you want to put time and effort into it.

As long as you keep the stuff you post within the Fair Use requirements you won't get approached by anywhere. The infringements film companies are actively working to remove are the ones where it is blatantly uploading the movie or television show for the purpose of getting around having to pay for it (ie uploading to YouTube in segments one after the other Part 1,2 etc).

Showing clips has never really counted and most people won't get a video pulled - especially since your video blurb will be talking about the movie from a news and reviewing point of view.

To cover yourself you can always do what I have seen loads of people do on YouTube and that is to add that the item is copyright of (insert film company or tv station etc) and no copyright infringement intended.
  • Hoffman1030
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ok, thanks. I'm almost positive what I do does fall under the Fair Use act, but I was just wanting to, as you said, cover my back. My website is gaining a larger audience, and I've started hosting the video clips and/or trailers on my own Youtube channel, rather than just embedding from other news websites(To help drive traffic to my page more than some other website). It seems that I keep getting copyright claims on my videos, but in one instance(With the makers of Paranormal Activity), I disputed the claim, stating that I'm under the Fair Use act and that I'm not using the video for any negative purposes(If anything, I'm doing positive reporting and getting them more attention). Once they read that, they took back their claim. But as I said, I'm not sure how the major film news websites go about copyright issues, so I wanted to check on that. Thanks for the reply by the way.
  • musik
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Most places are happy for the extra attention - its really the ones who are obviously dodgy they don't like and will spend money on going after. If you include a copyright disclaimer like the one suggested the worst they'll do is contact you and ask you to remove it.

Good luck with your site :)
  • Zealous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Just want to agree with Musik on this one, as long as your not breaching any laws your fine just like IMDB. they are information based which is fine as long as it is not confidential data.

When you get your first take down notice that you print and frame on the wall, then you got something to worry about. Try and find a friend that study's law and see if you can get some advice. But from what i see your just fine.

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