A Brief Review of Extremely Important Matters: Release Forms, Drones, and Other Miscellany

There's always more news in the legal/arts community than I can ever truly address in a given week. Many are issues that I think are important, but don't justify stand-alone blog posts. So starting today, I will be posting a quick roundup - every Thursday or Friday - of issues and news items that have caught my eye. Here we go!

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My latest Cinema Law column for Moviemaker Magazine is out. It deals with whether or not to get waivers from background people and passers-by when they walk through your shot. I won't give it away here but I will say this: you probably don't need to be as diligent as I used to be back in my early producing days. Head over to Moviemaker Magazine to check it out in full!

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The FAA just announced that it will be partnering with private companies to test out the long term implications of drones in our lives. In one case, they'll work with CNN to test the viability of using drones in populated areas for filming newsworthy stories. Could this be a tacit admission by the FAA that drones are here to stay, but they want to get out in front of it by couching it in a socially acceptable purpose? I think so...

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A lot of people couldn't afford to pay the Pay-Per-View fee to watch the fight of the century between Mayweather and Pacquiao. So instead they watched it stream live through video-streaming apps Periscope and Meerkat. These apps represent the new front in copyright piracy and I think it's only a matter of time before we see the studios and networks trying to take them down. I used to think that these apps were no big deal, but the potential for piracy is so huge that I doubt it'll be long before we start seeing lawsuits and legislation on the matter.

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In the wake of the Blurred Lines verdict, RCA Records added five new writers to "Uptown Funk," the hit song from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. This was done as a preemptive measure to avoid a copyright lawsuit with The Gap Band, whose song "Oops Upside Your Head" appears to have been an inspiration for "Uptown Funk." While the Blurred Lines verdict didn't create legal precedent, it proves that the verdict created a chilling effect in the industry when inspiration is on the line. And that's a damn shame.

Greg Kanaan

The [Legal] Artist, Boston, MA, USA