Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Permission Seeker’s Guide the Legal Jungle by Joy Butler

Posting for Joy R. Butler, Author of The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through the Legal Jungle: Clearing Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Rights for Entertainment and Media Productions

1 - How did you get interested in the topic that’s featured in your book?First, let me explain the topic. The book is a resource on copyright, licensing, and related legal issues. Specifically, it explains to media producers how to use quotes, music, pictures, and other protected materials in their productions – without running afoul of the law. The process is called “clearing rights” and entails verifying that your media production contains no material that violates the rights of another person or that violates any relevant laws.

As an entertainment and intellectual property law attorney, I regularly help clients clear rights in their media productions. I use the term media production broadly to encompass film, television programs, newspapers, posters, CDs, websites, computer games, photographs, advertisements, and a host of other media through which people communicate.

2 - Tell us a bit about your background. What have you done in the past that relates to your book and that topic?For the past fourteen years, I have been an attorney focusing on entertainment, intellectual property, and business law. Many say there is an artist inside every entertainment attorney. I am no exception. Since elementary school, I have found creative outlets through music, dance, and creative writing.

In my practice, I work with clients developing projects in music, publishing, film, television and new media. Recent projects include representing independent producers of television programming; negotiating literary agency agreements and script sales on behalf of writers; and advising producers on potential liability for copyright, right of publicity, and defamation claims.

3 - What advise would you give to someone who is interested in your topic?Rights clearance is not always straight-forward and can be frustrating. The good news is that media producers have the power to exercise control over the process and minimize their trouble and costs by allowing plenty of time for rights clearance and by remaining flexible throughout the process.

4 - What do you see as the benefit to participating in groups and organizations? My first thought would be networking opportunities and the chance for personal and business growth. What are your reasons?I participate in attorney groups such as the New York State Bar Media Law Committee as well as media-specific groups such as Women in Film and Video and the Women’s National Book Association. The groups offer me a means to stay current on industry trends and to meet people who share my interests.

5 - Who is the ideal person to read your book? If each person that reads this was going to recommend your book to one person, what sort of person would they want to chose?My book is designed to assist media producers facing rights clearance questions. Throughout the book, there are practical guidelines and tips for the permissible and affordable incorporation of other people’s material into a media production. A fifty-page appendix includes sample licensing fees, useful organizations, and model license and permission forms.

6 - What do you think ignites a person’s creativity?Creativity comes from natural talent combined with a desire and/or need to express oneself.

7 - What have you found to be the biggest stumbling block for people who want to start writing?
The biggest stumbling block is not to become intimidated by the enormity of the task.

8 - How would you suggest they can overcome that?I suggest that aspiring writers break each writing project into manageable tasks. When I began writing The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through the Legal Jungle, I did not sit down in front of a blank computer screen and say to myself “I am now going to research and write a 408-page book.” That would have been overwhelming. Instead, I began with an outline and approached each section of the book separately.

9 - What do you find is the biggest motivator for people to succeed? Is it money, security, desire for fame or something else?You have named three of the motivations at the top of the list. Ultimately, the motivating factor depends upon the individual person.

10 - Who is the “perfect” person to read your book?The “perfect” person is anyone who produces, acquires, distributes, or otherwise works with media productions. The book summarizes relevant laws including copyright, trademark, privacy, and defamation and uses numerous illustrative examples from real-life cases. Each chapter is broken up into smaller sections. The reader can use it encyclopedia style for a quick answer to an immediate question. Alternatively, producers can read it cover to cover for a more complete overview of the rights clearance landscape.

11 - Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Don’t drive with your eyes closed!

Failing to clear rights is a gamble for media producers. I analogize the risk of ignoring rights clearance to the risk of driving a car with your eyes closed. If you drive your car with your eyes closed for twenty seconds, you might get through the experience without damaging any property or injuring yourself. But what if you drive with your eyes closed on a regular basis. You make entire road trips this way. Sooner or later, you are going to crash. It is the same scenario for rights clearance. If you produce on a regular basis and you ignore rights issues, there will eventually be consequences.

Readers can find additional information about The Permission Seeker’s Guide the Legal Jungle: Clearing Copyrights, Trademarks and Other Rights for Entertainment and Media Productions at For more information about Joy Butler’s law firm practice, visit

MORE DETAILS: Authored by Joy R. Butler, Published by Sashay Communications, ISBN: 978-0-9672940-1-8, 408 pages, paperback, trim size 5.5 x 8.5, $19.95. Available at bookstores and from the publisher via the website or via toll-free order at 877-995-8645.

No comments: