Why Filmmakers Should Be Cautious of Festival Licensing

 

Steven C. Beer pic

Steven C. Beer
Image: filmfestivals.com

A graduate of Villanova Law School, Steven C. Beer is an entertainment attorney and author of a book entitled Your Child’s Career in Music and Entertainment: The Prudent Parent’s Guide. Steven C. Beer’s work as an author extends to his current position as a legal contributor to Documentary Magazine, in which he recently highlighted the risks filmmakers take when they procure festival licensing rather than full licensing for songs in a film.

A festival license for a song included in a documentary film is much more affordable than a full license, but the end result of failing to fully license a song may have far-reaching consequences. When a documentary screens at a major festival and receives a positive response, distributors may express a desire to purchase the film under the condition that the film is delivery-ready, meaning that the creator of the film has secured the rights to use all songs included in the score.

Considering that a well-placed song has the potential to make or break the creative atmosphere of a scene, a film without full licensing may signal to a distributor that the costs associated with procuring the film as it was shown at the festival may be too high, and may reduce a distributor’s interest in purchasing the film. Furthermore, in the event that a film is picked up by a distributor, the additional cost of full licensing after an initial investment in licensing for the festival incurs a much higher cost than simply purchasing the full rights to a song in the first place.

Learn more about music licensing in documentary films by reading the full article at http://www.documentary.org/column/legal-faq-facing-music.

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Steven C. Beer Interviewed at the 2016 AFM Event

 

Steven C. Beer pic

Steven C. Beer
Image: filmfestivals.com

Steven C. Beer is an accomplished entertainment lawyer who has served as a partner in the New York City law firm of Franklin Weinrib Rudell and Vassallo since 2012. As part of his professional activities, Steven Beer regularly attends major film festivals and industry gatherings such as Cannes, Sundance, and the American Film Market & Conferences.

The largest motion picture trade fair in the world, the American Film Market (AFM) & Conferences takes pace each fall in Santa Monica, California. At the 2016 AFM event, Vanessa McMahon interviewed Steven Beer for publication in the official AFM newsletter and on the official AFM website. The Beer interview detailed his considerable experience as both a practicing entertainment industry attorney and a published author.

Over the course of the interview. Mr. Beer touched on the roles he has played in the career cultivation of major stars such as Lady GaGa and Taylor Swift. He also offered advice to the next generation of undiscovered talent, telling aspiring entertainers to view themselves as entrepreneurs as well as performers and artists.