Understand:

Contractual, legal and ethical
obligations in the television and film industries:

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Contracts: types of contract;
confidentiality; exclusivity

Employment
legislation: health
and safety; equal opportunities; Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006;
employer’s liability; employee rights; belonging to a trade union; intellectual
property: copyright;
trademarks; other forms of intellectual property; passing off

Ethical: codes
of practice; policies and procedures; emerging social concerns and
expectations; representation, eg individuals, groups, religions, issues

Legal: Race
Relations Act 1976 (and later amendments); Broadcasting Act 1990 (and later
amendments); Obscene Publications Act 1959 (and later amendments); British
Board of Film Classification (BBFC); Ofcom

 

 

CONFIDENTIALITY CONTRACTS

Confidentiality contracts, also known as a confidentiality
agreement or non-disclosure agreement, is simple a contract between two or more
parties where the subject of the agreement is a promise that information
conveyed will be maintained in secrecy. These agreements can be mutual
agreements where both parties are obligated to main secrecy, or they can be
unilateral agreements where only the receiving party becomes obligated to
maintain secrecy.

Within the television and film industry
confidentiality agreements are used to prevent any plot lines, characters or
titles being released to the public or stolen by other filmmakers. Some
projects are to top secret that they are ‘Untitled’ and the actors do not
receive any information to prepare until they arrive at the casting office to
sign the contract. These contracts are often drawn up between a film company
and their publishing company or a television studio and the actors hired. If
any information about a project was released to the public this could
jeopardise the whole production as the film or Television Company could lose
the rights to the idea as well as all the money that they invested in the
production. Even something as minute as revealing a cast member to a friend or
family member can throw the entire casting process into a spin. Especially if actors
have not yet been signed to the project or if filmmakers decide they no longer
want a particular actor.

Breaking the confidentiality agreement by
revealing an actor linked to a project is the number one reason why actors get
dropped from projects. If the contract is violated it can be actionable in a
court of law and if a party is found to have broken the agreement, then they
will have to pay compensation to the other party. In previous cases crewmembers
have been sued for £100 million for breaking confidentiality agreements with
major film companies.

 

 

 

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Intellectual property refers to the creations
of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works like designs,
symbols, names and images used in commerce. In short, intellectual property is
something unique that you physically create. An idea alone is not intellectual
property. For example, an idea for a book doesn’t count, but the words you’ve
written do.

Intellectual property can be protected in law
by patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition
or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By finding the right
balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the
intellectual system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and
innovation can flourish.

iPhone applications are a good example, as the
developer can file a patent on the app which will protect it from being stolen
and will ensure the developer earns the correct revenue for their app.
Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that the creators have
over their distribution of their work. Copyright can be used in all fields of
intellectual property and will secure the creation from plagiarism or theft.

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an
invention that provides the patent owner with the right to decide how or for
what means the invention can be used. A patent protects BBC iPlayer so the
owners of the BBC can determine how they want their site to be used and the
public are aware the site is an official creation from the BBC and not a knock
off site.

Trademarks establish the goods of a service of
one enterprise from others. These protection avenues need to be applied for
through the government, which takes an average of 4 months. If an intellectual
property infringement occurs it is the owner’s responsibility to defend their
creation. The owner can come to an agreement with the party by licensing the intellectual
property, use alternative dispute resolution or take legal action by suing the
party. But dispute resolution must’ve occurred prior to taking legal action.
For example, in 2016 when Immersion Corporation sued HTC Corporation for their
design patent it was HTC’s responsibility to handle the lawsuit.

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Health and safety is a legal set of rules and
regulations that protect the workers at any company in United Kingdom. The
Health and Safety Act was enforced in 1974 and now acts as a primary piece of
legislation covering occupational roles in the UK. The legislation applies to
all employees and employers whether it is part, full or unpaid work. This act
is essential within the television and film industry as there are a multitude
of problems that can arise in this industry’s working environment. For example,
stunt workers can occasionally risk their lives for the production of a film
and the production company involved must take all the necessary requirements to
ensure their safety by having doctors on set, making sure the stunt worker
knows what they must do and check that the set is safe. Companies must also
complete all the necessary pre-production health and safety work, such as a
risk assessment and a health and safety report as these documents focus on
potential risks and hazards on set and identifies ways to neutralize them. IV.
ETHICAL ISSUES Ethics are the moral principles that define how a person acts.
Ethical obligations and considerations are a list of rules and paperwork that
needs to be completed in order to work in the film and television industry.
Ethical obligations range from scandals to protecting children from
inappropriate content to character and place representation. Representation
focuses on how gender, age, ethnicity and places are shown on television and in
movies. Representation is often considered when creating a film or programme as
a director or producer will consider how a person should act to display a
representation of the character they are playing. BBC has a representations
policy to prevent stereotyping. As the BBC is widely accessible to the nation,
they have a responsibility to display ethically correct content otherwise it
may offend or promote poor behavior to viewers. Discrimination is a big issue
during the hiring process in the television and film industry. It is reported
that only 50% of working age and willing disabled people can get a job,
compared to 95% employment rate of nondisabled people. In the television and
film industry, production companies have to make sure their cast and crew is
diverse in terms of age, gender, ethnicity and ability to ensure they are not
stereotyping or discriminating potential candidates in the hiring process.
Codes of practice are important in the television and film industry as they
show how vital issues are. Policies support effective decision making as they
provide rules on what people can and can’t do, what decisions they make and
what activities they represent are appropriate. V. BBFC The British board of
Film Classification (BBFC) is an independent non-governmental body that has
classified cinema films since 1912 and videos since 1984. Their aims are to
protect children and other vulnerable groups from harm through legally
enforceable classification decisions and education. They are accountable to parliament,
so this means that the government do not control or fund the BBFC but can vouch
that they are helping to protect vulnerable groups of people from seeing or
hearing things through the means of films or games. The BBCF classification
applies to all moving picture contents for showing on DVD or in cinema and does
not apply to television. The BBFC regulates films by giving them a rating of U,
PG, 12/12A, 15 or 18. Films are graded for the ratings by considering all the
aspects in the film. A film with the rating of U should be a positive story
with no reference to illegal drugs and include minimal violence. If violence is
present then any weapons should be unrealistic or hard to acquire. The only
sexual behavior present should be kissing and the only allowed reference should
be ‘making love’. A film with the rating of PG should not disturb a child aged
eight or older. There should only be mild bad language and sexual activity can
be implied but only infrequently. Violence is allowed but cannot be shown in
detail. 12/12A films are suitable for children over the age of 12. Drug misuse
must be in infrequent and cannot be given in detail and any suicide or
self-harming should not be given in detail because it could be copied. Stronger
language and nudity is allowed but should be infrequent and appropriate for
young teenagers to watch and hear. A film rated 15 is appropriate for children
over the age of 15. It can include violence, and language and sexual activity
but the film should not focus on it as the main picture. Films rated 18 are
suitable for 18 year olds and over. The content will be ‘In line with the
consistent findings of the BBFC’s public consultations and The Human Rights Act
1998, at ’18’ the BBFC’s guideline concerns will not normally override the
principle that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment’. But
the exceptions is anything that breaches the law or if it could affect behavior
in society. If the guidelines are broken the minor can be banned from the
cinema chain as breaking these ratings can lead to serious crimes. Many young
viewers have tried to reenact horror films or action stunts not realizing the
consequences and have paid with someone’s live. These guidelines have been put
in place to protect young viewers from being corrupted by media that is
inappropriate to see whilst they are still young.