Fan Film, Fan Films

How To Not Violate Copyrights With Your Fan Film

Let’s say you’re making a parody fan film and you decide to produce it in a way that would let you legally release and distribute it so that you could make some money from your hard work. The key would be to make sure you don’t violate anyone else’s copyrights.

You change the characters’ names just so, and come up with a script that gently comments on your intended target, thus making your flick a ‘transformative work’ that would pass a ‘fair use’ test.

But one day, you realize that you have a few elements in the flick that you’re just not quite sure about; they’re pretty old, so they might be in the public domain, but you don’t know if the copyright has expired yet. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a quick way to figure that out? There is.

Every work is different (especially if it’s registered under Creative Commons), but here’s a nice rule of thumb—if you’re dealing with a standard copyright, use the Digital Slide Rule at to instantly find out if a copyright has expired or is still valid.

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