Working with Copyright–Protected Materials in a Digital Environment






Case Study 8: Film Studio

4/22/04:  Called studio to find out whom to speak to with permissions requests.  I was transferred to a person they thought was appropriate (though they had not had a request quite like ours before) and was given a mailing address to which we could send the package.

4/22/04: Permissions packet sent, note on calendar to follow up 5/5.

5/5/04: Called permissions contact to follow up. He doesn't know yet. We will keep in touch. He thinks there might be a way to handle permission for certain documents for research purposes. I will do some research on the exact nature of the material we have from this studio and get back to him in a few weeks for more discussion.

5/26/04: Spoke to contact again and clarified that what we had was almost all press kits. He said he thought those would be fine, and we will send out another permissions packet including a copy of one of the press kits as an example. He thinks they can sign the form.

5/26/04: Sent package with cover letter.

6/16/04: Called permissions contact. He said he had forwarded the materials to counsel, and is still waiting for an answer. Also, their offices are moving, noted new phone number.

9/10/04: Called new number, and I was told that the original permissions contact no longer worked there. I was told to call new permissions contact (number provided).

I left a voice message for her, and said to call me back or e-mail me with contact info for the previous permissions contact (I wanted to find out from him where things stood when he left the position), or to discuss our case with her.

9/10/04: The new permissions contact person called. She said she would look into it, and she will send me her e-mail address.

9/10/04 : Received an e-mail requesting information about what had transpired in my communication with the previous contact person, and the nature of our project.

12/9/04: Called to speak with current permissions contact person, and was told she is no longer with the company. I was transferred to a new permissions contact person and got his voicemail. I left a message and will try him again next Thursday (marked calendar).

12/10/04:  New permissions contact person called. He said he thinks our permissions file is still in-house, but he would like me to send him an e-mail (contact information provided) with a summary of what we need, etc.

Sent e-mail and marked calendar to follow up after New Year's.

12/15/04: Received an e-mail from (third) permissions contact saying the studio wasn't interested (!).

Sometime after that I received a voicemail message from him saying I should e-mail him a list of distributors who have given permission already.

12/23/04: I e-mailed the permissions contact person a list of distributors I retrieved from CineFiles and marked the ones who've given permission. Made note to contact him on 1/13/05 if I don't hear back from him.

1/3/05: Received an e-mail from permissions contact saying they didn't want to let us display their material. I was further informed that their company had been sold, and the new company would be taking over that part of their operations soon. I was advised that we should contact the new company directly in a few months when the transition was complete.

Needless to say, I have put this one on the back burner, though I may resurrect it in a few weeks by starting the whole process over again at the new company.