The world of television entertainment thrives on soaps and serials. Now, the emerging trend of web series has filled the gap between your living room and a movie hall. All one needs is a mobile phone, a tablet or a laptop with an internet connection. They can be watched anytime anywhere. Do the rules of Intellectual Property play any role here? The answer is Yes! Like any movie or a television series, trademark registration is an inevitable criterion for a web series telecast.
What is Intellectual Property Rights?
According to WTO(World Trade Organization), Intellectual property rights are the rights given to a person over the creations of their mind. They give the creator an exclusive right over the use of their creation for a certain period of time.
A patent is the form of right given by the government to the creator over his or her creation. This prevents others from using or selling a specific creation without the knowledge of the creator. Copyright is the exclusive right given to a creator to recreate an original work for a limited period of time.
The Captain Of The Ship: The Producer
A web series is a complex and collaborative venture commandeered by the producer. It has many layers of work like production, music, actors, direction, etc. Each layer has a different set of rights and all these have to be licensed, documented and transferred properly so that the producer can acquire funds to produce the series . A producer is like the captain of a ship. Without him the journey becomes aimless. Throughout the process, the producer will be negotiating terms with various creators and their products on how they will be used and remunerated. These agreements are governed by copyright law and contract law.
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Securing The Suitable Script
The producer embarks on a quest to find a perfect script that is ready to shoot. The script need not be a new one. It can be an adaptation of a novel, a book, a play or a biography. Then comes the screenwriter to write the screenplay. The script itself is considered an original work and should be IP rights attached. The screenwriter is required to make a blueprint of the story. The story will have many episodes and each episode will have a different plot. The screen writer is considered the creator of the particular series . So securing patent rights is mandatory.
The Team Takes Shape. Let The Journey Begin
Once the script is finalised, the equipment is hired. Along come the technicians and the cast. The props, lights and attires are also acquired. The budget of the series plays a major role in choosing all these accessories. If the budget is good, then advanced technology can come into play. If the series is of a lower budget, then the quality and configuration of every equipment differs. This criteria defines the expertise of the technicians who will be working on them. Each technician will be contributing a different skill set and service. So every service rendered will have to be copyrighted and documented and transferred to them. This will define their payment and other benefits.
The director will decide the pattern of the series according to his convenience. He will either shoot the entire series at one stretch or just shoot an episode, edit it, release it and come back to do the whole process over and over again. It is mandatory to get the timelines correct and deadlines understood. These factors should also be considered while drawing up the contract.
Now that the series is ready to be viewed, releasing a teaser will invoke expectations and curiosity about the series. The teaser should have an array of scenes just enough to give a sneak peak but not too much. Choosing the online television to promote the series is another task. With a number of options available locally and internationally, it is very important that all the copyright and patent documents are in order and highly detailed so that no work or service is left out. Advertising on social media is another important aspect of distribution. Advertising the series as much as one can is necessary so that all the hard work and effort which went into the making gets recognised and rewarded.