Legal aspects of script creation and distribution

Hey guys

This thread seems perfect to continue discussion on scripts copyrights. I’ve created a separate post for SLR Scripts Creator partnership.

It all started with my statement: By becoming the SLR Script creator you get a legal right to script and sell the script on SLR. Without such explicit right obtained from copyright holder you are not allowed to distribute scripts.

and culminated into the following answering

@doublevr:

In general I think free scripting is kinda safe as one can argue “fair use”. Anyway the platform distributing these should be the primary target. I would not expect any further action than cease and desist complaint, though potentially nothing stops from suing both the distributor and the creator. One might look if there were any such cases for subtitles as it sounds similar.

Commercial distribution requires proper copyright in place. Those distributing commercial scripts without proper agreement fall easy prey for litigation by copyright owner. Both the platform and the vendors could be sued for copyright and trademark infringement.

Once again, I do not suggest content owners should necessary go after script creators, but they do have such rights. There are at least two companies in VR known for shady litigations including NaughtyAmerica and WetVR/PornPros (notorious copyright troll).

Don’t get me wrong, SLR is known to be a good actor with its community driven platform and values for freedom and justice. On the other side it’s important to be aware where things stand. Think this way - it’s much easier to bring script creators and distribution platform to court than something like this Fox Rothschild and the ‘Dark Art of Copyright Trolling’ (Paywall source: https://www.law.com/2018/07/13/fox-rothschild-and-the-dark-art-of-copyright-trolling/). Find more details on copyright trolling: Legal aspects of script creation and distribution - #37 by doublevr

I would like to ask moderation team to help move some comments to another post where they belong.

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Love seeing the investment in terms of time and money on this front. Really feels like scripts have the potential to be the way forward for this sector of the industry. It makes all the general hassle of VR feel worth it.

Don’t have the time or energy to participate myself (except financially), but hope between this and your AI efforts things really start to take off.

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I think that is still unclear from a legal point of view.

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Please elaborate.

Otherwise if you are SLR script creator you are all covered by our contract. If you are scripting on your own and distributing these scripts you should have explicit right for that obtained by copyright owner.

Does he mean commercial vs. noncommercial distribution? If it is noncommercial, such as this place, I don’t know that scripting is any different than fanfiction. Obviously, commercial distribution raises a different set of questions.

In general you need a license for any kind of copyrighted material distribution. Most paysites clearly state in user and affiliate TOS no derivatives of their copyrights of any kind are allowed, so you are in immediate breach.

It’s reasonable to suggest that non-commercial distribution seems less of an issue than commercial. Though copyright owner can look for a legal action any time he feels someone is misusing his copyrights and claim compensation of damages and lost revenues. For commercial distribution it’s really easy to build a case and pursue damages.

Afaik there hasn’t been a legal precedent set in any court system as to whether scripts would qualify as derivative works.
Aside from that I think the case is fairly strong that scripts would not qualify as derivative works.
I would also note that script sales are independent of the sales for videos/site subscriptions so it would be awfully difficult to prove damages.
All that said it is of course better to air on the side of caution, but realsync has been operating independently for over a year and a half now without any legal trouble.

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Script immediately falls into derivative as subtitles do. Also copyrighted title is explicitly used as well as producer name which is always a trademark, not to mention thumbnails and trailers or full length videos which are still practiced to share here to my surprise.

I highly recommend you to consult a lawyer before making any such statements as they are factually wrong.

So, he isn’t factually wrong because there is no case or precedent. You are probably right they fall into derivative works, but if you want to pursue that it will also destroy this community because you wanted to push this idea with legal action.

Sure, scripts are derivative, but what is your goal? Do you want this site to stop sharing free scripts or do you just want to argue this to no end?

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That’s not the point. SLR has no intent to pursue legal action in regards to scripts. I’m just replying to the post which is highly inaccurate. It’s also true to state that any paysite can sue any script creator sharing scripts for their videos without proper contract in place.

Otherwise I want only to stress that SLR gives a legal clearance for anyone creating scripts.

I’m happy about ES and I wish it go well. No intends for a fighting

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Doesn’t it mean that whoever put a script on SLR is in a danger of losing rights to sell their script? Imho makes the whole thing stupid in my opinion.

Can you elaborate on that? Can’t really make a sense of it

I mean, the studio will say that its ok to sell the script for their scene at the beginning. But they are the copyright owners and they can change their mind and say: “we dont want you to sell scripts for our videos on slr anymore”. So technically if they do that the vendor loses the right to sell the script he made, thats right?

Nothing I said in my previous comment is factually or legally inaccurate. There are (imo) strong arguments on either side as to whether scripts qualify as derivative, the fact is there is currently no legal precedent one way or the other so one cannot say definitively that a script is or is not a derivative product.
As a further point, whether or not a script is a derivative is not material unless the copyright holder can first prove damages, which again would be fairly difficult to do in many cases.

What I can say for certain is that, at least in Canada, sharing of free scripts, as well as advertising those scripts with studio trailers and photos would absolutely qualify as fair use. (As was previously mentioned this is basically the same as publishing fan-fiction)

Now I will not pour over all the legal definitions but certainly the case under Canadian law is much stronger than US law.

As a caveat I will say that copyright laws differ dramatically by localization and I am not here to offer legal advice. I simply wanted to clarify that scripting without the permission of copyright holders is not strictly prohibited by law. Certainly it would be in the best interest of anyone making scripts to acquire permission from the copyright, but until a precedent is set it is not strictly necessary.

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That’s not how it normally works. Of course studio might eventually request takedown of their content including scripts, but there is no better way around.

If written permission is given it cannot later be withdrawn. Essentially a derivative work has its own copyright owned by the creator not the copyright holder of the original work.

Edit: That would apply at least under the US and Canadian copyright acts.

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I don’t find it productive to get into further discussion with you.
Just take it for a fact that SLR agreement provides an option for copyright owner to take down their copyrights from SLR including scripts.

As a note for all the free scripters out there, you are covered fully under section 29.21 of the Canadian copyright act, including the use of studio names and trailers.

For the paid scripters it would largely depend on a court decision, but derivative works are still permitted under the fair dealings act so long as they can pass a “test for originality” which they almost certainly would.

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Just out of curiosity - so whenever a vendor on slr wants to make a script he needs to write to the video owner for a written permission? And on top of that pay a fee for making their product more valuable/popular? I am probably just too stupid for that.

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A vendor on SLR has nothing to worry about. He just chooses a video, creates a script, uploads on SLR and gets his paycheck. We take care of everything else.

It’s those who are not SLR vendors have to make sure they have a permission from content owner to distribute scripts for their videos.

And on top of that pay a fee for making their product more valuable/popular? I am probably just too stupid for that.

I’d wish there would be a common sense like that. It’s not. We have successfully defeated NaughtyAmerica in court once they sued us for bullshit copyright infringement alleging $7M in damages. And you know SLR was never a pirate site. Took us $200k in legal fees and lots of wasted time. The next bill to proceed would be over $300k to cover another 6mo of litigation. We settled without compensating our costs as it would take another year or two to bring it to the end. Legal system is not perfect.

Our case was no different from NA suing EroScripts and everyone who created scripts for their videos or shared their videos and thumbnails for millions in damages. They hired this guy to sue us Fox Rothschild and the ‘Dark Art of Copyright Trolling’

The sucker got sanctioned later by the court Strike 3's Lawyer Sanctioned By Court, Excuses His Actions By Claiming He Can't Make Technology Work | Techdirt (not our case)

I can imagine someone getting in trouble without as strong legal team and money as we had.

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