Cinema Law: What Are Your Rights When Filming a Criminal?

Cinema law encompasses all the provisions and regulations which govern and control the filming industry. This law touches on film copyrights, minor protection in films and protects the intellectual property of the company which owns such a film. Usually, law assignment writing focused on cinema law is an arduous task and some do not achieve the needed level of clarity. This article will shed more light on the rights of the proprietor of a film while recording a criminal and sufficiently clarify on some confusing cinema law notions.

The Right to Privacy

Despite the fact that an individual has been confirmed by a court of law to have committed a certain crime, the individual retains a certain level of privacy. Thus if a producer wishes to film such an individual, the producer is required by law to first obtain consent form such a person. The person may as well oblige to answering certain questions or request the termination of the circulation of a film depicting the person as a criminal.

Though this is the case, producers have been known to make criminal documentaries depicting an infamous crime which attracted much public attention. Usually, these documentaries are based on persons who have been suspected to have committed a crime but not yet declared guilty by the court of law. In these instances, the producer and the criminal suspects make some bilateral agreements before the commencement of such a filming project.

Public Place Filming Provisions

If the suspected criminal is in a public place such as court sitting or any place where the general public is allowed to visit, the filmmaker is under no obligation to seek any consent from the criminal. In this case, the regulations require that the filmmaker completely reveals the camera and does not secretly video-record the criminal.

Notwithstanding, the suspected criminal still has a right to ask the producer to stop filming them. This provision is applied in cases where the circulation of such a film may endanger the life of the suspect or destroy the reputation of the suspect. In a court of law, such requests are usually done by an attorney who should have sufficient reasons to convince the jury that such filming will endanger the life of the suspect. Lack of expression of any objection to the recording is perceived as consent and thus the producer has the right to continue filming the criminal in the public place.

Private Property Filming

Filming a private property is conceived as an invasion of personal privacy. Unless the criminal first consents to such filming, any filmmaker who video-records a criminal or those suspects for different cirmes in their private property is liable for any proceeding damages. Therefore, it is a good practice to seek prior consent before filming a private property or visiting a criminal in their homes. Taking such measures saves filmmakers many legal battles which may result due to the ignorance of these regulations.

Commercial Filming Provisions

In most cases, criminal films are designed to be used commercially. Since there are profits associated with such an undertaking, the criminal or suspect should first be informed of such commercial intentions and agreements on a payment scheme drafted. Without such an agreement, the filmmaker can easily lose the rights to such a film in an event the person recorded seeks a recompense through the court of law. Writing a legally binding agreement before the commencement of the project will thus protect the filmmaker in case the criminal or crime suspect changes their mind and decides to revoke the earlier agreement. Since the agreement signed is legally bidding, its revocation is usually difficult.

The Content of the Film

Suspects and confirmed criminals when being filmed and interviewed may review certain facts concerning previous crimes. In most states, the revelation of past criminal activities during an interview does not amount to a crime and cannot be leveled in a court of law as a piece of evidence. This said, there are variations to this law especially when such crimes involve minors and murder scenes. It is, therefore, prudent to tread carefully when the suspect starts revealing these crimes to you. To be certain of your rights, you can take further steps and consult a lawyer before releasing the film to the public.

Filming laws are important as they protect both the subjects and the producers. As a filmmaker, knowing your rights when filming a criminal is important as it will help you not to get yourself on the wrong side of the law unknowingly. Besides this, the knowledge of these laws will help you to effectively protect your intellectual work from any form of infringement and gain profits which may proceed from such a filming project.

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