Hi Caryn,

$800 is a bit high on one hand, but also seems fair for adapting another
artists/writers work to your film and for all the rights they are granting
you.. you even have broadcast rights, which is a rarity! Maybe you think
broadcast's a moot point, but at least it opens things up so that you
don't ever have to sneak around... and streaming rights are definitely not

When I've worked with a writer I've tried to give him around that amount
for the work that he did, since it was essential to making it what it is. 
I know that its a pain to give the money to the mothercorp, new york
times, rather than directly to the writer, but they are also the ones
hiring the writer for his work. That's the contract he signed. As well,
It's probably good for him that they're able to monetize on his work
beyond the original article, no matter how small.

You're saying its about 1/3 the cost of the film. Is the soundtrack not
1/3 the experience of the film?

I think its harder to apply fair use when you've already asked them what's
"fair" to them. Also when you know the other creator, the concept of fair
use gets trickier, doesn't it?

I think its really about how essential you think this particular writer's
work is to your film in terms of whether you pay for it or make up a new
script of your own.

Finally, just for fun: doesn't NYT's occasionally run videos on their site
? Maybe eventually they'll be interested in hosting your project since its
derived from their writing--although only grant it if they pay you!


> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 12:48:22 -0800
> From: Caryn Cline <carynycl...@gmail.com>
> To: Experimental Film Discussion List <FrameWorks@jonasmekasfilms.com>
> Subject: [Frameworks] question about fees for permission to use
>       material
> Message-ID:
>       <CAMaLZ=am9noor12_pgncgsvc8z2eshs1yg1b8dgskxzvc+w...@mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Dear Frameworkers,
> I'm writing to ask your advice.  I'm working on a short handmade,
> experimental film that takes as its "script" a slightly modified version
> of
> an essay I found in the *New York Times*, which I plan to use as a
> voiceover narration on the soundtrack.  I wrote to the author to ask his
> permission to use it, which he gladly gave with this caveat: everything he
> writes for the paper is owned by them.  He gave me the name of someone to
> contact at the paper, who sent me to the paper's licensing people. I
> decided to follow that lead, to see where it went.  [I have not had good
> luck with trying to get permission for a reasonable fee before, but I
> decided to try, as an experience.]
> Well, needless to say the people who license for the *Times* want me to
> pay
> them what I regard as way too much money for the use of the essay--$800
> for
> rights for festivals, galleries, streaming, broadcast, etc.--for the life
> of
> the title.   As you know, it is difficult to communicate to people in
> these
> positions that there is absolutely no commercial value in the film.    The
> money is about 1/3 of my overall budget.   Some of my handmade film
> buddies
> advised me to forget about the permission and just use it anyway, but I
> feel funny about doing that now, and as one friend who works in the
> business cautioned: my project and I are on their radar now.  Should I try
> to talk them down?  (They originally asked for $1300, so this is a
> considerable reduction from outrageously expensive to merely quite
> expensive.)  Should I claim "fair use," and use the text anyway?   What
> are
> the chances that they would come after me?    I'd appreciate any advice or
> hearing about your own experiences with this.  Many thanks.
> CC
> --
> Caryn Cline
> co-producer, *Acts of Witness*
> www.actsofwitness.com
> vimeo.com/carynyc
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