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Author:Mark Litwak

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Garcia v. Google Case Reversed

by Mark Litwak on May 20, 2015

Last year, I wrote an article titled “Do Your Actors Own Your Film?” criticizing the decision of a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit that found an actress who performed a small role was likely to succeed in her copyright claim in the film. The Court accepted the premise that …

Advice on Creative Accounting

by Mark Litwak on March 25, 2015


Mark Litwak will be conducting an all-day seminar in New York City on April 24th, 2015 called Self Defense for Writers and Filmmakers with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. For more information, click here.

Filmmakers and profit participants often complain about distributors that engage in creative bookkeeping. This is one area …

Borrowing Against Pre-Sale Agreements

by Mark Litwak on February 18, 2015

In a pre-sale agreement, a buyer licenses or pre-buys movie distribution rights for a territory before the film has been produced. The deal works something like this: Filmmaker Henry, or his sales agent, approaches Distributor Juan to sign a contract to buy the right to distribute Henry’s next film. Henry …

Filmmaker’s Bill of Rights

by Mark Litwak on December 5, 2014

A reputable distributor should be willing to accept terms that protect a filmmaker’s interests. Many such provisions do not cost the distributor anything as long as the distributor lives up to the terms of its contract. A provision for interest on late payments, for example, costs the distributor nothing as …

Distributing Your Indie Film

by Mark Litwak on July 31, 2014


Filmmakers expend so much effort to produce their film that they often don’t give much thought to distribution until the movie is complete. Many filmmakers believe that if they just make a good film, distribution will take care of itself. However, securing distribution is often more challenging than raising financing …

Supreme Court Decides “Raging Bull” Case

by Mark Litwak on May 27, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3-majority opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has overturned the lower courts and decided that the doctrine of laches cannot be used to bar a suit if the applicable statute of limitations has not expired. This is the case even if the plaintiff delayed …

Wolf of Wall Street: Defaming the Unnamed

by Mark Litwak on April 11, 2014

Andrew Greene, who claims he was the inspiration for the character Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff  in the motion picture “The Wolf of Wall Street,” has filed a $25 million lawsuit against Paramount Pictures and the producers of the Oscar-nominated film. The film, by Martin Scorsese, is about the notorious stockbroker Jordan …

Do Your Actors Own Your Film?

by Mark Litwak on March 3, 2014

Novice actors are generally thought to have very little power in Hollywood.  Many wait tables and drive taxis while awaiting their big break.  Even top stars usually have little control over their films, compared to producers, directors and the studios that finance and distribute them.  However, all that may change …