Motion Picture Law and Legal Definition

A motion picture is defined as an audiovisual work consisting of a series of related images which, when shown in succession, impart an impression of motion, together with accompanying sounds, if any. Various state and federal laws apply to motion pictures. The legal framework for motion picture production and distribution is significantly built from contract law, copyright law, labor law, and competition law.

Motion picture law commonly involves intellectual property law, such as in licensing and trademark issues. Many aspects of contract law are applied to motion pictureproduction and distribution. Option agreements are often used to acquire rights to option a literary property. Various agreements are generally prepared for the financing of a motion picture, depending on the manner of financing. Releases may need to be obtained to avoid right to privacy and defamation claims.

Labor issues such as compensation and credits are affected by industry rules and guidelines. Motion picture production in the United States is significantly influenced by the unions and guilds. The primary guilds in the United States affecting motion picture production are the Writers Guild of America (WGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) craft guilds, and American Federation of Musicians (AFM), and Screen Extras Guild (SEG).