An integral part of getting your project made Clean Chain of Title!
“Chain of title” is the legal documents that establish ownership in a project, including assignments. A “clean” chain of title (COT) means there are no gaps or issues raising doubts about the project’s ownership. Especially with a pre-existing work (e.g., music, podcast, book, screenplay, comic, game, film, etc.) a COT review should be performed. The review is a search of all contracts related to the project, including public records held by the US Copyright Office verifying any recorded assignments that could negate the transfer of rights to the filmmaker, studio, network, production company, or distributor.
COT can be a few documents, or it can be dozens. This often depends on the acquisition process, fundraise, final script(s), shooting, and film release. The screenwriter, producer, or production company, is responsible for providing documents establishing COT. These usually consist of legible copies of all agreements, licenses, waivers, or other documents indicating a project’s change of ownership from its inception. Before embarking on a project, please hire a production lawyer. You don’t want something in the ‘can’ you can’t sell.