What is clearance?

The simple definition is: "minimizing risk to avoid litigation."

A longer explanation: Clearance (also called vetting in the publishing industry) is a risk analysis process that includes checking and securing all of the personal and property rights needed to produce, distribute, and/or broadcast a film, magazine, television program, website, advertisement, book or blog in order to minimize the potential for lawsuits. Most distributors and E&O insurance providers require clearance by an attorney, experienced in the field, before agreeing to purchase or insure a given work.

Article Alert: Clearance procedures that insurance carriers include in their E&O insurance applications are detailed in “A Legal Checklist of Basic Clearance Procedures.”

There are very few attorneys with the vetting expertise of Ted Gerdes. When he clears a property, he relies on his in-depth understanding of the applicable legal issues to uncover even the minutest details that may give rise to a problem. These legal issues include:

  • Personal rights, such as, right of publicity, privacy rights, and defamation
  • Copyrights, including the chain of title or legal history of the work or works upon which the project is based and the presence or use of the works of others, including music, written works, images, and clips of films or television properties
  • Fair Use and Parody analysis of the use of third party works
  • Title review to determine the availability of the title of a project
  • Trademarks of other companies, including slogans, logos, images of their packaging, and use of their products
  • Non Fiction works' special requirements relating to Documentaries, Docudramas, Biographies, Memoirs or Blogs
  • E&O Insurance requirements and policy terms
  • Internet legal issues associated with websites and e-commerce, including domain names, meta tags, and blogs

The firm assists producers, publishers, filmmakers, web site developers and owners, bloggers and authors clear and secure the vast scope of rights necessary to produce and distribute a wide range of creative projects. Ted Gerdes, principal of the firm, is passionate about the creative process, and his goal is to protect the integrity of your work by ensuring that you have all the necessary legal safeguards in place. In some cases, it may be advisable to make changes to the work in order to limit the risk. In this event adjustments are needed, Ted will draw on his many years of experience to guide you through this process to ensure that the necessary changes have as minimal an impact as possible on your creative vision.

To find out how we can assist with your project, contact Gerdes Law today.


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