A submission release refers to a contract between an individual and a company in which the individual agrees to submit certain materials (usually creative works, such as a script or song) to the company for evaluation. The company then has the right to use, adapt, or reject the materials. Submission releases are often used in the entertainment industry, as they allow companies to screen potential projects without incurring any liability.
Assume you’ve come up with a concept for a reality television show and want to submit it to a specific TV network or station. In order to do so, you’ll likely need to sign a submission release. This document essentially gives the network or station permission to review your concept and determine whether or not they’d like to produce it as a show. The submission release will also outline what will happen to your concept if the network chooses to pass on it. For example, the network may specify that they will return your concept to you or destroy it.
A submission release is intended to protect the network or station from any legal liability. For example, if you submit a concept that is similar to another reality show that is already in production, the network could be sued for copyright infringement. By having you sign a submission release, the network can avoid such legal trouble.
It is important to read over a submission release carefully before signing it. This document can have a major impact on your rights to your concept, so you’ll want to make sure that you understand all of the terms and conditions. If you’re not comfortable with the terms of the submission release, you may want to consult an attorney.
An entertainment attorney will help you review the submission release with utmost diligence and make you understand every aspect of the entertainment industry. This will help you in knowing what terms and conditions are you agreeing on and the contract is not unfair.
Unsolicited material is any creative work that you submit to a company without having been asked to do so. For example, if you write a script and send it to a studio without having been hired to do so, this would be considered unsolicited material.
If a company receives unsolicited material, they are not obligated to return it or destroy it. In fact, many companies have policies in place that state that any unsolicited material will be automatically destroyed. This is because unsolicited material can create legal liability for the company if they are accused of stealing someone’s idea.
To avoid having your unsolicited material destroyed, you’ll need to submit it along with a signed submission release. This document essentially gives the company permission to review your material and determine whether they’d like to produce it. However, submitting a signed submission release does not guarantee that the company will produce your concept.
Before pitching any idea, you must also ensure that it is your own and does not infringe on any other copyrighted material. This is because you can be sued for copyright infringement if you submit someone else’s idea as your own.
It’s also important to note that many companies will not accept unsolicited material. So, before submitting anything, you’ll need to research the company’s submission policy to see if they accept unsolicited material.
When signing a submission release, there are a few key parameters that you should consider:
The scope of the release: The submission release should specify what material you are submitting and what rights the company has to this material. For example, the release might state that you are submitting a script for consideration and that the company has the right to review this script.
The term of the release: The submission release should specify how long the company has to review your material. For example, the release might state that the company has 60 days to review your script.
What will happen to your material if it’s not accepted: The submission release should specify what will happen to your material if the company decides not to produce it. For example, the release might state that the company will destroy your script if they decide not to produce it.
Whether you will be compensated: The submission release should specify whether you will be compensated for your material. For example, the release might state that the company will pay you $500 if they decide to produce your script.
What happens if you refuse to sign a submission release: If you refuse to sign a submission release, the company will likely not review your material. This is because the company doesn’t want to risk being sued for copyright infringement.
Therefore, if you’re unwilling to sign a submission release, you should not submit your material to the company.
Warranties: The submission release should contain a section called “warranties” in which you state that your material is original and does not infringe on any other copyrighted material.
It is important to be truthful in this section as you can be sued for copyright infringement if you submit someone else’s idea as your own.
Indemnification: The submission release should also contain a section called “indemnification” in which you agree to protect the company from any legal liability if your material is found to be infringing on another copyrighted work.
It’s crucial to remember that if the firm is sued for copyright infringement, you would be responsible for any legal expenses it incurs.
By understanding these key parameters, you can ensure that you are protected before submitting your material to a company.
It’s important to note that submission releases are often one-sided contracts, meaning that they favor the company over the creator. This is why it’s so important to have an attorney review the contract before you sign it.
A submission release can have such a major impact on your rights to your concept, so you’ll want to make sure that you understand all of the terms and conditions. If you’re not comfortable with the terms of the submission release, you may want to consult with an entertainment lawyer before signing it.
Our experienced entertainment attorneys at The Venture Lawyer can help you understand submission releases and other contracts in the entertainment industry. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.