Escondido, CA asked in Copyright and Entertainment / Sports for California

Q: Will pages of a script used as illustration in an ebook on screenwriting be covered under Fair Use?

I'm writing a 30 to 40-page e-book for screenwriters on how to incorporate hidden movie Easter eggs in their scripts to deepen the meaning of their story and keep viewers coming back to see their movie over and over again.

I'm analyzing three particular movies. Within the analysis, I'm include a few script pages from each film as illustrations. In general, I've included two, two-three page scenes from each script. My intent is to send the e-book to a couple of online publications like Creative Screenwriting, and Screenwriting Magazine. I've download the scripts and have extracted the text of the chosen scenes. I'm also including links to the scripts. My hope is that one of these online publications will want to pay me for this work or I may publish it myself and charge a small fee.

Is my use here covered under Fair Use or not? Will I need permission to use these pages in my e-book? Please advise.

1 Lawyer Answer
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp PRO label
Answered
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

Your proposed use of extracts from scripts falls within the teaching, scholarship and education allowance, and is clearly "fair use" of the material.

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