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The Pros and Cons of Life Rights in Film: Lisa Callif Talks with Documentary Magazine

In the past year, there were multiple documentary film releases featuring some of the most influential artists, including Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and more. As the go-to attorney for documentary filmmakers, Partner Lisa Callif explores life rights with Documentary magazine in the article, “The Pros and Cons of Life Rights Agreements”.

Ms. Callif believes there is a fundamental misunderstanding when it comes to what life rights are and whether a filmmaker needs to obtain them in order to produce a documentary. She comments, “We’re looking at telling a story based on fact, and if you’re planning to tell an accurate story based on a person’s life and information that is publicly available, there’s no legal reason to get those rights.”

That said, Ms. Callif does share some of the benefits of obtaining life rights agreements, such as a waiver of claim to prevent being sued. These agreements also carry assurances of exclusivity. She states, “Someone can still make a movie without that person, but at least you know you’re the only person with the access to that information and with that person’s blessing.”

Read full article.