{"ab":false,"abStatus":null,"abTestId":null,"abVariation":false,"abVariationAutomated":false,"absoluteUrl":"https://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg","afterPostBody":null,"allowedSlugConflict":false,"analytics":null,"analyticsPageId":"3003962693","analyticsPageType":"blog-post","archived":false,"archivedAt":0,"archivedInDashboard":false,"areCommentsAllowed":true,"attachedStylesheets":[],"audienceAccess":"PUBLIC","author":null,"authorName":null,"authorUsername":null,"blogAuthor":{"avatar":"","bio":"","cdnPurgeEmbargoTime":null,"cosObjectType":"BLOG_AUTHOR","created":1435092071507,"deletedAt":0,"displayName":"Jeff Young and Tarek Elneweihi","email":null,"facebook":"","fullName":"Jeff Young and Tarek Elneweihi","gravatarUrl":null,"hasSocialProfiles":false,"id":3035893120,"label":"Jeff Young and Tarek Elneweihi","language":null,"linkedin":"","name":"Jeff Young and Tarek Elneweihi","portalId":61352,"slug":"jeff-young-and-tarek-elneweihi","translatedFromId":null,"translations":{},"twitter":"","twitterUsername":"","updated":1435092071507,"userId":null,"username":null,"website":""},"blogAuthorId":3035893120,"blogPostAuthor":{"avatar":"","bio":"","cdnPurgeEmbargoTime":null,"cosObjectType":"BLOG_AUTHOR","created":1435092071507,"deletedAt":0,"displayName":"Jeff Young and Tarek Elneweihi","email":null,"facebook":"","fullName":"Jeff Young and Tarek Elneweihi","gravatarUrl":null,"hasSocialProfiles":false,"id":3035893120,"label":"Jeff Young and Tarek Elneweihi","language":null,"linkedin":"","name":"Jeff Young and Tarek Elneweihi","portalId":61352,"slug":"jeff-young-and-tarek-elneweihi","translatedFromId":null,"translations":{},"twitter":"","twitterUsername":"","updated":1435092071507,"userId":null,"username":null,"website":""},"blogPostScheduleTaskUid":null,"blogPublishInstantEmailCampaignId":null,"blogPublishInstantEmailRetryCount":null,"blogPublishInstantEmailTaskUid":"DONE","blogPublishToSocialMediaTask":"DONE_NOT_SENT","blueprintTypeId":0,"businessUnitId":0,"campaign":"","campaignName":"","campaignUtm":null,"category":3,"categoryId":3,"cdnPurgeEmbargoTime":null,"clonedFrom":null,"composeBody":null,"compositionId":0,"contentAccessRuleIds":[],"contentAccessRuleTypes":[],"contentGroup":952267656,"contentGroupId":952267656,"contentTypeCategory":3,"contentTypeCategoryId":3,"contentTypeId":null,"created":1434752377000,"createdById":313859,"createdTime":1434752377000,"css":{},"cssText":"","ctaClicks":null,"ctaViews":null,"currentState":"PUBLISHED","currentlyPublished":true,"deletedAt":0,"deletedBy":null,"domain":"","dynamicPageDataSourceId":null,"dynamicPageDataSourceType":null,"dynamicPageHubDbTableId":null,"enableDomainStylesheets":null,"enableGoogleAmpOutputOverride":false,"enableLayoutStylesheets":null,"errors":[],"featuredImage":"","featuredImageAltText":"","featuredImageHeight":0,"featuredImageLength":0,"featuredImageWidth":0,"flexAreas":{},"folderId":null,"footerHtml":null,"freezeDate":1435250242000,"generateJsonLdEnabledOverride":true,"hasContentAccessRules":false,"hasUserChanges":true,"headHtml":null,"header":null,"htmlTitle":"The Delicate Art of Making a Bio Pic without Getting Permission","id":3003962693,"includeDefaultCustomCss":null,"isCaptchaRequired":true,"isDraft":false,"isInstantEmailEnabled":true,"isPublished":true,"isSocialPublishingEnabled":false,"keywords":[],"label":"<span id=\"hs_cos_wrapper_name\" class=\"hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text\" style=\"\" data-hs-cos-general-type=\"meta_field\" data-hs-cos-type=\"text\" >The Delicate Art of Making a Bio Pic without Getting Permission</span>","language":"en","lastEditSessionId":null,"lastEditUpdateId":null,"layoutSections":{},"legacyBlogTabid":null,"legacyId":null,"legacyPostGuid":null,"linkRelCanonicalUrl":"","listTemplate":"prox_frontrow/templates/blog/blog-listing.html","liveDomain":"www.frontrowinsurance.com","mab":false,"mabExperimentId":null,"mabMaster":false,"mabVariant":false,"meta":{"meta_description":"Planning on making a film about another person but not sure whether you have the proper authority to go through with it? Lawyers discuss in this article.","author_username":"nedia@frontrowinsurance.com","blog_publish_instant_email_task_uid":"DONE","use_featured_image":false,"topic_ids":[949708924,949709454,2961176071,3018572197,3018617752,3023994434],"author_user_id":4012692,"rss_summary":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n","featured_image":"","keywords":[],"campaign_name":"","post_summary":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n","has_user_changes":true,"html_title":"The Delicate Art of Making a Bio Pic without Getting Permission","post_body":"<span id=\"hs_cos_wrapper_post_body\" class=\"hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_rich_text\" style=\"\" data-hs-cos-general-type=\"meta_field\" data-hs-cos-type=\"rich_text\" ><em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n<!--more--><p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><img width=\"219\" title=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" align=\"right\" style=\"width: 219px; float: right;\" alt=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/tarek.jpg\"></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>&nbsp;</p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Well, to the surprise of some, the short answer is yes…in some cases. But while you may be among those that are surprised by this answer, it will likely not surprise you that the real answer to the question is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. As with most legal issues, to comprehensively answer the question posed, a more in-depth discussion is required.&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Furthermore, while it may be possible for you to make a movie about a famous person without getting sued, there are sound reasons why getting permission may still be the right choice for you. One such reason is the possible consequence to your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible, which could become much higher if you do not get permission.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In this article we will first review the legal issues involved when making a film like <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>, then we will look at some practical reasons for securing permission from the subject of your film, focusing on how it could affect your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What is a Docudrama?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Let us start by looking into what category of film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> falls under, and what the law has to say about it. While <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> was a movie that purported to be based on facts about actual people and events, it is safe to say that it is not a documentary. In other words, rather than attempting to accurately dissect the actual historical events that the film is based on, as is the typical approach of documentaries, <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> utilizes some artistic license in depicting select real-life historical events in a way that is intended to be appealing to drama-loving, movie-going audiences.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So what category of film applies to <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>? The answer is that it is a type of biopic commonly referred to as a “docudrama”. Docudramas have been judicially recognized in a number of U.S. court cases, including the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale v. Gramercy Pictures</em> <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">964 F.Supp. 918 (1997)</em>, which dealt with the motion picture entitled <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em>. In <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em> the court stated (my underlining for emphasis):</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">“…the film \"Panther\" is best categorized under the film genre of “docudrama.” He testified that the “key” to making a docudrama is to <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">capture the “essence” of an historical event and not necessarily to recreate for the audience every historical detail of that event.</span><span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>…such major motion pictures as “Ghandi” and “JFK” are appropriately classified as docudramas.”</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The court finds that the film “Panther” is a “docudrama” and not a “documentary” film. A docudrama is a “motion picture presenting a dramatic recreation or adaptation of actual events.”<span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>[...]<span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">It “is a dramatization of an historical event or lives of real people, using actors or actresses. Docudramas utilize simulated dialogue, composite characters, and a telescoping of events occurring over a period into a composite scene or scenes.”</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Clearly, by this definition <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> is a docudrama.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What Legal Issues Should You Look Out For?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Generally, when making docudramas about famous personalities, the legal issues to watch out for include Rights of Privacy, the tort of False Light, Rights of Publicity and the tort of Defamation. Let us now look at each of these issues in more detail.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">Rights of Privacy</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">The Right of Privacy is </span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: Verdana;\">the qualified legal right of an individual to have reasonable privacy in not having his or her private affairs made known or his or her likeness exhibited to the public having regard to that individual’s habits, mode of living, and occupation.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> In the case of deceased individuals, their Right of Privacy dies with them. This is not the case with living individuals, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. However, the First Amendment of the American Constitution allows docudrama filmmakers the right to make a movie about any living person without permission, so long as it does not violate his or her privacy rights or defame them. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The Right of Privacy can take several forms. For example, you cannot “out” someone in any way. In other words, you cannot reveal the private facts of someone’s life (i.e. facts that are not publicly known) or intrude into someone’s private space in the course of your filmmaking. However, if the matter is of public interest, you can reveal it. Generally, the courts have held that the more famous an individual is, the more likely the matter is in the interest of the public.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, in the case of famous living individuals, when making a docudrama about them you must be careful not to intrude on their Rights of Privacy, while with deceased individuals you need not be concerned about such rights. We can assume that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>were careful not to violate Mark Zuckerberg’s Rights of Privacy since the deep-pocketed Internet mogul has not sued them to date. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">False Light</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Lucida Sans Unicode';\">The tort of False Light is one of several torts under the category of invasion of privacy where a defendant is accused of spreading falsehoods about a plaintiff that would be considered objectionable by the average person.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> The film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther, </em>which, as mentioned above, was the focus of the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em>, also discussed the tort of False Light. The film integrated actors playing fictitious characters with actors playing the roles of the real-life leaders of the “Black Panther Party”, an organization that was formed in Oakland, California in 1966. The Plaintiff in the case, Bobby Seale, was the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Seale sued on the basis that the Defendants’ portrayal of him in the film placed him in a “false light” and therefore violated his common law Right of Privacy.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In the court’s analysis of the facts of the case it was recognized that <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em> did not purport to maintain strict fidelity to fact and primarily represented a work of entertainment as opposed to a fact-specific historical account of events. Hence why the court used the term “docudrama”. The court even acknowledged that there were certain scenes that were made up for dramatization, and other significant, perhaps even landmark moments in Seale’s life that were omitted. The court further ruled that during some moments in the film there were indeed elements that portrayed Seale in a “false light”. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">However, notwithstanding the above, the court ruled in favour of the filmmakers based on the court’s view that First Amendment constitutional protections have higher priority. The court stated that unless Seale could prove with <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">convincing clarity that the filmmakers acted with actual malice</span>, then “substantial accuracy” to the facts was enough to exonerate them. It is worthwhile to note that the film did not portray or reveal any private activities of Bobby Seale that were not already in the public domain.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, it seems that as long as you make a movie that is substantially accurate with respect to the facts of the individual’s life whom you are portraying, you can get away with utilizing the same artistic license that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>made use of. This is likely why Mr. Zuckerberg did not sue the film’s producers despite the fact that he did not agree with his portrayal as a nerdy social recluse who created Facebook to make friends and become “popular”. This reason alone would likely not be enough to win a lawsuit since the writers of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> used care to write a script that was substantially accurate with respect to the historical events that were portrayed.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\">1 of 3&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href=\"http://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg-part-2\">Next Page</a></p>\n<h3>RELATED LINK:</h3>\n<p><a href=\"/errors-omissions-insurance-101\" rel=\" noopener\">E&amp;O Insurance 101 &amp; How to Protect Your Film Project</a></p>\n<span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: medium;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"> </span></span>","publish_immediately":true,"author_email":"nedia@frontrowinsurance.com","rss_body":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n<!--more--><p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><img width=\"219\" title=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" align=\"right\" style=\"width: 219px; float: right;\" alt=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/tarek.jpg\"></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>&nbsp;</p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Well, to the surprise of some, the short answer is yes…in some cases. But while you may be among those that are surprised by this answer, it will likely not surprise you that the real answer to the question is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. As with most legal issues, to comprehensively answer the question posed, a more in-depth discussion is required.&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Furthermore, while it may be possible for you to make a movie about a famous person without getting sued, there are sound reasons why getting permission may still be the right choice for you. One such reason is the possible consequence to your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible, which could become much higher if you do not get permission.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In this article we will first review the legal issues involved when making a film like <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>, then we will look at some practical reasons for securing permission from the subject of your film, focusing on how it could affect your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What is a Docudrama?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Let us start by looking into what category of film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> falls under, and what the law has to say about it. While <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> was a movie that purported to be based on facts about actual people and events, it is safe to say that it is not a documentary. In other words, rather than attempting to accurately dissect the actual historical events that the film is based on, as is the typical approach of documentaries, <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> utilizes some artistic license in depicting select real-life historical events in a way that is intended to be appealing to drama-loving, movie-going audiences.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So what category of film applies to <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>? The answer is that it is a type of biopic commonly referred to as a “docudrama”. Docudramas have been judicially recognized in a number of U.S. court cases, including the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale v. Gramercy Pictures</em> <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">964 F.Supp. 918 (1997)</em>, which dealt with the motion picture entitled <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em>. In <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em> the court stated (my underlining for emphasis):</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">“…the film \"Panther\" is best categorized under the film genre of “docudrama.” He testified that the “key” to making a docudrama is to <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">capture the “essence” of an historical event and not necessarily to recreate for the audience every historical detail of that event.</span><span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>…such major motion pictures as “Ghandi” and “JFK” are appropriately classified as docudramas.”</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The court finds that the film “Panther” is a “docudrama” and not a “documentary” film. A docudrama is a “motion picture presenting a dramatic recreation or adaptation of actual events.”<span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>[...]<span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">It “is a dramatization of an historical event or lives of real people, using actors or actresses. Docudramas utilize simulated dialogue, composite characters, and a telescoping of events occurring over a period into a composite scene or scenes.”</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Clearly, by this definition <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> is a docudrama.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What Legal Issues Should You Look Out For?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Generally, when making docudramas about famous personalities, the legal issues to watch out for include Rights of Privacy, the tort of False Light, Rights of Publicity and the tort of Defamation. Let us now look at each of these issues in more detail.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">Rights of Privacy</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">The Right of Privacy is </span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: Verdana;\">the qualified legal right of an individual to have reasonable privacy in not having his or her private affairs made known or his or her likeness exhibited to the public having regard to that individual’s habits, mode of living, and occupation.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> In the case of deceased individuals, their Right of Privacy dies with them. This is not the case with living individuals, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. However, the First Amendment of the American Constitution allows docudrama filmmakers the right to make a movie about any living person without permission, so long as it does not violate his or her privacy rights or defame them. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The Right of Privacy can take several forms. For example, you cannot “out” someone in any way. In other words, you cannot reveal the private facts of someone’s life (i.e. facts that are not publicly known) or intrude into someone’s private space in the course of your filmmaking. However, if the matter is of public interest, you can reveal it. Generally, the courts have held that the more famous an individual is, the more likely the matter is in the interest of the public.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, in the case of famous living individuals, when making a docudrama about them you must be careful not to intrude on their Rights of Privacy, while with deceased individuals you need not be concerned about such rights. We can assume that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>were careful not to violate Mark Zuckerberg’s Rights of Privacy since the deep-pocketed Internet mogul has not sued them to date. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">False Light</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Lucida Sans Unicode';\">The tort of False Light is one of several torts under the category of invasion of privacy where a defendant is accused of spreading falsehoods about a plaintiff that would be considered objectionable by the average person.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> The film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther, </em>which, as mentioned above, was the focus of the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em>, also discussed the tort of False Light. The film integrated actors playing fictitious characters with actors playing the roles of the real-life leaders of the “Black Panther Party”, an organization that was formed in Oakland, California in 1966. The Plaintiff in the case, Bobby Seale, was the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Seale sued on the basis that the Defendants’ portrayal of him in the film placed him in a “false light” and therefore violated his common law Right of Privacy.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In the court’s analysis of the facts of the case it was recognized that <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em> did not purport to maintain strict fidelity to fact and primarily represented a work of entertainment as opposed to a fact-specific historical account of events. Hence why the court used the term “docudrama”. The court even acknowledged that there were certain scenes that were made up for dramatization, and other significant, perhaps even landmark moments in Seale’s life that were omitted. The court further ruled that during some moments in the film there were indeed elements that portrayed Seale in a “false light”. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">However, notwithstanding the above, the court ruled in favour of the filmmakers based on the court’s view that First Amendment constitutional protections have higher priority. The court stated that unless Seale could prove with <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">convincing clarity that the filmmakers acted with actual malice</span>, then “substantial accuracy” to the facts was enough to exonerate them. It is worthwhile to note that the film did not portray or reveal any private activities of Bobby Seale that were not already in the public domain.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, it seems that as long as you make a movie that is substantially accurate with respect to the facts of the individual’s life whom you are portraying, you can get away with utilizing the same artistic license that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>made use of. This is likely why Mr. Zuckerberg did not sue the film’s producers despite the fact that he did not agree with his portrayal as a nerdy social recluse who created Facebook to make friends and become “popular”. This reason alone would likely not be enough to win a lawsuit since the writers of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> used care to write a script that was substantially accurate with respect to the historical events that were portrayed.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\">1 of 3&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href=\"http://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg-part-2\">Next Page</a></p>\n<h3>RELATED LINK:</h3>\n<p><a href=\"/errors-omissions-insurance-101\" rel=\" noopener\">E&amp;O Insurance 101 &amp; How to Protect Your Film Project</a></p>\n<span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: medium;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"> </span>","placement_guids":[],"campaign_utm":null,"css":{},"featured_image_alt_text":"","enable_google_amp_output_override":false,"css_text":"","last_edit_session_id":null,"last_edit_update_id":null,"tag_ids":[949708924,949709454,2961176071,3018572197,3018617752,3023994434],"link_rel_canonical_url":"","published_by_id":7915797,"published_at":1649095023488,"blog_publish_to_social_media_task":"DONE_NOT_SENT","head_html":null,"blog_post_schedule_task_uid":null,"scheduled_update_date":0,"header":null},"metaDescription":"Planning on making a film about another person but not sure whether you have the proper authority to go through with it? Lawyers discuss in this article.","metaKeywords":null,"name":"<span id=\"hs_cos_wrapper_name\" class=\"hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text\" style=\"\" data-hs-cos-general-type=\"meta_field\" data-hs-cos-type=\"text\" >The Delicate Art of Making a Bio Pic without Getting Permission</span>","nextPostFeaturedImage":"","nextPostFeaturedImageAltText":"","nextPostName":"What Is A Trademark? Trademarks Explained","nextPostSlug":"articles/what-is-a-trade-mark","pageExpiryDate":null,"pageExpiryEnabled":null,"pageExpiryRedirectId":null,"pageExpiryRedirectUrl":null,"pageRedirected":false,"pageTitle":"The Delicate Art of Making a Bio Pic without Getting Permission","parentBlog":{"absoluteUrl":"https://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles","allowComments":true,"ampBodyColor":"#404040","ampBodyFont":"'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif","ampBodyFontSize":"18","ampCustomCss":"","ampHeaderBackgroundColor":"#ffffff","ampHeaderColor":"#1e1e1e","ampHeaderFont":"'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif","ampHeaderFontSize":"36","ampLinkColor":"#416bb3","ampLogoAlt":"Front Row Insurance logo","ampLogoHeight":63,"ampLogoSrc":"https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/front-row-logo.png","ampLogoWidth":175,"analyticsPageId":137640,"attachedStylesheets":[],"audienceAccess":"PUBLIC","businessUnitId":null,"captchaAfterDays":7,"captchaAlways":false,"categoryId":3,"cdnPurgeEmbargoTime":null,"closeCommentsOlder":0,"commentDateFormat":"medium","commentFormGuid":"7a447743-bbf2-4b55-a759-b405bf392a7d","commentMaxThreadDepth":3,"commentModeration":true,"commentNotificationEmails":["mike@frontrowinsurance.com","grant@frontrowinsurance.com"],"commentShouldCreateContact":true,"commentVerificationText":"","cosObjectType":"BLOG","created":1401900293000,"createdDateTime":1401900293000,"dailyNotificationEmailId":"952268096","dateFormattingLanguage":"en_US","defaultGroupStyleId":"","defaultNotificationFromName":"","defaultNotificationReplyTo":"","deletedAt":0,"description":"The Front Row Insurance Blog where you can learn and converse about all things entertainment insurance related.","domain":"","domainWhenPublished":"www.frontrowinsurance.com","emailApiSubscriptionId":283237,"enableGoogleAmpOutput":true,"enableSocialAutoPublishing":false,"generateJsonLdEnabled":false,"header":null,"htmlFooter":"<!-- DELTA-->","htmlFooterIsShared":false,"htmlHead":"<!-- Blog Schema by Front Row Insurance // https://www.frontrowinsurance.com/ -->\n\n<script type=\"application/ld+json\">\n {\n \"@context\": \"http://schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"BlogPosting\",\n \"mainEntityOfPage\":{\n \"@type\":\"WebPage\",\n \"@id\":\"https://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg\"\n },\n \"headline\": \"The Delicate Art of Making a Bio Pic without Getting Permission\",\n \"image\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"\"\n },\n \"datePublished\": \"2015-06-25 16:37:22\",\n \"dateModified\": \"\",\n \"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"') }}\"\n },\n \"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"FRONT ROW INSURANCE BROKERS\",\n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/images/Logos/FR_logo_%5BConverted,-Inverted%5D.png\"\n }\n },\n \"description\": \"Planning on making a film about another person but not sure whether you have the proper authority to go through with it? 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font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n<!--more--><p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><img width=\"219\" title=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" align=\"right\" style=\"width: 219px; float: right;\" alt=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/tarek.jpg\"></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>&nbsp;</p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Well, to the surprise of some, the short answer is yes…in some cases. But while you may be among those that are surprised by this answer, it will likely not surprise you that the real answer to the question is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. As with most legal issues, to comprehensively answer the question posed, a more in-depth discussion is required.&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Furthermore, while it may be possible for you to make a movie about a famous person without getting sued, there are sound reasons why getting permission may still be the right choice for you. One such reason is the possible consequence to your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible, which could become much higher if you do not get permission.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In this article we will first review the legal issues involved when making a film like <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>, then we will look at some practical reasons for securing permission from the subject of your film, focusing on how it could affect your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What is a Docudrama?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Let us start by looking into what category of film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> falls under, and what the law has to say about it. While <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> was a movie that purported to be based on facts about actual people and events, it is safe to say that it is not a documentary. In other words, rather than attempting to accurately dissect the actual historical events that the film is based on, as is the typical approach of documentaries, <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> utilizes some artistic license in depicting select real-life historical events in a way that is intended to be appealing to drama-loving, movie-going audiences.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So what category of film applies to <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>? The answer is that it is a type of biopic commonly referred to as a “docudrama”. Docudramas have been judicially recognized in a number of U.S. court cases, including the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale v. Gramercy Pictures</em> <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">964 F.Supp. 918 (1997)</em>, which dealt with the motion picture entitled <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em>. In <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em> the court stated (my underlining for emphasis):</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">“…the film \"Panther\" is best categorized under the film genre of “docudrama.” He testified that the “key” to making a docudrama is to <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">capture the “essence” of an historical event and not necessarily to recreate for the audience every historical detail of that event.</span><span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>…such major motion pictures as “Ghandi” and “JFK” are appropriately classified as docudramas.”</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The court finds that the film “Panther” is a “docudrama” and not a “documentary” film. A docudrama is a “motion picture presenting a dramatic recreation or adaptation of actual events.”<span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>[...]<span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">It “is a dramatization of an historical event or lives of real people, using actors or actresses. Docudramas utilize simulated dialogue, composite characters, and a telescoping of events occurring over a period into a composite scene or scenes.”</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Clearly, by this definition <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> is a docudrama.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What Legal Issues Should You Look Out For?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Generally, when making docudramas about famous personalities, the legal issues to watch out for include Rights of Privacy, the tort of False Light, Rights of Publicity and the tort of Defamation. Let us now look at each of these issues in more detail.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">Rights of Privacy</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">The Right of Privacy is </span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: Verdana;\">the qualified legal right of an individual to have reasonable privacy in not having his or her private affairs made known or his or her likeness exhibited to the public having regard to that individual’s habits, mode of living, and occupation.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> In the case of deceased individuals, their Right of Privacy dies with them. This is not the case with living individuals, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. However, the First Amendment of the American Constitution allows docudrama filmmakers the right to make a movie about any living person without permission, so long as it does not violate his or her privacy rights or defame them. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The Right of Privacy can take several forms. For example, you cannot “out” someone in any way. In other words, you cannot reveal the private facts of someone’s life (i.e. facts that are not publicly known) or intrude into someone’s private space in the course of your filmmaking. However, if the matter is of public interest, you can reveal it. Generally, the courts have held that the more famous an individual is, the more likely the matter is in the interest of the public.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, in the case of famous living individuals, when making a docudrama about them you must be careful not to intrude on their Rights of Privacy, while with deceased individuals you need not be concerned about such rights. We can assume that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>were careful not to violate Mark Zuckerberg’s Rights of Privacy since the deep-pocketed Internet mogul has not sued them to date. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">False Light</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Lucida Sans Unicode';\">The tort of False Light is one of several torts under the category of invasion of privacy where a defendant is accused of spreading falsehoods about a plaintiff that would be considered objectionable by the average person.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> The film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther, </em>which, as mentioned above, was the focus of the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em>, also discussed the tort of False Light. The film integrated actors playing fictitious characters with actors playing the roles of the real-life leaders of the “Black Panther Party”, an organization that was formed in Oakland, California in 1966. The Plaintiff in the case, Bobby Seale, was the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Seale sued on the basis that the Defendants’ portrayal of him in the film placed him in a “false light” and therefore violated his common law Right of Privacy.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In the court’s analysis of the facts of the case it was recognized that <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em> did not purport to maintain strict fidelity to fact and primarily represented a work of entertainment as opposed to a fact-specific historical account of events. Hence why the court used the term “docudrama”. The court even acknowledged that there were certain scenes that were made up for dramatization, and other significant, perhaps even landmark moments in Seale’s life that were omitted. The court further ruled that during some moments in the film there were indeed elements that portrayed Seale in a “false light”. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">However, notwithstanding the above, the court ruled in favour of the filmmakers based on the court’s view that First Amendment constitutional protections have higher priority. The court stated that unless Seale could prove with <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">convincing clarity that the filmmakers acted with actual malice</span>, then “substantial accuracy” to the facts was enough to exonerate them. It is worthwhile to note that the film did not portray or reveal any private activities of Bobby Seale that were not already in the public domain.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, it seems that as long as you make a movie that is substantially accurate with respect to the facts of the individual’s life whom you are portraying, you can get away with utilizing the same artistic license that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>made use of. This is likely why Mr. Zuckerberg did not sue the film’s producers despite the fact that he did not agree with his portrayal as a nerdy social recluse who created Facebook to make friends and become “popular”. This reason alone would likely not be enough to win a lawsuit since the writers of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> used care to write a script that was substantially accurate with respect to the historical events that were portrayed.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\">1 of 3&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href=\"http://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg-part-2\">Next Page</a></p>\n<h3>RELATED LINK:</h3>\n<p><a href=\"/errors-omissions-insurance-101\" rel=\" noopener\">E&amp;O Insurance 101 &amp; How to Protect Your Film Project</a></p>\n<span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: medium;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"> </span></span>","postBodyRss":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n<!--more--><p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><img width=\"219\" title=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" align=\"right\" style=\"width: 219px; float: right;\" alt=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/tarek.jpg\"></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>&nbsp;</p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Well, to the surprise of some, the short answer is yes…in some cases. But while you may be among those that are surprised by this answer, it will likely not surprise you that the real answer to the question is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. As with most legal issues, to comprehensively answer the question posed, a more in-depth discussion is required.&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Furthermore, while it may be possible for you to make a movie about a famous person without getting sued, there are sound reasons why getting permission may still be the right choice for you. One such reason is the possible consequence to your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible, which could become much higher if you do not get permission.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In this article we will first review the legal issues involved when making a film like <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>, then we will look at some practical reasons for securing permission from the subject of your film, focusing on how it could affect your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What is a Docudrama?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Let us start by looking into what category of film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> falls under, and what the law has to say about it. While <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> was a movie that purported to be based on facts about actual people and events, it is safe to say that it is not a documentary. In other words, rather than attempting to accurately dissect the actual historical events that the film is based on, as is the typical approach of documentaries, <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> utilizes some artistic license in depicting select real-life historical events in a way that is intended to be appealing to drama-loving, movie-going audiences.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So what category of film applies to <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>? The answer is that it is a type of biopic commonly referred to as a “docudrama”. Docudramas have been judicially recognized in a number of U.S. court cases, including the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale v. Gramercy Pictures</em> <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">964 F.Supp. 918 (1997)</em>, which dealt with the motion picture entitled <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em>. In <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em> the court stated (my underlining for emphasis):</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">“…the film \"Panther\" is best categorized under the film genre of “docudrama.” He testified that the “key” to making a docudrama is to <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">capture the “essence” of an historical event and not necessarily to recreate for the audience every historical detail of that event.</span><span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>…such major motion pictures as “Ghandi” and “JFK” are appropriately classified as docudramas.”</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The court finds that the film “Panther” is a “docudrama” and not a “documentary” film. A docudrama is a “motion picture presenting a dramatic recreation or adaptation of actual events.”<span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>[...]<span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">It “is a dramatization of an historical event or lives of real people, using actors or actresses. Docudramas utilize simulated dialogue, composite characters, and a telescoping of events occurring over a period into a composite scene or scenes.”</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Clearly, by this definition <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> is a docudrama.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What Legal Issues Should You Look Out For?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Generally, when making docudramas about famous personalities, the legal issues to watch out for include Rights of Privacy, the tort of False Light, Rights of Publicity and the tort of Defamation. Let us now look at each of these issues in more detail.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">Rights of Privacy</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">The Right of Privacy is </span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: Verdana;\">the qualified legal right of an individual to have reasonable privacy in not having his or her private affairs made known or his or her likeness exhibited to the public having regard to that individual’s habits, mode of living, and occupation.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> In the case of deceased individuals, their Right of Privacy dies with them. This is not the case with living individuals, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. However, the First Amendment of the American Constitution allows docudrama filmmakers the right to make a movie about any living person without permission, so long as it does not violate his or her privacy rights or defame them. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The Right of Privacy can take several forms. For example, you cannot “out” someone in any way. In other words, you cannot reveal the private facts of someone’s life (i.e. facts that are not publicly known) or intrude into someone’s private space in the course of your filmmaking. However, if the matter is of public interest, you can reveal it. Generally, the courts have held that the more famous an individual is, the more likely the matter is in the interest of the public.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, in the case of famous living individuals, when making a docudrama about them you must be careful not to intrude on their Rights of Privacy, while with deceased individuals you need not be concerned about such rights. We can assume that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>were careful not to violate Mark Zuckerberg’s Rights of Privacy since the deep-pocketed Internet mogul has not sued them to date. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">False Light</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Lucida Sans Unicode';\">The tort of False Light is one of several torts under the category of invasion of privacy where a defendant is accused of spreading falsehoods about a plaintiff that would be considered objectionable by the average person.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> The film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther, </em>which, as mentioned above, was the focus of the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em>, also discussed the tort of False Light. The film integrated actors playing fictitious characters with actors playing the roles of the real-life leaders of the “Black Panther Party”, an organization that was formed in Oakland, California in 1966. The Plaintiff in the case, Bobby Seale, was the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Seale sued on the basis that the Defendants’ portrayal of him in the film placed him in a “false light” and therefore violated his common law Right of Privacy.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In the court’s analysis of the facts of the case it was recognized that <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em> did not purport to maintain strict fidelity to fact and primarily represented a work of entertainment as opposed to a fact-specific historical account of events. Hence why the court used the term “docudrama”. The court even acknowledged that there were certain scenes that were made up for dramatization, and other significant, perhaps even landmark moments in Seale’s life that were omitted. The court further ruled that during some moments in the film there were indeed elements that portrayed Seale in a “false light”. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">However, notwithstanding the above, the court ruled in favour of the filmmakers based on the court’s view that First Amendment constitutional protections have higher priority. The court stated that unless Seale could prove with <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">convincing clarity that the filmmakers acted with actual malice</span>, then “substantial accuracy” to the facts was enough to exonerate them. It is worthwhile to note that the film did not portray or reveal any private activities of Bobby Seale that were not already in the public domain.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, it seems that as long as you make a movie that is substantially accurate with respect to the facts of the individual’s life whom you are portraying, you can get away with utilizing the same artistic license that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>made use of. This is likely why Mr. Zuckerberg did not sue the film’s producers despite the fact that he did not agree with his portrayal as a nerdy social recluse who created Facebook to make friends and become “popular”. This reason alone would likely not be enough to win a lawsuit since the writers of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> used care to write a script that was substantially accurate with respect to the historical events that were portrayed.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\">1 of 3&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href=\"http://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg-part-2\">Next Page</a></p>\n<h3>RELATED LINK:</h3>\n<p><a href=\"/errors-omissions-insurance-101\" rel=\" noopener\">E&amp;O Insurance 101 &amp; How to Protect Your Film Project</a></p>\n<span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: medium;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"> </span>","postEmailContent":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n","postFeaturedImageIfEnabled":"","postListContent":"<span id=\"hs_cos_wrapper_post_body\" class=\"hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_rich_text\" style=\"\" data-hs-cos-general-type=\"meta_field\" data-hs-cos-type=\"rich_text\" ><em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n<!--more--><p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><img width=\"219\" title=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" align=\"right\" style=\"width: 219px; float: right;\" alt=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/tarek.jpg\"></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>&nbsp;</p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Well, to the surprise of some, the short answer is yes…in some cases. But while you may be among those that are surprised by this answer, it will likely not surprise you that the real answer to the question is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. As with most legal issues, to comprehensively answer the question posed, a more in-depth discussion is required.&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Furthermore, while it may be possible for you to make a movie about a famous person without getting sued, there are sound reasons why getting permission may still be the right choice for you. One such reason is the possible consequence to your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible, which could become much higher if you do not get permission.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In this article we will first review the legal issues involved when making a film like <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>, then we will look at some practical reasons for securing permission from the subject of your film, focusing on how it could affect your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What is a Docudrama?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Let us start by looking into what category of film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> falls under, and what the law has to say about it. While <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> was a movie that purported to be based on facts about actual people and events, it is safe to say that it is not a documentary. In other words, rather than attempting to accurately dissect the actual historical events that the film is based on, as is the typical approach of documentaries, <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> utilizes some artistic license in depicting select real-life historical events in a way that is intended to be appealing to drama-loving, movie-going audiences.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So what category of film applies to <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>? The answer is that it is a type of biopic commonly referred to as a “docudrama”. Docudramas have been judicially recognized in a number of U.S. court cases, including the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale v. Gramercy Pictures</em> <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">964 F.Supp. 918 (1997)</em>, which dealt with the motion picture entitled <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em>. In <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em> the court stated (my underlining for emphasis):</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">“…the film \"Panther\" is best categorized under the film genre of “docudrama.” He testified that the “key” to making a docudrama is to <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">capture the “essence” of an historical event and not necessarily to recreate for the audience every historical detail of that event.</span><span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>…such major motion pictures as “Ghandi” and “JFK” are appropriately classified as docudramas.”</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The court finds that the film “Panther” is a “docudrama” and not a “documentary” film. A docudrama is a “motion picture presenting a dramatic recreation or adaptation of actual events.”<span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>[...]<span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">It “is a dramatization of an historical event or lives of real people, using actors or actresses. Docudramas utilize simulated dialogue, composite characters, and a telescoping of events occurring over a period into a composite scene or scenes.”</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Clearly, by this definition <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> is a docudrama.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What Legal Issues Should You Look Out For?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Generally, when making docudramas about famous personalities, the legal issues to watch out for include Rights of Privacy, the tort of False Light, Rights of Publicity and the tort of Defamation. Let us now look at each of these issues in more detail.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">Rights of Privacy</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">The Right of Privacy is </span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: Verdana;\">the qualified legal right of an individual to have reasonable privacy in not having his or her private affairs made known or his or her likeness exhibited to the public having regard to that individual’s habits, mode of living, and occupation.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> In the case of deceased individuals, their Right of Privacy dies with them. This is not the case with living individuals, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. However, the First Amendment of the American Constitution allows docudrama filmmakers the right to make a movie about any living person without permission, so long as it does not violate his or her privacy rights or defame them. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The Right of Privacy can take several forms. For example, you cannot “out” someone in any way. In other words, you cannot reveal the private facts of someone’s life (i.e. facts that are not publicly known) or intrude into someone’s private space in the course of your filmmaking. However, if the matter is of public interest, you can reveal it. Generally, the courts have held that the more famous an individual is, the more likely the matter is in the interest of the public.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, in the case of famous living individuals, when making a docudrama about them you must be careful not to intrude on their Rights of Privacy, while with deceased individuals you need not be concerned about such rights. We can assume that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>were careful not to violate Mark Zuckerberg’s Rights of Privacy since the deep-pocketed Internet mogul has not sued them to date. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">False Light</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Lucida Sans Unicode';\">The tort of False Light is one of several torts under the category of invasion of privacy where a defendant is accused of spreading falsehoods about a plaintiff that would be considered objectionable by the average person.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> The film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther, </em>which, as mentioned above, was the focus of the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em>, also discussed the tort of False Light. The film integrated actors playing fictitious characters with actors playing the roles of the real-life leaders of the “Black Panther Party”, an organization that was formed in Oakland, California in 1966. The Plaintiff in the case, Bobby Seale, was the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Seale sued on the basis that the Defendants’ portrayal of him in the film placed him in a “false light” and therefore violated his common law Right of Privacy.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In the court’s analysis of the facts of the case it was recognized that <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em> did not purport to maintain strict fidelity to fact and primarily represented a work of entertainment as opposed to a fact-specific historical account of events. Hence why the court used the term “docudrama”. The court even acknowledged that there were certain scenes that were made up for dramatization, and other significant, perhaps even landmark moments in Seale’s life that were omitted. The court further ruled that during some moments in the film there were indeed elements that portrayed Seale in a “false light”. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">However, notwithstanding the above, the court ruled in favour of the filmmakers based on the court’s view that First Amendment constitutional protections have higher priority. The court stated that unless Seale could prove with <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">convincing clarity that the filmmakers acted with actual malice</span>, then “substantial accuracy” to the facts was enough to exonerate them. It is worthwhile to note that the film did not portray or reveal any private activities of Bobby Seale that were not already in the public domain.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, it seems that as long as you make a movie that is substantially accurate with respect to the facts of the individual’s life whom you are portraying, you can get away with utilizing the same artistic license that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>made use of. This is likely why Mr. Zuckerberg did not sue the film’s producers despite the fact that he did not agree with his portrayal as a nerdy social recluse who created Facebook to make friends and become “popular”. This reason alone would likely not be enough to win a lawsuit since the writers of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> used care to write a script that was substantially accurate with respect to the historical events that were portrayed.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\">1 of 3&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href=\"http://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg-part-2\">Next Page</a></p>\n<h3>RELATED LINK:</h3>\n<p><a href=\"/errors-omissions-insurance-101\" rel=\" noopener\">E&amp;O Insurance 101 &amp; How to Protect Your Film Project</a></p>\n<span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: medium;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"> </span></span>","postListSummaryFeaturedImage":"","postRssContent":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n","postRssSummaryFeaturedImage":"","postSummary":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n","postSummaryRss":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n","postTemplate":"prox_frontrow/templates/blog/blog-post.html","previewImageSrc":null,"previewKey":"ryF9AHcU","previousPostFeaturedImage":"","previousPostFeaturedImageAltText":"","previousPostName":"The Delicate Art of Making a Bio Pic w/o Getting Permission (Part 2)","previousPostSlug":"articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg-part-2","processingStatus":"PUBLISHED","propertyForDynamicPageCanonicalUrl":null,"propertyForDynamicPageFeaturedImage":null,"propertyForDynamicPageMetaDescription":null,"propertyForDynamicPageSlug":null,"propertyForDynamicPageTitle":null,"publicAccessRules":[],"publicAccessRulesEnabled":false,"publishDate":1435250242000,"publishDateLocalTime":1435250242000,"publishDateLocalized":{"date":1435250242000,"format":"medium","language":"en_US"},"publishImmediately":true,"publishTimezoneOffset":null,"publishedAt":1649095023488,"publishedByEmail":null,"publishedById":7915797,"publishedByName":null,"publishedUrl":"https://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg","resolvedDomain":"www.frontrowinsurance.com","resolvedLanguage":"en","rssBody":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n<!--more--><p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><img width=\"219\" title=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" align=\"right\" style=\"width: 219px; float: right;\" alt=\"Tarek Elneweihi\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/tarek.jpg\"></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>&nbsp;</p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Well, to the surprise of some, the short answer is yes…in some cases. But while you may be among those that are surprised by this answer, it will likely not surprise you that the real answer to the question is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. As with most legal issues, to comprehensively answer the question posed, a more in-depth discussion is required.&nbsp;</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Furthermore, while it may be possible for you to make a movie about a famous person without getting sued, there are sound reasons why getting permission may still be the right choice for you. One such reason is the possible consequence to your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible, which could become much higher if you do not get permission.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In this article we will first review the legal issues involved when making a film like <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>, then we will look at some practical reasons for securing permission from the subject of your film, focusing on how it could affect your <a href=\"/sectors/e-o-insurance\" rel=\"noopener\">E&amp;O insurance</a> deductible.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What is a Docudrama?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Let us start by looking into what category of film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> falls under, and what the law has to say about it. While <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> was a movie that purported to be based on facts about actual people and events, it is safe to say that it is not a documentary. In other words, rather than attempting to accurately dissect the actual historical events that the film is based on, as is the typical approach of documentaries, <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> utilizes some artistic license in depicting select real-life historical events in a way that is intended to be appealing to drama-loving, movie-going audiences.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So what category of film applies to <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em>? The answer is that it is a type of biopic commonly referred to as a “docudrama”. Docudramas have been judicially recognized in a number of U.S. court cases, including the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale v. Gramercy Pictures</em> <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">964 F.Supp. 918 (1997)</em>, which dealt with the motion picture entitled <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em>. In <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em> the court stated (my underlining for emphasis):</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">“…the film \"Panther\" is best categorized under the film genre of “docudrama.” He testified that the “key” to making a docudrama is to <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">capture the “essence” of an historical event and not necessarily to recreate for the audience every historical detail of that event.</span><span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>…such major motion pictures as “Ghandi” and “JFK” are appropriately classified as docudramas.”</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt 36pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The court finds that the film “Panther” is a “docudrama” and not a “documentary” film. A docudrama is a “motion picture presenting a dramatic recreation or adaptation of actual events.”<span style=\"font-family: Candara;\" face=\"Candara\"><span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span>[...]<span style=\"mso-spacerun: yes;\">&nbsp; </span><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">It “is a dramatization of an historical event or lives of real people, using actors or actresses. Docudramas utilize simulated dialogue, composite characters, and a telescoping of events occurring over a period into a composite scene or scenes.”</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Clearly, by this definition <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> is a docudrama.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><strong style=\"mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">What Legal Issues Should You Look Out For?</span></span></span></span></strong></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">Generally, when making docudramas about famous personalities, the legal issues to watch out for include Rights of Privacy, the tort of False Light, Rights of Publicity and the tort of Defamation. Let us now look at each of these issues in more detail.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">Rights of Privacy</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">The Right of Privacy is </span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: Verdana;\">the qualified legal right of an individual to have reasonable privacy in not having his or her private affairs made known or his or her likeness exhibited to the public having regard to that individual’s habits, mode of living, and occupation.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> In the case of deceased individuals, their Right of Privacy dies with them. This is not the case with living individuals, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. However, the First Amendment of the American Constitution allows docudrama filmmakers the right to make a movie about any living person without permission, so long as it does not violate his or her privacy rights or defame them. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">The Right of Privacy can take several forms. For example, you cannot “out” someone in any way. In other words, you cannot reveal the private facts of someone’s life (i.e. facts that are not publicly known) or intrude into someone’s private space in the course of your filmmaking. However, if the matter is of public interest, you can reveal it. Generally, the courts have held that the more famous an individual is, the more likely the matter is in the interest of the public.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, in the case of famous living individuals, when making a docudrama about them you must be careful not to intrude on their Rights of Privacy, while with deceased individuals you need not be concerned about such rights. We can assume that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>were careful not to violate Mark Zuckerberg’s Rights of Privacy since the deep-pocketed Internet mogul has not sued them to date. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 36pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\">False Light</span></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Lucida Sans Unicode';\">The tort of False Light is one of several torts under the category of invasion of privacy where a defendant is accused of spreading falsehoods about a plaintiff that would be considered objectionable by the average person.</span><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"> The film <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther, </em>which, as mentioned above, was the focus of the case of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Seale</em>, also discussed the tort of False Light. The film integrated actors playing fictitious characters with actors playing the roles of the real-life leaders of the “Black Panther Party”, an organization that was formed in Oakland, California in 1966. The Plaintiff in the case, Bobby Seale, was the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Seale sued on the basis that the Defendants’ portrayal of him in the film placed him in a “false light” and therefore violated his common law Right of Privacy.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">In the court’s analysis of the facts of the case it was recognized that <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">Panther</em> did not purport to maintain strict fidelity to fact and primarily represented a work of entertainment as opposed to a fact-specific historical account of events. Hence why the court used the term “docudrama”. The court even acknowledged that there were certain scenes that were made up for dramatization, and other significant, perhaps even landmark moments in Seale’s life that were omitted. The court further ruled that during some moments in the film there were indeed elements that portrayed Seale in a “false light”. </span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">However, notwithstanding the above, the court ruled in favour of the filmmakers based on the court’s view that First Amendment constitutional protections have higher priority. The court stated that unless Seale could prove with <span style=\"text-decoration: underline;\">convincing clarity that the filmmakers acted with actual malice</span>, then “substantial accuracy” to the facts was enough to exonerate them. It is worthwhile to note that the film did not portray or reveal any private activities of Bobby Seale that were not already in the public domain.</span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 12pt 0cm 10pt; text-align: justify; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, it seems that as long as you make a movie that is substantially accurate with respect to the facts of the individual’s life whom you are portraying, you can get away with utilizing the same artistic license that the creators of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network </em>made use of. This is likely why Mr. Zuckerberg did not sue the film’s producers despite the fact that he did not agree with his portrayal as a nerdy social recluse who created Facebook to make friends and become “popular”. This reason alone would likely not be enough to win a lawsuit since the writers of <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> used care to write a script that was substantially accurate with respect to the historical events that were portrayed.<br><br></span></span></span></p>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; -ms-text-justify: inter-ideograph;\">1 of 3&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href=\"http://www.frontrowinsurance.com/articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg-part-2\">Next Page</a></p>\n<h3>RELATED LINK:</h3>\n<p><a href=\"/errors-omissions-insurance-101\" rel=\" noopener\">E&amp;O Insurance 101 &amp; How to Protect Your Film Project</a></p>\n<span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: Times New Roman; font-size: medium;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"> </span>","rssSummary":"<em><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 14px;\" face=\"Times New Roman\" size=\"3\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.<br></span></span></span></em>\n<h2><span>Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?</span></h2>\n<h2><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 10pt;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><span lang=\"EN-US\" style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif';\"><span style=\"font-size: medium;\" size=\"3\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\"><img title=\"Jeff Young\" align=\"left\" style=\"float: left;\" alt=\"Jeff Young\" src=\"http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/61352/Jeff_Young.jpeg\"><span style=\"font-family: Times New Roman;\" face=\"Times New Roman\"> </span></span></span></span></span></span></h2>\n<p class=\"MsoNormal\" style=\"margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"font-family: 'Candara','sans-serif'; font-size: 16px;\"><span style=\"color: #000000;\" color=\"#000000\">So, after seeing <em style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal;\">The Social Network</em> you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued? </span></span></p>\n","rssSummaryFeaturedImage":"","scheduledUpdateDate":0,"screenshotPreviewTakenAt":1660068533922,"screenshotPreviewUrl":"https://cdn1.hubspot.net/hubshotv3/prod/e/0/1e0b1b87-6106-4091-ad30-5add129545e4.png","sections":{},"securityState":"NONE","siteId":0,"slug":"articles/how-can-you-make-a-film-like-the-social-network-without-getting-permission-from-mark-zuckerberg","stagedFrom":null,"state":"PUBLISHED","stateWhenDeleted":null,"styleOverrideId":null,"subcategory":"normal_blog_post","syncedWithBlogRoot":true,"tagIds":[949708924,949709454,2961176071,3018572197,3018617752,3023994434],"tagList":[{"categoryId":0,"cdnPurgeEmbargoTime":null,"contentIds":[],"cosObjectType":"TAG","created":1401901730000,"deletedAt":0,"description":"","id":949708924,"label":"Film Producer's E&O Insurance","language":"en","name":"Film Producer's E&O 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The Delicate Art of Making a Bio Pic without Getting Permission

This article is written for the sole purpose of providing general legal information and education and is not intended as a legal opinion specific to the laws of your jurisdiction.

Can you make a documentary (or any film) about someone without their permission?

Jeff Young

So, after seeing The Social Network you decide that you too want to make a film about a famous person’s life, but you are not sure whether you will be able to get his or her permission. Is it possible for you to go ahead and make the film without getting the individual’s permission and without getting sued?

Tarek Elneweihi

 

Well, to the surprise of some, the short answer is yes…in some cases. But while you may be among those that are surprised by this answer, it will likely not surprise you that the real answer to the question is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”. As with most legal issues, to comprehensively answer the question posed, a more in-depth discussion is required. 

Furthermore, while it may be possible for you to make a movie about a famous person without getting sued, there are sound reasons why getting permission may still be the right choice for you. One such reason is the possible consequence to your E&O insurance deductible, which could become much higher if you do not get permission.

In this article we will first review the legal issues involved when making a film like The Social Network, then we will look at some practical reasons for securing permission from the subject of your film, focusing on how it could affect your E&O insurance deductible.

What is a Docudrama?

Let us start by looking into what category of film The Social Network falls under, and what the law has to say about it. While The Social Network was a movie that purported to be based on facts about actual people and events, it is safe to say that it is not a documentary. In other words, rather than attempting to accurately dissect the actual historical events that the film is based on, as is the typical approach of documentaries, The Social Network utilizes some artistic license in depicting select real-life historical events in a way that is intended to be appealing to drama-loving, movie-going audiences.

So what category of film applies to The Social Network? The answer is that it is a type of biopic commonly referred to as a “docudrama”. Docudramas have been judicially recognized in a number of U.S. court cases, including the case of Seale v. Gramercy Pictures 964 F.Supp. 918 (1997), which dealt with the motion picture entitled Panther. In Seale the court stated (my underlining for emphasis):

“…the film "Panther" is best categorized under the film genre of “docudrama.” He testified that the “key” to making a docudrama is to capture the “essence” of an historical event and not necessarily to recreate for the audience every historical detail of that event.  …such major motion pictures as “Ghandi” and “JFK” are appropriately classified as docudramas.”

The court finds that the film “Panther” is a “docudrama” and not a “documentary” film. A docudrama is a “motion picture presenting a dramatic recreation or adaptation of actual events.”  [...]  It “is a dramatization of an historical event or lives of real people, using actors or actresses. Docudramas utilize simulated dialogue, composite characters, and a telescoping of events occurring over a period into a composite scene or scenes.”

Clearly, by this definition The Social Network is a docudrama.

What Legal Issues Should You Look Out For?

Generally, when making docudramas about famous personalities, the legal issues to watch out for include Rights of Privacy, the tort of False Light, Rights of Publicity and the tort of Defamation. Let us now look at each of these issues in more detail.

Rights of Privacy

The Right of Privacy is the qualified legal right of an individual to have reasonable privacy in not having his or her private affairs made known or his or her likeness exhibited to the public having regard to that individual’s habits, mode of living, and occupation. In the case of deceased individuals, their Right of Privacy dies with them. This is not the case with living individuals, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. However, the First Amendment of the American Constitution allows docudrama filmmakers the right to make a movie about any living person without permission, so long as it does not violate his or her privacy rights or defame them.

The Right of Privacy can take several forms. For example, you cannot “out” someone in any way. In other words, you cannot reveal the private facts of someone’s life (i.e. facts that are not publicly known) or intrude into someone’s private space in the course of your filmmaking. However, if the matter is of public interest, you can reveal it. Generally, the courts have held that the more famous an individual is, the more likely the matter is in the interest of the public.

So, in the case of famous living individuals, when making a docudrama about them you must be careful not to intrude on their Rights of Privacy, while with deceased individuals you need not be concerned about such rights. We can assume that the creators of The Social Network were careful not to violate Mark Zuckerberg’s Rights of Privacy since the deep-pocketed Internet mogul has not sued them to date.

False Light

The tort of False Light is one of several torts under the category of invasion of privacy where a defendant is accused of spreading falsehoods about a plaintiff that would be considered objectionable by the average person. The film Panther, which, as mentioned above, was the focus of the case of Seale, also discussed the tort of False Light. The film integrated actors playing fictitious characters with actors playing the roles of the real-life leaders of the “Black Panther Party”, an organization that was formed in Oakland, California in 1966. The Plaintiff in the case, Bobby Seale, was the co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Seale sued on the basis that the Defendants’ portrayal of him in the film placed him in a “false light” and therefore violated his common law Right of Privacy.

In the court’s analysis of the facts of the case it was recognized that Panther did not purport to maintain strict fidelity to fact and primarily represented a work of entertainment as opposed to a fact-specific historical account of events. Hence why the court used the term “docudrama”. The court even acknowledged that there were certain scenes that were made up for dramatization, and other significant, perhaps even landmark moments in Seale’s life that were omitted. The court further ruled that during some moments in the film there were indeed elements that portrayed Seale in a “false light”.

However, notwithstanding the above, the court ruled in favour of the filmmakers based on the court’s view that First Amendment constitutional protections have higher priority. The court stated that unless Seale could prove with convincing clarity that the filmmakers acted with actual malice, then “substantial accuracy” to the facts was enough to exonerate them. It is worthwhile to note that the film did not portray or reveal any private activities of Bobby Seale that were not already in the public domain.

So, it seems that as long as you make a movie that is substantially accurate with respect to the facts of the individual’s life whom you are portraying, you can get away with utilizing the same artistic license that the creators of The Social Network made use of. This is likely why Mr. Zuckerberg did not sue the film’s producers despite the fact that he did not agree with his portrayal as a nerdy social recluse who created Facebook to make friends and become “popular”. This reason alone would likely not be enough to win a lawsuit since the writers of The Social Network used care to write a script that was substantially accurate with respect to the historical events that were portrayed.

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