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Hi i spent years making a feature length film and 95% of my closing credits are fake, is this illegal?

Dover, NJ |

I will be selling it on DVD, unrated, strong language, upc bar code i purchased

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

It depends on what you mean by "fake." If you are using names of celebrities and actual people who did not work on the film, you may have some issues.

If you are creating fake names and positions like is done in many comedy movies then you are likely okay.

This may also violate the terms of the agreements you have with your talent/crew.

You should present your fake credits to an attorney to review for any possible liability that may arise.

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Posted

Your question is not clear. What do you mean that the credits are "fake"? Are you associating actual people to your project that were not involved? This may get you in legal trouble. Consult with an entertainment attorney.

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Posted

I agree with my coilleagues that there's ok fake, for the sake of comedy and/or contractual or requested anonymity ("Alan Smithee"), and not ok fake, where you're violating people's rights and/or passing off your film's cast and/or crew as other people.

You're already pushing the envelope with no rating and strong language, so you're in this business for the long haul and are planning for success, see a lawyer ASAP to practice some preventative law and "vet" your film and make sure it doesn't expose you to an increased risk of liability.

Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.

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11 comments

Asker

Posted

They're fake because i did all the work (editing, sound, animation, writing, music, and i starred in it, all me no one else; and i need closing credits at the end.

Asker

Posted

Forget about fake credits, you don't need them. What you need is a good story, that's it. I'm guessing if you're so concerned about closing credits to make your film look "real", then you probably don't have any story sense. If your film is actually good, then take all the credit you can get.

Pamela Koslyn

Pamela Koslyn

Posted

Agreed. Take credit for jobs well done, if appropriate. But get this film vetted. by a professional

Molly Cristin Hansen

Molly Cristin Hansen

Posted

I agree. If you did all the work, why not take credit for it? Or, if you feel strongly about the need to use more than one name, why not follow the lead of some famous Hollywood hyphenates and use variations of your own name for the various positions that you held (e.g., use your acting name for your acting, your full birth name for the director or producer position, another version of your name for the editing position, etc.) rather than trying to come up with "fake" names that could get you into trouble?

Asker

Posted

I've seen 10,000 movies on dvd never one without closing credits and it adds 5 minutes to the running time. I'm better off taking anything questionable out, this way I can say this is all my original work, no questions asked... besides that the only thing that worries me is money 8^)

Asker

Posted

As for the credits i think i'll look into Bruce E. Burdick's "Thats OK provided theyre original as well as fake. If you are falsely claiming association with some real person, you are illegal. How and how much you sell is mostly a damages issue" Thanks very helpful, i wish i could talk to y'all all day, bye bye

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

So, why not just run 5 minutes of credits with you listed for everything. That would be hilarious and make the point in a funny way. I seem to remember a film where someone did that.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

And since I remember that, it proves that it would be memorable (at least to me).

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

Then close with a group shot where everyone is you, kind of like the famous Joint Chiefs of Staff spoof where John Wayne was every one of them.

Asker

Posted

Well you put your ideas onto paper and it might be pointless to reread them a million times but you could think about the lifetime of work it would take to get them onto video.

Asker

Posted

Well you put your ideas onto paper and it might be pointless to reread them a million times but you could think about the lifetime of work it would take to get them onto video.

Posted

That is OK provided they are original as well as fake. If you are falsely claiming association with some real person, you are illegal. How and how much you sell is mostly a damages issue. If this is a business for you, you need to run the specifics by an IP attorney handling copyrights. Otherwise, some studio people may get offended and even Picatinney Arsenal could not help you.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

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2 comments

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

So, why not just run 5 minutes of credits with great music and with you listed for everything, page after page after page. That would be hilarious and make the point in a funny way. I seem to remember a film where someone did that.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

Then close with a group shot where everyone is you, kind of like the famous Joint Chiefs of Staff spoof where John Wayne was every one of them.

Posted

I think you've gotten the legal answer from the previous attorneys, but what I'd like to know is why you would want to create fake credits in the first place? The only thing I can think of is for comedic purposes, as mentioned in some of the answers. Is that your purpose?

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1 comment

Bennett Jay Fidlow

Bennett Jay Fidlow

Posted

By the way, no one has mentioned that if you happened to sign any union collective bargaining agreements relating to your film, most unions have very specific credit requirements, so you may also run into union problems by using fake credits.