One of the goals of SCA is to support the maximum exposure of Student-Produced Works while providing certain legal protections to the student and the crew. To that end, SCA has developed a copyright policy to help students learn and prosper while also providing some of the legal protections needed to navigate the entertainment industry.

  • Underlying Rights. Students retain the underlying rights of Student-Produced Work. If a student develops a feature of a short later in their career, they do not need USC's permission to sell or distribute it. Even though USC may own the copyright rights to an audiovisual work using substantial USC resources, the student retains ownership of intellectual property rights (including copyright rights) to the underlying script, idea, treatment, concept or other written work product related to any such audiovisual work.
  • Student-Produced Works. In general, intellectual property in any work produced at USC that uses substantial University resources is protected under a USC copyright and owned by USC. However, works produced that do not require USC resources, such as funds, equipment, guild agreements or insurance, may fall under other arrangements.

The Benefits of Having a USC Copyright

There are many positives to being protected under a USC Copyright.

  • Workman's Comp and Errors and Omissions Insurance. Students and their work produced through SCA, are protected by Workman's Compensation insurance and with Errors and Omissions insurance (referred to in industry as E & O insurance) provided by USC. These are difficult to get and very costly for individuals. E & O insurance is something few students even know about, but it is generally required by companies who want to distribute or further develop your work.
  • SAG Agreement. The School of Cinematic Arts has an agreement with the Screen Actor's Guild, which protects the student when using SAG Actors in their projects.
  • Help with Distribution. SCA's Office of Student Industry Relations helps distribute student work in festivals and on Internet sites. This office is available to sign the necessary forms for festivals and sites that require permission of the copyright holder.
  • Revenue Distribution and Deals. If a Student-Produced Work with a USC copyright generates revenue, SCA has developed a procedure to make sure that the students are compensated fairly and are protected legally.

For more information, please contact StudentServices@cinema.usc.edu.