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Paramount Pictures Makes Licensing Easy

If you’ve ever worked on a clip show, or any show that requires lots and lots of clips from movies or television you know the search can be painfully slow and expensive.

When producing a clip based show, you have ideas of what clips would work but unless you actually see the footage in the rough cut, it’s a gamble as to whether or not they will work in your story.  Typically, you’ll have your researcher, associate producer, or production assistant contact the studios to inquire if the footage is available for licensing, send a letter of intent and then pay for a screener.  The screener will usually arrive within a day or a week depending on how many other orders the one studio person assigned to rights and clearances has to fill.  If you’re in a hurry, be prepared to plead with said studio person on the phone hoping he or she will understand that your project is more important than any other order.

Meanwhile, back at the production offices, the producer and the editor are ‘pacing’ the edit room wondering where the heck the footage is because the story their telling depends on whether the footage will work, and of course they won’t know that until they see it.  When the screener finally arrives, it’s got the biggest visual time code embedded into the clip to ensure you don’t ‘steal’ the footage.  The clip from the screener won’t be replaced with clean footage until everyone has signed off on the rough cut, and if your delivery deadline is approaching you may just be biting the last of your finger nails waiting for the clean footage.  It takes time to get a clean copy of the footage, rights have to negotiated with the studio and with each actor that appears in the clip, contracts will need to be signed and in some cases the studio will have to pull the original footage out of a vault just to get a print made and duplicated onto a format you need.

As you can see, in a production if you’re using clips you practically need a department devoted to securing clips and obtaining the rights and clearances. That’s why I was happily surprised to see that Paramount Pictures has decided to make the process easier.  I don’t believe it was out of sense of altruism, but rather due to declining DVD sales and poor box office revenues. I’m sure someone said, “Hey we’ve got a gold mine in the basement vaults, let’s make the process easier and make some money.”

By logging onto, you can search for the exact clip you want with the licensing parameters you need.  Once you’ve located the clip, press the checkout button and you’re done. Paramount will electronically deliver the selection in the format and resolution desired. Most scenes are available in multiple languages.

I love when companies use technology to make the process easier.

What kind of technology makes your production work easier?

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. kim hill

    thanks for the link, but because I don’t have a contact at Paramount, it’s not allowing me to sign up. I’m trying to get clearance to use a 11 clip of Jimmy Stewart (from It’s a Wonderful Life) on the front of an independent artist Christmas cd. any idea who I can ask for help? I’m a Nashville recording artist and would appreciate any tips or help….. contact of someone I can hire to do it if that’s what I need to do.
    thank you, kim hill

  2. Maria Lokken

    Hi Kim:

    Call Paramount directly and ask for their film licensing department. They’ll be able to help you and give you a price.

  3. Paul Bongiorno

    Hi Maria.

    Rather than a clip I’m wanting to contact the licensing department for only a still(s) of a movie.

    Unfortunately I haven’t found a viable site, source to point me in the right direction/contact.

    I was hoping you could help if possible.

    Thank you for your time.



  4. Chuck Felts

    I’m working with Sara Roberts, Senior City Librarian, E.P. Foster Public Library, 651 E. Main St., Ventura, CA, 93001, (805) 648-2715, to put on a twelve-week Saturday Matinee Film Program during Summer of 2013. It would show Saturday afternoons in the Topping Room of the library. The intended audience is kids from seven to seventy. I’m a 69 year old kid, myself. No admission would be charged, no concessions would be sold.

    The program would be modeled after the Saturday morning screenings I attended at the Center Theater in Hickory, NC, during the 1950s with cartoons, comedy short subjects, newsreels, B-features and serials. The serial I would like to use to tie the program together is Republic Pictures’ 1949 chapter play, “King of the Rocket Men,” my personal favorite.

    I’m following the instructions included in the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) package to secure screening permission. I emailed ( Tommy Hildreth of Comet Video, Franklin, NC, listed as the most recent DVD licensee, but have not received a reply. Wikipedia lists Paramount as the current parent corporation of Republic Pictures and their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) answer led me to Paramount Licensing. I had surmised as much, having attended the Republic Pictures 75th Anniversary Celebration at CBS Studio City with a lady friend. I found your email address at the Licensing Web site.

    If I can secure permission to screen “King of the Rocket Men,” I may also contact you for permission to show other Republic Pictures’ movies, such as “Under California Skies,” with Roy Rogers and “Tobor the Great”
    as part of the program.

  5. Lisa Ryan

    I am trying to get permission for a one time showing of the 1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” starring Jeff Bridges, Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and Distributed by Paramount.
    This showing would be part of the Dexter District Libraries Adult Summer Reading Program and would probably be for 30 to 40 adult patrons.
    This film is not listed on my movie licensing site and Paramount is not listed on my list of producers and Distributors whose works are available for use by public libraries. Please advise if this is possible, any fees attached to the showing of this movie and what the procedure is for obtaining permision. Thank You, Lisa Ryan, Head of Adult Services, Dexter District Library.(Dexter, Michigan)

  6. George Collins

    Dear Maria,
    I can be reached at 310 691 6805. I am the consultant for a new TV platform call IPTV (Internet Protocol Television). We will launch in June of this year. We are located at 3460 Wilshire Blvd Suite 1105.
    Currently we are seeking broadcast licenses for movies from various studios in Los Angeles, Paramount, Universal, MGM etc.

    I am assuming your company has some exclusive agreement where I can come to you and you can guide me through the process of acquiring the movie contact we need and want to air on or channel..
    Please tell me your costs for your services and how soon we can acquire content from Paramount pics.

    regards George Collins

  7. John-James

    hello…i need to get clearance of a scene in “Days of Thunder” for the production i am working, please advise me on how to go about it…many thanks

  8. Jacqui

    Hi Maria
    I am trying to find out if I need a licence for a piece of music to run in the background of my home page of my website…
    Would love it if you could point me in the right direction.
    The piece of music I am after is “Moon River” sung by Audrey Hepburn in “breakfast at tiffanys” I have been told that paramount might have it however I can’t find an email to contact, and to be honest hit a wall.
    I would just like the music, no images or footage.
    I am in Australia.
    Any help in the right direction would be greatly appreciated:-)

  9. Maria

    Hi Jacqui –

    You’ll first have to get the licensing from the music publisher – Sony/ATV. They can direct you if you need any further licensing.

    The contact in Australia is:

    Hope this helps.

  10. Teresa


    I’m looking to gain copyright access to show the DVD of the original film “Grease” in our small theatre to a group of people. There will be no admission fee and it will be a one-time showing. Please point me in the right direction.



  11. DeAndre Davis

    Hey I am an artist and I am looking to use a scene from juice in my music I want to make sure I do it the right way and get the licences for it not 100% sure how to go about doing that though…can you please help need this to happen as soon as possible

  12. Daniel Velazco

    Hello Maria:

    I would like to get a license to sell scale models of the TOS Enterprise, who should I contact?

    Thank you in advance.

  13. Anthony Barnett

    I have deconstructed a scene from It’s A Wonderful Life using 27 stills for a book on Filmmaking that I hope to publish.

    As I understand it – the film used to be in The Public Domain – but was re copyrighted for its music and storyline.

    Does that mean images are free? If not who do I get a price from for permission to publish 27 stills?


  14. Jonathan Green

    Hi Maria
    I would like to enquire about licensing the IP of one of your films for a book and roleplaying game. Who do I need to contact to discuss that?
    Jonathan Green

    1. Maria

      Sorry, Johnathan – I don’t understand your question. I don’t have any films.

  15. Craig Pias

    Maria, who(m) would i talk to concerning the likeness if a character, to be made into a statue?

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