This Thesis examines the reform of the law governing personal property security interests in copyright and the film financing model. It is uncertain in the law governing personal property security interests in copyright whether a secured party must register the security interest in the personal property security registration system or register of copyrights or both in order to perfect that interest. This Thesis examines whether there is a need to reform the law given that the uncertainty in the law has remained for over a decade and certain industries, such as the film financing industry has operated despite the legal uncertainty.
The first Chapter establishes a three part theoretical framework for the next three chapters; Chapter 2 sets out the legislation governing security interests in copyright, the relevant caselaw, and proposals for the reform of the law; Chapter 3 reviews film financing transactions; Chapter 4 reviews the law reform efforts; and Chapter 5 sets out the conclusion and recommendations. These Chapters develop the central argument of this Thesis that the uncertainty in the law has little practical impact on secured financing transactions in the film industry, which predominantly uses security interests in copyright.
In light of this, in order to strengthen investment in the new intellectual property based economy, the film finance model, in particular, the role of the completion guarantor and government tax credits/subsidies, should be carefully considered as an effective way to leverage intellectual property in other industries, rather than simply reforming the law which may be costly and not have the intended effect.
This Thesis concludes that if the law is reformed, the federal model for reform would, on balance, satisfy the underpinning interests of intellectual property law and achieve the ideals of completeness, systemization and certainty sought in personal property security legislation. In particular, this Thesis recommends resolving the legal uncertainty by requiring registration of a personal property security interest in copyright in the register of copyrights only and not the personal property security registration system or both.
This Thesis cautions that the practical benefits of further reforming the law by introducing a new federal secured transactions system are unclear and may be unconstitutional. The examination of the law reform process in this Thesis suggests that the uncertainty is more of a legal problem rather than a business obstacle. As a result, the reform of the law and resolution of that uncertainty may not significantly strengthen investment in the innovation sector.