Author: Sidharth Dev, Student at National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
Disclaimers can be used as a barrier to get protection by law as well as a medium to protect and promote law. The usage of the disclaimers arised mainly to prevent possibilities of law suits such as Defamation that may cause loss to production, as well as a symbol showing the maker’s stand on incidents shown in movies but not allowed to practice. Disclaimers acts as a factors which differentiating a representation from justification and glorification, the incident of the movie “Rasputin and the Empress” (1932) shown various chances of getting legal actions by not using such proper disclaimers, or lack of explaining their stand
Disclaimers based on attacks over animals are also widely used. It was mainly introduced, as due to the practical effects of moviemaking several animals were treated badly and used dangerously, and protests were rised against them. The movie Jessie James (1939) became a catalyst for this process, which led to the agreement resulted in controlling of AHA over moviemaking and their disclaimers. And AHA released their Guidelines to be followed to certify a film, which were a burden for production but necessary for animal safety. It ensures presence of certified animal-trainers with animals for their safety. It also ensures safety for non-acting animals like stray animals and pet animals and presence of several other professionals for comfort of animals. And AHA will provide their certificate for the movies which followed their guidelines and for those who put disclaimers without the knowledge of AHA, will get a cease-and-desist letter from AHA to remove those disclaimers and avoiding the letter may lead to legal action. In India as well, the animal protection had been a serious factor to be kept in mind while making a movie. Performing Animal (Registration) Rules as well as several court orders are visible factors of the need of protection of animals while filming a movie.
Presence of long disclaimers to cover all possible loopholes is a common thing in movies nowadays. And in earlier, responsible agencies are the one who promoted the use of disclaimers in movies. The emerging of new kind of disclaimers are connected which new kind of complaints rised against the movies, disclaimers are managing to cover those complaints and possible negative influences in future projects. And, later an agency itself formed (DMCRC) to collect the complaints and shows the presence of increasing complaints based on religious and traditional issues. The increase in usage of disclaimers is having two advantages one is of to avoid several legal actions and other is to use this to apply the creative freedom in the movie. The disclaimers also increases as more movies are made about real incidents, so as chances of cases increases disclaimers will make the maker’s side stronger. And it is better to use precised words in disclaimers and wrong names to represent real life places and institutions. The tendency of learning from previous mistakes, led to the evolution of disclaimers, in its size and content shown in movies.