QLD Producing Drivers Licence Props for Movie Production Company?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Smartcardco, 25 February 2019.

  1. Smartcardco

    Smartcardco Member

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    We are a plastic card printer and have recently been approached by a movie production company to help produce driver licence props to use in film production.

    They’ve designed the file which is similar to the actual drivers licence. How do I ensure we are not breaking any laws by printing this for them?

    This time the state is QLD but also wondering if laws are different in each state.
     
  2. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    Please bear in mind for this response, I do not practice in criminal law:

    The laws will be different in each state, but I suspect they will be loosely similar.

    In Queensland, the offence of forgery has as a necessary element "with intent to defraud". So, it's not just enough to prove that you forged a document - the prosecution would also need to prove that you did so for the purposes of committing a fraudulent activity. Given that you have what appears to be a reasonable excuse, I'd consider that you'd be unlikely to run into trouble.

    To be on the safe side, I'd suggest you get sufficient assurance that these people are actually a movie production company and not just saying they are, and that that assurance needs to be in writing from them.
     
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  3. Adam1user

    Adam1user Well-Known Member

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    In addition to Rob 's comment, I can add: this is your business and your life, so it is worth investing some money to have a sit down with a lawyer in your state to see the implications, and do a quick search maybe for the ABN may give you some indication if this is a company and do a google search. These are the things I would do before I head out to talk to a lawyer.
    I hope this helped.
     
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  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    You stay out of trouble by refusing the work.
    Or by insisting on a design that is radically and obviously different from the real thing.
    But I assume that you want the business, and the repeat business,
    and to enter the prop supply market in the Film and TV industry.

    I agree with @Rob Legat - SBPL above... in particular, be quite sure that they are
    a bona fide film production company. This is not difficult, but it is all on you to check.

    I would add that in addition to fraud, you might also be in the realm of what we in NSW
    call (for short) the offence of "Make And Use False Instrument".

    As a general proposition, and subject to facts, circumstances, ifs, buts, maybes, unlesses and exceptions,
    it can sometimes be a defence to a charge in the ballpark of "Make And use False Instrument"
    that the thing in question was genuinely created for "theatrical" or "entertainment" purposes.
    Proof of that would typically lie with the person charged.

    I also agree with Rob's advice about consulting the department that issues Drivers Licences.
    Given that you are probably not the first person to ever ask the question,
    you never know, they might have existing policy about using replica documents in film and TV.

    Understand that if prosecuted, your ignorance, and/or naivety, and/or failure to properly check,
    and/or your blindly taking their word for who they are and what they want them for,
    cannot be relied on to work as a defence.
     
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  5. Scruff

    Scruff Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to consider is how many are they asking you to produce and what details do they want on them. If it's any more than one or two with details or any number at all without details then I would be extremely suspicious and tell them to go elsewhere. In fact I'd take it a step further than that and grab their rego as they drive off and call the Police.

    Props are paid for out of the film budget and something like fake licences are not something that you hold in bulk as a prop supplier. Whenever a licence is used in film, it's usually only once and that's it. Given that they usually require a photo and each needs to have a specific name, address etc, licences are a specialist items that are not reusable and therefore need to be aquired for each specific project.

    So if anyone claims to be associated with the film industry and requests either an excessive number of items with details or any number of blank items, then you can bet your backside on it that they're up to no good.
     
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  6. Smartcardco

    Smartcardco Member

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    Thank you all for the amazing info!

    They are not asking for much, 1 per actor and they’re someone you’ve seen on TV before, and production house checks out at a well known studios too. I’ve oreviosuly done some other forms of props for them, shows like Home & Away used us because of the word of mouth. So I want to take the business, but since I’m doing them more often, I just want to be sure it is legal.

    I usually add a faint line on the design to say it is for props only and not a valid ID. The expiry date is usually made prior to current date so render the card useless.

    I will try ringing RMS and The QLD ones to see if they’ve more detail rules to follow.

    Thank you again!
     
  7. Scruff

    Scruff Well-Known Member

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    Okay, given that extra info I think you're okay. I don't think there would be any legal issue as long as you put some tight controls in place and enforce them. Don't allow any exceptions. I would start with something like this:

    1. make sure that everthing is in writing.
    2. you retain ownership of the item and they are only paying for the use of the item.
    3. the item must be returned to you on or before a specified date.
    4. upon being returned to you, the item is to be destoyed in the presence of both parties.

    Even though these people are legit, these items could very easily find their way into the real world. Don't let that happen.
    If you need help with the wording, I'm sure plenty of the pros on here would be able to assist.

    Definately check with the appropriate authorities and explain the controls that you intend to put in place. Ask if there's anything else they advise you should do in addition to those controls.
     
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    #7 Scruff, 26 February 2019
    Last edited: 26 February 2019
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