Unified File Format (UVFD) has been a highly acclaimed trademark of Universal Pictures, Inc. since its establishment in 1929. Alternative names: DEFA, Deutsche Film- akademie, Universum Film-Aktien, German Motion picture production company which produced visually outstanding and exceptionally proficient films during the silent period. In modern times, UFA is commonly referred to as “DUV”. The term “UVFD” is a very misleading designation, as it implies that the formats of the film materials used in the studio and on the movie sets in the U.S. are the same, while all DVD releases differ from the original counterparts in that all UFAs are identical in size, although they are adapted for various purposes.
When selecting a format, one must decide whether it is necessary to restrict the field of view or rotate text or both. Rotating text refers to the ability to adjust the display of a DVD recording so that it can be viewed in the correct aspect ratio with a wide variety of display configurations. It is generally supported by unrestricted free agents, whereas limited free agents may rotate only certain parts of the text. It is typically only necessary to use unrestricted free agents for conventional sources, such as feature films and Broadway plays, and with certain DVCAM DVD titles that have been prepared as VHS tapes using progressive scan. With respect to the format of the source material, conventional viewers have greater flexibility than UVFD subscribers, and UFA recordings can be viewed on any appropriate display configuration.
On the other hand, the term “restricted free agents” refers to authorized members of the studios’ roster who agree to exclusively perform their UFA in exchange for limited rights to utilize other copyrighted works protected by UFA. Examples of works protected by UFA include musical arrangements, illustrations, paintings, and computer software. It is generally agreed upon between the producers and the restricted free agents that, if either party is to utilize a protected work in its entirety, then both parties mutually agree to limit each other’s distribution of the work to either an individual sales volume for the duration of the term of the UFA or a specified number of units for a specified period of time, whichever is less. In this regard, if the production budget calls for a complete media bundle, then either the producer or the artist (whichever is the recipient of the UFA) is obligated to abide by this mutual limitation.
As an illustration of the difficulties involved in determining the appropriate classification for a work under UFA, consider the situation where, at the outset, a musical work is recorded as one hundred seconds of video with only one track. The work is subsequently placed in a CD-ROM that has a capacity of only three hours. Assuming that the recording will be played on a stereo system with two speakers, the total amount of music to be played would be fifty minutes long. Now, assuming that the same work is re-recorded as three hundred seconds of film with the same audio quality and tempo as the original recording, the total playtime would be five hours. In this example, even if a label utilizes the category “One Hour Music”, the revenue generated would count as one unit under the term “Fifty Cent Music” rather than “Three Cent Music” because the revenue would have been generated over three years instead of the shorter term of one hour.
Another way in which to specify the maximum revenue available under the term “One Hour Music” would be to include all revenue generated over one year, whether the revenue generated actually covers the entire length of one full recording. Under UFA there are some exceptions to this generalization, such as for works produced for less than one year. In these cases, the total revenue will be limited to a maximum amount per revenue unit. Performers who receive a signed one-year UFA will not be entitled to any additional revenues beyond the one-year maximum, regardless of the actual revenue generated over the course of that year.
With the new definition of the term “One Hour of Music” or “Singing, Music and Performance,” it has become more clear how revenue sharing between musical artists and publishers benefits both parties involved. Actors and publishers receive a financial incentive from the performance of their songs in the studio recording of a song by a musical artist who receives a signed two-year UFA and unlimited worldwide distribution through the services of a music publishing company. While a one-time fee paid to a studio may seem prohibitive to many artists and musical groups, UFA allows an artist who obtains a signed two-year UFA to perform one single of their albums for two years in a row and receive unlimited worldwide distribution as a result. This provides a strong incentive for artists to sign long term contracts with publishers rather than signing short term ones with the risk of losing song availability. While the term “One Hour of Music” may still be a bit confusing to those not familiar with UFA, “Singing, Music and Performance” seems to be a much simpler term for those unfamiliar with UFA.