Copyright clearance form for clients to sign
I make "corporate videos" for internal clients that may be distributed internally or externally.
Sometimes these clients bring material (images, video, sounds, documents) for inclusion in their project. Sometimes it's quite obvious they do not have the rights for copying/distributing this material (YouTube videos, commercial footage, music CDs etc) and so it's not included, other times it's not so obvious and they insist it's all above board (e.g. licensed stock imagery) which it may very well be.
Does anyone have a standard form that clients sign asserting that everything they bring (including scripts) is either original material they've made, they have the rights to include it in a production or it may be used under fair use (e.g. educational) provisions?
I work for government so it's less about indemnifying myself and my unit and more about reminding people about copyright rules. And shifting blame :-)
Here's the standard form:
"I _________, understand you want to use copyrighted materials in this project without paying for the rights. Since I would be legally at risk of lawsuit by the copyright owners should they choose to prosecute, I am forwarding your request to your own legal department for their approval first.
Have a great day."
OK my serious answer is, there IS no such piece of paper as you're asking for, not really. You're asking for an imdenification by a second party for crimes you know you the first party are about to commit, knowing they are crimes. Just signing that paper is evidence you know this is wrong and illegal.
A judge is going to look at this the same way he would a piece of paper that says you shouldn't do jail time for driving the getaway car in a bank robbery, though you knew the guy that hired you to drive was a bank robber.
Moreover, the order these lawsuits come in is YOU FIRST, not the client. Even if an indemnification was possible, you'd first have to go thru the time and expense of the trial, be found guilty, be ordered to pay the damages, THEN you'd have to try and sue your client for recompense, holding up this piece of paper saying that they have your back, should you get pinched for doing what they originally asked of you.
Even a non-lawyer like me can be pretty sure that contracts to specifically break a law for money are unenforceable. If you get such a piece of paper, you're only fooling yourself that it offers a shred of protection.
People know you work for government, they are going to imagine a huge payday in suing.
I work in government and I once got a request like this. I said sure I'd do the edit... ..... once they got a written okay from their OWN legal department.
Never heard about that kind of thing again.
We offer paid cleared needle drops and custom beds made from loops.
If you do not trust it, do not use it..
It happens to me a lot that people sent me their videos with copyright music in it. Unless they have a legal document wich shows me that they have paid for the rights or that they are the legal owner, i replace it with royalty free music that i have. If they have the rights for the music they have to give me a copy wich i keep in my archive. Mostly they do not have that.
Sure, the sweetest thing from U2 sounds nice under a romantic scene, but i surely don't want Bono on my neck
[Andre van Suntenmaartensdijk] "Sure, the sweetest thing from U2 sounds nice under a romantic scene,"
Oh no he doesn't...
[Mark Suszko] " You're asking for an imdenification by a second party for crimes you know you the first party are about to commit, knowing they are crimes."
I don't think you read the question fully. I said "Sometimes it's quite obvious they do not have the rights for copying/distributing this material (YouTube videos, commercial footage, music CDs etc) and so it's not included". NOT being the operative word.
The cases I am talking about are when someone seems to be licensing stock images etc correctly, but I can't be sure. I'm not a lawyer and the "simple" licensing terms of sites like me-stocky-photo or whatever they are called aren't that simple.
Just a nota bene, no-one is going to sue me, I will not go to trial, I will not be found guilty and I will not have to sue my client to recover anything. I work for government. As do my clients.
This exercise is so I can use a standard form as an opportunity to remind the client(s) of their responsibilities towards copyright. It is also about being able to look my boss in the eye, hand on heart, and say to her "I explained everything, I asked all the right questions and these are the answers I got back" so if faecal material ever hit the whirling device (and I am 100% aiming to avoid this situation, but we can't spend our lives shuttling everything past lawyers), we get as little on us as possible.
I do have stock music I use - most describe it as elevator music, but down low it's fine and dandy. I have neither stock photos or video. We shoot our own photos whenever possible and video is either done by us or not done - no-one is willing to stump up for stock video. My unit does not have an account with a stock image site, something the graphic designers and I are trying to rectify.
If you want the actual case details for what stimulated this post, read on.
I am producing a video aimed at patients for the (body part unit). This (body part unit) is producing the video in conjunction with (body part charitable organisation). Said (body part charitable organisation) is quite a large organisation and has an account with a stock photography site. They have supplied images via (body part unit) for use in this production. The licensing terms from the stock photography site make it clear that an organisation cannot transfer images to someone else. However, are they able to supply these images to me for use in this production that they are a part of? I'd imagine so since they can use these images in printed material they create, and that printed material may be part of a larger work. However, what I imagine things to be and what is reality may not be one and the same. So, as said above, rather than shuttling everything I do past lawyers, I'd like something to put the onus of checking back to the producers because this is the work they should have done (a) before getting an account with the stock photography site to make sure its licensing terms were suited to their requirements and (b) before supplying imagery for a production, since it is their agreement with the stock image site that is in question.
If a commercial printer receives a document for a production run, do they have to run everything past a lawyer?
As a comparison, pawn shop owners don't get charged with receiving stolen goods because they follow certain agreed-upon procedures and are expected to exercise good judgement in their dealings with customers as well as maintaining good records of their transactions. I wish to have things set up so that I can demonstrate I have used good judgement and maintained good records. All of the copyright cases against videographers I have seen have been pretty obvious ones where a decision was clearly made to include material they were not entitled to.
Video is still relatively new in my unit, and so policies and procedures are still evolving. I have few peers in my department and our (distant) lawyers are generally worried about malpractice suits rather than the guy who makes video so any advice would be appreciated. I'll be running this past my opposite number at another large institution to see what they do just to try and get some consistency.
Hold harmless or indemnification is something to start with- i.e. a waiver. Sure any lawyer can still probably bust you in a court of law but at least you get the client thinking about the fact that this is not legal...
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