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website copyright

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lensflare1website copyright
by on Jun 17, 2006 at 10:28:37 am

Hi there all.

I am in need of some advice, (probably legal advice, but I'm sure you guys can help), as i have just received a letter threatening legal action from a competitor, whom i have worked for in the past.

The issue is this....

Can i post examples of work i have edited and composited, onto my company website......if....

....this work was produced by another production company, which contracted my company to do the postproduction work, with a mixture of their equipment onsite, or on my equipment on my own site).

The production company paid my company "downstream" from what the client/agency would pay directly to them.

Also, there was nothing ever written or signed by anyone....

Where do i stand?


"That Camel had it coming I tells ya...."

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tony salgadoRe: website copyright
by on Jun 17, 2006 at 3:51:10 pm

You do not own the copyright to the work as this appears the work you completed was a "work for hire" case.

In addition your client never gave you permission to use the images or work.

In either case if you choose to leave the images and work on your website after being told to cease doing so you are now liable for additional copyright penalities if these case goes to court.

My suggestion is to immediately stop using the images or work and comply with the request you have received.

Unless of course you want to become involved with expensive and time consuming legal action.


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lensflare1Re: website copyright
by on Jun 18, 2006 at 2:26:52 am

So how do i represent my skill set in the market place, if i cannot display what i do? Surely this is achievable in some way, or else i have nothing to show for my efforts.

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Mike_SRe: website copyright
by on Jun 18, 2006 at 9:15:29 am

Maybe you could try calling in on your (ex-?) clients and trying to make up. I'd guess they weren't thrilled to find their projects on your website, without their permission, and perhaps not crediting them? You would probably feel the same way yourself if the situation were reversed.

So you could try an "aplogy and of course I've removed", then ask them if there was a way they'd be happy - like for example you make clear the client was x, producer was your client, you did just whatever you did - free extra publicity for them.

If they say no, you'll just have to rely on describing your experience on the web, and perhaps using the sample files one-to-one in client meetings, but never publishing them ... Or, better, creating yourself a cracking little 2 minute demo which shows off your very best ideas and work (free of client considerations) - an investment, for sure, but probably a good one if you have people who might want your services and want to see samples.

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lensflare1Re: website copyright
by on Jun 18, 2006 at 11:28:49 am

Ok. Thanks for the advise.
It all just seems a little unfair really.

As the "artist" who slaved over each composition, and who is much more passionate about his craft than the producr involved, I feel a little disillusioned really.

However, I admit i should have checked out copyright law.

How can i avoid this in future? Especially if i have direct dealings with clients and agencies? Do i need to stipulate in a contract that i own the work? or can at least dispaly it on my website?



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Ron LindeboomRe: website copyright
by on Jun 18, 2006 at 4:09:11 pm

If you try what Tony Salgado suggests and the client says "No way," and won't allow you to use the work in any way or fashion, all is still not lost, as you probably have copies of the After Effects project files, right?

If you do, substitute a different logo and/or do some other tweaks and changes to the files to remove the copyright infractions. Make it known that this is your original work but that you were a sub-contractor on the project seen and did not have copyright clearance to use the company logo in question and so this is an example of your work using a dummy logo.

I wouldn't do this unless it's clear that the client is not going to use you anymore, anyway. If that is the case, then you haven't lost anything by removing the copyrighted portions of the work and showing off your skillset as a compositor.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

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tony salgadoRe: website copyright
by on Jun 18, 2006 at 4:57:11 pm

Ron's suggestion is a great one to consider.

You could consider creating several new projects to build up a spec reel showing casing your work.

As far as fairness from the client's view it is unfair that you are using the work they paid for to generate work for you not them.

I recommend adding a clause to your job contract which details obtaining the rights to use the work created for promotional purposes with credit given to the original client who hired you.

This is standard for most post production facilities who are hired to complete work for clients. However the client can still refuse to allow the work to be used.

Tony Salgado

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Ron LindeboomRe: website copyright
by on Jun 18, 2006 at 9:05:28 pm

Tony is right that the client holds the rights here, not you. I have done work for BMW in which the contract clearly states that I have no rights whatsoever to anything that I have created for them and under no circumstances can I use it to market myself, show what I have done, or any other use of the material created. Nada. Nine. None. No, no, no. Not a single thing.

It's actually quite common and so you are left with doing "example variants" of your work performed, work that has the "flavour" of the job you performed while not actually being the work you performed.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

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lensflare1Re: website copyright
by on Jun 19, 2006 at 3:23:14 am

Ok guys.

sounds fairly cut and dried.

I appreciate your clarity on this issue, and I guess I will get back to the drawing board with this.

Thanks heaps

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