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Music video legal question

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zmroukhdMusic video legal question
by on Jan 28, 2007 at 10:00:16 am

Hi all,
I recently established a production company and my first job was directing a music video. I finished shooting and cutting and it is ready for me to give it to the client. However, after finishing the project, the client told me that I can not put my production company's name at the credit, because from his point of view it would be an advertising for my company, Instead he said that I can put my name as a director only. So he said if you pay me money I can let you put the company's name at the credits.

there is a contract between him as a client and my production company that I established.
in the terms and conditions there is nothing saying about the credits.
So my questions are,
1-do I have the right to put the production company's name at the credits? and my name as a director?
2- Can I use the finished products for promotional purposes (as a demo)? Note that in terms and conditions under paragraph 19, it says
Publicity Guidelines
Until notified in writing by client, Production Company and Director each have a revocable license to use finished product(s) for promotional purpose.

Please, any advice is helpful.

Thanks


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John Davidson (fomerly JNeo25)Re: Music video legal question
by on Jan 29, 2007 at 12:15:13 am

I'm not sure of the legal issues, but from a practical standpoint, how many people are really going to see the logo in the credits anyways? Unless this is a video for Christina Agulera or one of the other four artists that MTV plays, you're much better to thank the client for what he/she gives you, keep them happy, and use the music video as part of your reel. Then prepare for the next 20 music videos that come in the front door.

There are very few instances where you can't use your work on a reel, IMHO. They are:

1. You didn't do the work (I know LOTS of people that break this stupid yet seemingly obvious rule).
2. You project is a training video for some top-secret government stuff.
3. You include work a client brought you in a reel sent to that client's client. EG. MTV gave a friend's agency a trailer, and he sent it to me on the condition that I don't use that work to solicit MTV directly and steal his client for 6 months.

If you did the work, then you have the right to show it off. Perhaps you only send out DVD and don't put the work online if there is a threat you'll be sued, or perhaps password protect a web page featuring the video so that you can email a link with user/pass to potential clients. Whatever you do, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

Good Luck!


John Davidson____ writer | producer | director____http://www.magicfeatherinc.com


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Nick GriffinRe: Music video legal question
by on Jan 29, 2007 at 1:42:24 pm

Ummmm. Are we missing something here or is this pretty obvious?

zmroukhd wrote: there is a contract between him as a client and my production company

There's a contract. A contract. Do what the contract says and make the client happy in any other ways that you can. Don't make credits an issue because a) few if any people will notice a credit line -- getting it noticed requires a reel or other way of sticking it under their nose, and b) getting the client to think that there's a tremendous value on the credit just puts you in a bad position where you may have to give up something concrete (money) for something that's not (a credit line).

Don't like what's in the contract? Change the contract for the next time.


John Davidson wrote:
There are very few instances where you can't use your work on a reel

Yea, in most situations, especially when the work is being shown in the public realm, this is true. (By the way, John - great reel, FANTASTIC stuff, especially the FX promos!!) But in my corp/industrial world there can be any number of situations where it is NOT assumed that anything we do can be shown to anyone other than the audience intended by the client. (That said, I think I can count on one hand the number of times this has ever been an issue.)

So, the long and short of it is, IMHO, specify the right to use work on your reel in the contract and if the client feels that he/she needs it removed, make it a point of negotiation.

And, congratulations zmroukhd, on your new venture!


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John Davidson (fomerly JNeo25)Re: Music video legal question
by on Jan 29, 2007 at 9:36:27 pm


I almost forgot about the corporate videos. Those would probably have a higher incidence of being prohibited from a reel, unless your contract states "out of context" use for promotional purposes is acceptable. For example, if you designed the DVD Menu, that would be ok to show, as long as you don't expose the widget making secrets of the company to the world.

- and Thanks for the reel compliment, Nick!


John Davidson____ writer | producer | director____http://www.magicfeatherinc.com


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RandyRe: Music video legal question
by on Jan 29, 2007 at 10:43:18 pm

I did a music video a couple years back that was supposed to be used in a DVD documentary about this Grammy award winning musician but it ended up not being used and it hasn't been posted on his website yet. Would there be any legal issues posting that music video on my website demo reel or DVD demo reel? Do I have a right to use the music in the music video for demo purposes? What about posting it on YouTube? He's also an actor and has been in several big movies.

Randy


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John Davidson (fomerly JNeo25)Re: Music video legal question
by on Jan 30, 2007 at 2:09:50 am

Don't see a problem with the DVD, but there may be issues posting online, ESPECIALLY on sites where you can't easily control the content, such as YouTube.

If there's a way to ask permission first, this might be a good situation for it.

John Davidson____ writer | producer | director____http://www.magicfeatherinc.com


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zmroukhdRe: Music video legal question
by on Jan 30, 2007 at 3:40:52 am

Thanks guys. John & Nick, I really appreciate your thoughts, and yes you're right, I don't really care much about putting my company's name in the credits, however I felt that the client is trying to be a smart ass as he always tried to abuse my kindness.
I think I need to change the content of the contract for the next project.
Moreover I did not see any music videos that have the production company's name in the credit. But again I wanted to make sure by getting some professional advice.

Again Thanks for your thoughts and advice.


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