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My copyrights

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trickstarMy copyrights
by on May 7, 2007 at 1:25:31 pm

I have produced two dvd's for a client using video that I shot and stills that the client provided which needed to be color corrected and retouched. The client is now requesting that I provide all the files that I have regarding the dvd's. The client either wants to do future edits themselves and or find a cheaper producer.

What are my rights to my files, and how do I politely tell the client that they will have to pay for the rights without burning a bridge?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


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Emre TufekciRe: My copyrights
by on May 7, 2007 at 11:58:50 pm

Hi Mark,

I am guessing you had an verbal agreement and there is no contract to clarify the issue.

So here is "my" approach to such situations. These are actually spelled out in my contracts.

1-If I filmed something to edit for a client the client has a right to the raw footage
2-Any metadata that is generated from a software I use and own belongs to me. All after effects files, DVD authoring,photoshop...etc is my intellectual property.
3-If I am working on a project where I am sub contracted to build something,I have to turn over all materials including the metadata and ask for permission to use it to promote myself.

I always use the example of; you can go buy a copy of windows and use it all you want. But try calling microsoft and ask for the source code for windows...!!!!

Any thoughts, anybody else?

Boxx Tech PC, dual-dual AMD 2.0,4BG ram,Avidexpress HD w/Mojo,UVW-1800,DSR-25, Adobe production studio.

"Creative cow is udder madness."

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trickstarRe: My copyrights
by on May 8, 2007 at 12:33:37 am

You are correct, there was only a verbal contract that was completed and ended 12-31-2006. I filmed footage, added some composites from After Effects and Audition, authored in Encore. Not to mention Photoshop, Illustrator and Image Ready. Production Studio is awesome.

They just dont seem to like or understand the fact that it costs money to do edits or changes and almost always wait to the last minute to make a decision. I have always got the job done under the worst of time frames. This lack of appreciation for what we do never ceases to amaze me. This client won't be missed.

When I do eventually turn anything over it will be the raw footage only.

Did you fugure out how to get After Effects to use 3gig of ram?


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Emre TufekciRe: My copyrights
by on May 8, 2007 at 1:34:53 am

I believe AE will only use 2 Gb of ram. Lets see whats on the horizon for the next release.

Boxx Tech PC, dual-dual AMD 2.0,4BG ram,Avidexpress HD w/Mojo,UVW-1800,DSR-25, Adobe production studio.

"Creative cow is udder madness."

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Mike_SRe: My copyrights
by on May 8, 2007 at 9:47:53 am

If providing such materials was not part of your original agreement, you are under no obligation to do so. My inclination would be just to say no.

Is your contract / agreement with the client completed - i.e. have you done what you agreed to do, and have they paid for it? If so, an additional request for extra materials can be treated as just that, an extra: you could respond with an offer to supply files you deem appropriate to supply, along with a price and timescale.

you are still mid-contract - you have not completed / delivered, they have not paid - then this sounds like an emergency. You might want to treat the request as, potentially, notice to terminate your current contract (verbal or written, contested or accepted). Then you might want to face-to-face or at worst telephone with the client to get clarity on what extra they want, and what this means for your current work / payment.

All in all, it doesn't sound promising: time to advance other projects up the priority list or to look for new work?

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trickstarRe: My copyrights
by on May 8, 2007 at 1:47:16 pm

original contract was completed 12-31-06. a recent project was completed last week with no mention of any transfer of files or footage. file this one under out sourced to india.

if you add this to the last line of your boot.ini file to read:
/fastdetect/3GB" After Effects will use 3 gigs of ram. when you start AE it says using 1% of 3GB of ram. if you need detailed instructions let me know. backing up original boot.ini is a must.


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Steve WargoRe: My copyrights
by on May 8, 2007 at 10:17:21 pm

I was recently called as an expert witness in a lawsuit and spent hours with a contract attorney who was being advised by the largest IP firm in the southwest.

My advice: Give it all to them, peacefully and with a smile.

After all, what are you going to do with the fragments that you want to keep? If your rates are too high for them, let them go elsewhere. If your rates are proper, they will soon realize that and come back. We lost a lot of clients when DV video hit and we wouldn't lower our rates. In fact, when we converted to DVCAM, we doubled our rates. Anybody who didn't want our 20 years of expertice could go find someone else to do it cheaper. Screw them. A lot of those clients came back after a short time.

There are too many client companies who understand the price of experience, precision, creativity and loyalty. It don't come at $75 and hour. There is a damn good reason that a lot of companies charge one half of what we charge... It's because they're worth it.

We put each client's stuff on their own hard drive. If they want it because they found someone cheaper, I can't wait ti get it unplugged and have them sign a turnover sheet. On it, they declare that I will not be held responsible for any loss of any data. It's worded in a way to scare the hell out of them.

Back in the old days, (10 years ago), we would put a sticker on our VHS dubs that said "Protected by the XYZ copyprotect system. We are not responsible for any DAMAGE THAT WILL OCCUR to your VCR if you should attempt to copy this tape". It's amazing how many people beliebed that BS. We use the same comment on our DVDs to this day.

Keep files that you don't want lost, just in case. Be the hero, not the villian.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!

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