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Copyright fair use - using video excerpt on portfolio website

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Alexander Signer
Copyright fair use - using video excerpt on portfolio website
on Nov 14, 2007 at 8:28:39 pm

Have created a video for a client, full copyright transferred to client, as always. No specific copyright agreement signed though. I added a 20-second excerpt of the clip (total length 4 minutes) on my company's website as part of our design portfolio.

Now the client has asked me to remove the clip as it infringes copyrights. Don't I have the right to showcase my work as part of the 'fair use' copyright policy?

Thanks for any hints (or links)!



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Copyright fair use - using video excerpt on portfolio website
on Nov 14, 2007 at 11:31:26 pm

Sorry Alexander, I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't actually qualify under the "fair use doctrine." And unfortunately, as many have discussed here in the past, once you're warned, you're culpability and liability go way up. Meaning, that if they did ever decide to file suit against you, they could ask for punitive damages, because they could prove that you were warned but went ahead and displayed the work anyway.

I think your best bet would be to try talking to them again and ask for their permission.

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY™

A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.





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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Copyright fair use - using video excerpt on portfolio website
on Nov 14, 2007 at 11:58:49 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "I think your best bet would be to try talking to them again and ask for their permission"

I think that's the best advice.

Plus, there's another issue: This may may indeed be a one-time gig for a one-time company that you never expect to hear from again. However in our company most of our jobs are with clients that we have worked for many many times in the past. Even if I felt I was "in the right," if a client didn't want me to use something that we had created for them, we wouldn't.

It's most certainly not worth pissing them off, ruining a good relationship, and costing us a future job.

Even if I were right.

Which I always am, of course.



T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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beenyweenies
Re: Copyright fair use - using video excerpt on portfolio website
on Nov 15, 2007 at 5:47:45 pm

And to add to that, this is yet another prime illustration of why detailed contracts are a must-have, NOT an optional nicety.

In my experience, this is the worst industry in which to rely on "handshake" type agreements. There are too many fine details that can be exploited or ignored, and since what we deliver is artistic in nature (and therefore highly subjective), it is vital to contractually spell out what is and is not cause for dispute, and what rights are granted to both parties. Leave anything to chance, and Murphy will kick your butt.


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Randall M
Re: Copyright ? music video - Todd, David,
on Nov 21, 2007 at 12:06:28 am

Dear Todd and David- thanks for commenting on this topic.

I have a "before" question.

I've already shot and edited a music video for a friend who's a talented up and coming guitarist. The video is still in my editing system and I was about the put front and back tags on it, but then a question hit me.

If my friend owns copyright to the music, yet I produced the video- who's copyright can appear on the video?

This was my first attempt at producing a music video.
I agreed to make a video for him because he was getting requests for such by a local music television show and needed my help. There was no pre-arranged payment for the video work, just a friendly gesture really. Well the video turned out great and now I'm beginning to wonder about how much distribution this video might really have. I would simply like to receive credit as an example of my work (in order to get further work of course). I'd rather not present my friend with some kind of scary contract that says he owes me 2% of any profit from any marketing of the video. Or is that not so crazy? Maybe there is not that much money behind producing music videos that I should be concerned. After all, I only spent a half day of shooting and about 10 hours of editing.

Don't want to ruin a friendship, but sure would like to be fair about recognition for my work.

Thanks for your insight.
Randall


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Copyright ? music video - Todd, David,
on Nov 21, 2007 at 1:33:21 am

I would think that you own the copyright to the music video itself, but your friend (if he wrote the music and lyrics) owns the publishing rights to the song (unless he has sold or assigned him to someone else).

Yes, there is potentially big money in music video production. The film lab/transfer house that I use is a couple of hours away in Nashville, and I see a LOT of very high-dollar music video projects go through their doors.

However, the "big music video money" doesn't come from any percentage of music video "sales," because in practicality there isn't any really. Artists and record companies of course don't make any money off of the videos... rather they lose money on them. They are merely advertising for the corporate suits.... a marketing tool. They help them make money indirectly thought by raising awareness of a specific artist or performance or song, leading to sales.

I've never really heard of a video producer getting any kind of "percentage," usually they are really merely just hired guns retained to produce what is actuality simply "advertising." I can't say that it has never happened, but I've never heard of such.

In your particular case, since you have little investment and it is for a friend, I would settle for a warm handshake, a pat on the back, and maybe a pizza and brew. If he makes it big, maybe he will hire you to produce a big-budget video (or insist that his label or producer hires you). In THAT case... yes, get a contract, with all the details written in stone. And use a real entertainment attorney, not your regular lawyer.

Congrats on a project you are happy with. Post it online somewhere so we can all enjoy it...



T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Randall M
Re: Copyright ? music video - Todd, David,
on Nov 21, 2007 at 9:23:38 am

Thanks Todd for your advice. Yes I believe a pat on the back, maybe a pizza and brew would be sufficient. He's a long time friend and I expect that friendship to continue well into the future. He's really happy with the product, and you're right that it will most likely lead to future work as his career continues to be successful.

The video is posted at my website, there is a link in my news section.


best regards,
Randall Maxwell
http://www.puebloproductions.com


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