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Contract advice needed

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Jonathan Schwartz
Contract advice needed
on Jan 22, 2008 at 6:14:46 am

I hired a videographer to film me performing a sports event. He responded to an ad stating the footage would be mine, he agreed to it, and he has no problem with the concept- he's a cool guy. The footage he took of me may turn out to be worth something; some TV shows are interested in it for some shows and maybe a DVD. I consulted, briefly, an entertainment lawyer, who said that I needed the videographer to sign an official release stating something like, the footage is mine, and all mine, or more strictly speaking, I think he said something about exclusive rights, I can't remember his exact words.

I am a schoolteacher. Yeah, the footage might be worth something, but I don't want to pay an attorney like 200 bucks or more to draft up a complex contract full of legal-ease if I don't need one- that would cost more than I make per day. (Of course if that is what I really need, then maybe it's worth it, but something tells me I might be overdoing it by paying an attorney to make a custom one).

If anyone knows exactly the name of the type of contract I need, whether it be a simple 'work for hire' contract, or something else, or even better yet, has a sample contract, that would be great- I'd really appreciate it.
Tx in advance,
Jon Schwartz

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Randall Raymond
Re: Contract advice needed
on Jan 23, 2008 at 12:28:41 am

Just get the shooter to sign off all copyrights to you. Not a big deal and really just that easy.

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David Roth Weiss
Re: Contract advice needed
on Jan 23, 2008 at 2:53:20 am

I agree with Randall. To make the agreement ironclad, be sure to include a few important items such as:

1) All video and copies, in all media known and unknown, are to be handed over to Jonathon Schwartz immediately upon the conclusion of photography.

2) In signing, the parties agree that all rights to the material, throughout the universe in perpetuity, belong soley to Jonathon Schwartz.

David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles


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

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Nick Griffin
Re: Contract advice needed
on Jan 23, 2008 at 5:06:29 pm

I'm no lawyer and I don't play one on TV, but I will say that -- in my OPINION -- David's language is what you need, AND, to be a legal and binding contract, you need something called "consideration."

Start with "In consideration of $000 as payment in full for the videotaping of (_______) on date, all video copies..."

You both should sign and date it, and to make it really legal have a witness also sign it.

Best of luck. Hope you make a zillion.

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Brian Mills
Re: Contract advice needed
on Jan 24, 2008 at 9:38:00 pm

These guys are right: you should have an agreement in writing, although it does not HAVE to be drawn up by a lawyer.

US copyright law automatically grants the copyright of footage to the photographer/videographer, unless they sign it away as a work-for-hire. So get them to sign an agreement that you will pay them and they will give you all rights, and you should be fine.

Good luck.

Brian Mills

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