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Who owns video that was shot?

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Rick Pearl
Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 23, 2008 at 8:06:49 pm

As I understand it, whenever someone takes a photo with a camera, that person is the owner of the photo.

1. Does this work the same way with video?

2. What happens if I am shooting video of someone else's intellectual property, such as a training program? I'm guessing I can't possibly have the rights to disseminate the video anywhere I choose.

Thanks.


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walter biscardi
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 23, 2008 at 11:49:47 pm

As far as I'm concerned, whoever paid for the video production owns the video footage. Plain and simple.

Especially when you're talking about something like a training program. I'm assuming this person hired you to shoot their training program? Or the company that brought in the trainer hired you to shoot the person and his program?

You'd be open for a lawsuit if you tried to distribute that footage of the training session without authorization from the person and / or company that owns that training materials.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

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rick pearl
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 4:14:48 am

We are going to create some training videos and I am not being paid upfront. The idea is to share % of the future sales, though we have not yet discussed specifics.

The person delivering the training videos is the face behind the training, and I am spending all the time producing the product and helping create the scripts, etc. My concern is that if our idea does not take off, I will have spent all the time producing the videos and somewhere down the road he may sell them...I know this could all be settled with a good lawyer, I have not gotten to the point yet of making the commitment to the project, so I am just exploring the possibilities. What do you think?

Thanks!



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walter biscardi
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 10:22:40 am

[rick pearl] "We are going to create some training videos and I am not being paid upfront. The idea is to share % of the future sales, though we have not yet discussed specifics."

If you don't have a signed contract that spells everything out, do not do any work on the project. Any deal like this requires everything to be spelled out before you ever roll one second of tape.

If you have already shot material, and you have not been paid, then you have every right to hold on to that material until you are paid a fair compensation. You can't just go out and sell that footage to someone else, but you can certainly hold on to the original tapes and not allow the other person to do anything with it either.

Anytime someone wants to get the video production for free in exchange for a percentage deal, that needs to be worked out with a signed contract in advance. Much more often than not, these deals do not generate enough income to make your time worthwhile. Most of the time, there is zero return on investment.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

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Brendan Coots
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 4:34:33 pm

I couldn't agree more. Every shoot should have a good solid contract backing it, but especially in situations like this. Make sure that your contract clearly spells out your compensation no matter when, how or by whom the video is sold.

Personally, I won't touch projects like this with a ten foot pole.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

http://www.splitvisiondigital.com


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Don Greening
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 4:34:40 am

I was recently hired to do a 1 min. commercial for the local Welcome Wagon franchise. I have a copy of that commercial on my web site but I didn't put my watermark on the video. I put theirs on it.

- Don


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Mark Suszko
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 2:00:01 pm

Rick, I once had a deal like the one you are in, when I was young and foolish, and I would say never do this kind of deal. Not the way you have it structured.


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rick pearl
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 5:21:46 pm

Hi everyone,

Part of the reason I am considering this is because I figure it would be a great learning experience, and a great portfolio piece. However, I have a feeling that he is not so much interested in selling this video by itself, though by having it, it will help with his credibility with other deals he is working on, and somewhere down the road he might try selling it.

Does anyone have any idea where I can see a sample contract that might be used in an arrangement such as this?

Thanks so much for the advice/info!



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Mark Suszko
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 8:22:50 pm

"With the right people, a contract is never needed. With the wrong people, it's never enough."
Words from a pro I respect.

I did one of these deals early in my career, a simple contract that stated our client would pay for all the gear and post rental directly, and we would split a portion of every tape sold.

Later we found out he was stiffing the rental company and also that he'd gone and ordered several hundred more tape dubs than we had agreed on without letting us know about it, or about how many MORE he was selling. Wound up having to take him to small claims, where we won eventually, but what a pain and months of delay to get back a few thousand bucks.

My take on these deals is, what business are you in; are you in the video production business or are you in the zero-interest loan business? Repeat to yourself: "I am not a bank! "Beginners are often targeted for these kinds of shady deals because they have not built up a healthy amount of distrust yet.

Get the whole thing on paper, notarized, get proof that money has changed hands as part of the agreement (in legal terms this is using the term "consideration" to prove you had a true contract in effect, that's what made our case. A verbal agreement might get thrown out but stands a better chance if you can prove money changed hands).

Work out the costs based on standard practices and your day rate, and if he hasn't got enough money, bill him in installments if you need to. Just make sure all your rentals and editor's time are paid in full first, right off the top, before you hand anything over to the client. That way, if the deal goes bad, you are only out your profit an a little pride, not your expenses, and YOUR word in the local industry and your reputation is preserved. Not destroyed by association.



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Steve Wargo
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 6:13:06 pm

I have found that when co-oping a production, it's usually a case of the main person putting up their talent as equity and the production company puts up their work and expense for equity. The problem here is that the talent person can decide to walk away from the deal and they are out nothing.

I say split it like this:

Figure out what the production will honestly cost to do.

Subtract your labor. ONLY your labor! NO GEAR!

Split the actual cost with the talent person. This way, you each have a vested interest in seeing the project succeed. I learned this one by having several joint projects just fade away.

It won't seem fair to the other guy and that's your cue to walk away.

The original Jane Fonda (traitor bitch) workout tapes were a joint effort of her and her video guy. She had the only product on the market and it was a raging success. Don't use her as a guide, ever.

If he is confident that it will sell, he will have no problem investing in his own future.




Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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walter biscardi
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 7:06:14 pm

[Steve Wargo] "The original Jane Fonda (traitor bitch)"

Actually a very nice woman. Met her multiple times when she was dating Ted Turner, extremely pleasant and chatty.

Also edited a documentary for her daughter, Vanessa Vadim, very very nice woman as well.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!
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Steve Wargo
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 25, 2008 at 5:44:19 am

Are we talking about the same Jane Fonda who went to VietNam during the war and condemned our POWs. Is that the Jane Fonda that we're both talking about here?

Yep! Hanoi Jane. That's the one. Nice girl.

http://www.snopes.com/military/fonda.asp

Every time she has a movie coming out, she goes public with some phony apology over her actions. No thanks.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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John Baumchen
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 6:08:06 pm

If you are employed by a company as a videographer, any video you shoot on a company project belongs to the company.

If you are an independent videographer, (self employed/freelance), in the absence of a written agreement between you and the client, YOU OWN THE COPYRIGHT. PERIOD.

In order for the client to own the copyright, there must be an agreement in place that specifically states that the job you are doing for the client is on a 'Work For Hire' basis. No WFH clause, it's yours.

As stated before, it's always good to have an agreement in place. I never mentioned in my agreements who owned the copyright of the raw footage. I did have one client who wanted a work for hire agreement. I charged triple my standard rate for the job and they were okay with that. As well, I never gave up the copyright to the finished video, unless the agreement stated it. I did give them an exclusive license with unlimited duplication rights after payment was received.

Regarding the training video you shot. If you pointed your camera at it and recorded it with intent of making a copy, you're most likely in violation of copyright. If it is depicted as part of the background for a 5-10 second shot, I'd be inclined to say you're o.k.

Here are some good links on the issue copyright law.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wccc
http://www.photolaw.net/faq.html
http://www.benedict.com/

Cheers.




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rick pearl
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 6:23:32 pm

1.) If something like this ever made its way to the courts, how does one prove that he/she is the one who shot the video? Is possession of the master tape enough to establish who shot the video? What if I shoot this DVC PRO HD with a P2 card and transfer the footage to my mac and erase the original footage from the card?

2.) "Regarding the training video you shot. If you pointed your camera at it and recorded it with intent of making a copy, you're most likely in violation of copyright. If it is depicted as part of the background for a 5-10 second shot, I'd be inclined to say you're o.k. "

What do you mean by "depicted as part of the background?" Not sure what you meant by this?

Thanks for the links! I will check them out.



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John Baumchen
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 6:20:23 pm

Sorry Rick,

I re-read your question. I got off on a tangent regarding WFH. Hope it helps someone out though.

I wouldn't touch this gig without everything spelled out in advance.

As for who owns the copyright to the video, I'd check with a lawer on that one.


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Christopher Wright
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 24, 2008 at 10:11:47 pm

"The original Jane Fonda (traitor bitch)"

Wow, I honestly can't believe Steve Wargo put that in one of his responses. Until now, I always really looked forward to his comments and feedback. Jane actually lives only 30 miles from me and is quite an amazing woman who selflessly contributes her time and money to quite a few very worthwhile projects and causes. If you have a political beef, what she did so many years ago pales in comparison to what the current residents of the White house have lied about and gotten away with for almost 8 years now.

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Gregory Smith
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 25, 2008 at 9:18:41 pm

[Christopher Wright] "If you have a political beef, what she did so many years ago pales in comparison to what the current residents of the White house have lied about and gotten away with for almost 8 years now."

Strange you didn't mention the convicted liar from the 8 years before that.

Gregory Smith


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Christopher Wright
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 25, 2008 at 11:41:56 pm

Actually I could mention quite a bit more here, but the point is posters should stick to the thread and keep their personal political "grindings" out of the postings here at the Cow. Politics has no place here. This etiquette has been mentioned more than once in these forums.

As far as the original poster's question, this "rights" issue has been beaten to death even in this very same forum over and over again on the Cow (just do a search), and the answer always is, whoever has the better lawyer and deeper pockets wins. Case in point, Peter Jackson versus the greed Masters at New Line....
Where there is a lot of money to be made, nothing is ever "foolproof."

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walter biscardi
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 25, 2008 at 11:48:02 pm

[Christopher Wright] "As far as the original poster's question, this "rights" issue has been beaten to death even in this very same forum over and over

Yes, this topic and "I can use copyrighted music for my productions, right?" Do a search and go back 2 years. You'll find all kinds of interesting material.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!
Read my Blog!
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walter biscardi
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 25, 2008 at 11:46:28 pm

[Gregory Smith] "Strange you didn't mention the convicted liar from the 8 years before that."

You mean the one who had oral sex with an intern? I don't recall 4,000 U.S. Soldiers dying because of that lie.

Sorry, couldn't let that comment go.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!
Read my Blog!
View Walter Biscardi's profile on LinkedIn


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Christopher Wright
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 26, 2008 at 12:23:13 am

and I think with that one I hear the sound of a hammer hitting the nail squarely on the head and driving it home....

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David Roth Weiss
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 26, 2008 at 1:20:40 am

[walter biscardi] "I don't recall 4,000 U.S. Soldiers dying because of that lie."

Bravo... Well stated!!!



David Roth Weiss
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Gregory Smith
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 26, 2008 at 3:29:15 am

[walter biscardi] "You mean the one who had oral sex with an intern? I don't recall 4,000 U.S. Soldiers dying because of that lie."

Actually, I think you read more into my statement than was intended. My intention was merely to point out that lies and lying are not new to politics, especially in the White House.

I suppose I should have elaborated by going even further back to give examples of the other lying presidents (many, and on both sides of the isle).

I find it much more interesting and quite telling that no one else had a problem with the jump from a comment about Jane Fonda to George Bush.


Thanks for leaping to conclusions.

Gregory Smith


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Mark Suszko
Re: Who owns video that was shot?
on Mar 26, 2008 at 3:39:01 am

I am shocked and dismayed to see people injecting their politics here in these forums; besides being highly unprofessonal, it is an incredibly corrosive thing for a site such as this. Trust me, having experienced where such things go, left unchecked, you REALLY don't want this happening here at the COW. Indeed, I think its a TOS violation and am surprised Ron has not stepped in to mute this before it turns cancerous.

There are SO many other places to have the political knife fights, please don't bring them here. Right or wrong, you're all out of line.


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