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Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos

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Randy Wheeler
Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 12:56:50 pm

Recent article about video ownership rights:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24033191/

"Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos

Ex-contractor Flagler opens up archive to lawyers, union critics

Wal-Mart’s internal meetings are on display in three decades worth of videos made by a Kansas production company scrambling to stay in business after Wal-Mart stopped using the firm.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. dropped longtime contractor Flagler Productions in 2006. In response to losing its biggest customer, the small company has opened its archive, for a fee, to researchers who include plaintiffs’ lawyers and union critics seeking clips of unguarded moments at the world’s largest retailer.

Those moments never meant for public display include a scene of male managers parading in drag at an executive meeting, a clip used by union-backed critics at Wal-Mart Watch for a recent advertisement castigating the retailer’s attitude toward female employees.

“The videos provide insight into the company’s real corporate culture when they’re not in the public eye,” Wal-Mart Watch spokeswoman Stacie Lock Temple said Tuesday.

Much of the interest in the candid videos is coming from plaintiff lawyers pursuing cases against Wal-Mart.

“The rarity is that it exists at all,” said Brad Seligman, lead attorney in a massive class-action lawsuit that alleges Wal-Mart discriminated systemically against female employees.

“Once in a while you come upon documents that are helpful in a case,” the Berkeley, Calif.-based lawyer added. “What’s amazing about this is that this company has a video record going back many years showing senior management in at times fairly candid situations.”

Seligman said one clip from Lenexa, Kan.-based Flagler shows Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton in the late 1980s telling the board of directors that not enough women were in management.

Wal-Mart denies it discriminates against women and in recent years has published its annual women and minority hiring statistics.

Wal-Mart said it is unhappy with the public airing of its video record.

“Needless to say, we did not pay Flagler Productions to tape internal meetings with this aftermarket in mind,” Wal-Mart spokeswoman Daphne Moore said.

She declined to comment on any legal steps the company might be considering.

Flagler says Wal-Mart has no legal power over the videos because the two sides did not sign a contract when founder Mike Flagler was hired in the 1970s to produce Wal-Mart meetings and management conferences.

Co-owner Mary Lyn Villaneuva said the business continued producing and filming such events as shareholder meetings and an annual store manager conference until it was suddenly dropped by Wal-Mart in 2006.

Wal-Mart was about 95 percent of Flagler’s business, Villaneuva said. The loss meant the company nearly collapsed. So it looked to its assets and realized that it could charge for access to its video library.

“We would like to go back to being a production company, but right now we’re getting by as an archive,” Villaneuva said.

Flagler charges $250 an hour for video research and additional fees for a DVD copy of film clips.

Villaneuva said Wal-Mart has offered to buy the video library for $500,000. But Flagler considers that too low for a collection they value at several million dollars. She said the two sides have been in contact off and on about a possible sale.

Wal-Mart declined to comment on whether it is in talks to buy the archive."

Randy


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grinner hester
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 1:10:33 pm

interesting way to close up shop.



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walter biscardi
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 1:23:10 pm

[Randy Wheeler] "Flagler says Wal-Mart has no legal power over the videos because the two sides did not sign a contract when founder Mike Flagler was hired in the 1970s to produce Wal-Mart meetings and management conferences."

I'm going to be REAL interested to see how this claim holds up once the lawyers get involved. More power to them if they can hold on to this claim and keep selling the videos, but I'm really hoping those guys got incredibly good legal counsel before opening up their archives.

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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Mick Haensler
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 1:53:48 pm

My first question when I read this article is why did Wal Mart drop them. I'm sure there's two sides to that story. I would think any company willing to breach client trust like this more than likely was not on the up and up in the rest of their dealings. The work examples on their web site are pretty top notch, so obviously quality of work was not the issue. I find it hard to believe a company like Wal Mart didn't have an iron clad agreement as to the rights of the footage. This sounds like a vindictive move on the part of Flagler for being dropped. Since they're holding out for more money, I doubt they're doing this for some greater moral purpose. I pose this question to the forum. If faced with the same situation, what would you do?

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 2:51:55 pm

I hope that Flagler gets nailed to the wall and that the pain of their idiocy haunts them for the rest of their lives. This is one of the biggest breaches of trust I have ever seen -- well, other than the American political system.

Wal-Mart has a right to privacy and when they hired this company, I am sure that privacy was one of the terms and conditions. (I am NOT condoning WM's business practices, that is a different issue. To be honest, I don't like WM and think they destroy local economies.)

I have no doubt in my mind that this is nothing more than a money-grabbing ploy by a bitter loser and if Wal-Mart had not dumped Flagler, I don't believe that we'd be seeing this stuff today.

Shame on them. What unprofessional hacks, they give the corporate video industry a bad name and this hurts everyone's reputation (as I am sure this will cause a lot of mistrust in the industry). I hope they get what they truly deserve -- and that isn't anything nice, I tell you.

Creeps, pure creeps, in my opinion.

Yours may vary.

Ron Lindeboom

PS: Me dear ole sainted Dad always warned me that two wrongs don't make a right. Boy this sure shows that one to great effect.

PSS: But three wrongs squared, to the fourth power, DO make a right -- according to Gary Larson (who isn't my Dad).


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Jim Hyde
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 3:41:16 pm

If I had wal-mart by the danglies like Flagler does I would squeeze em for all they're worth too. I'm sure there is another side to the story and yes it's a dirty move making the videos available but hell Wal-Mart is one the most evil corporations around.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 3:53:39 pm

In my opinion, you are by your own admission what I consider to be every bit the contemptible opportunist that Flagler is.

If you can't see how this is going to backfire on the already ailing corporate video profession, then I also believe that you are a blind self-centered opportunist, and someone that I hope finds no place in corporate video.

Remind me to never listen to anything you have to say.

Ron Lindeboom


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Jim Hyde
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 4:00:29 pm

All I'm saying is Wal-mart deserves everything it gets, if you're still listening. I hope it helps the unions and lawyers fight against Wal-Mart. Looks good on 'em.



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Jim Hyde
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 4:02:48 pm

Also, for what it's worth I don't think this will affect the corporate video world one single bit other than making businesses think - "gee maybe I should get them to sign a contract saying who really owns the footage."



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Jeremy Doyle
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 4:11:48 pm

I'm just really surprised that a company the size of walmart doesn't have an internal video dept. They have enough closed circuit TV's in the stores to keep them busy.



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Don Greening
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 4:44:07 pm

I for one do not like WM. My reasons are my own and are not pertinent to this thread. However, when a company like Flagler does this to a client, WM or not, and their intentions become public it reflects badly on all aspects of our industry. It's no different than blatant racism. It diminishes us all.

my 02.

- Don



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 4:46:58 pm

Thank you for seeing the bigger issue here, Don.

Ron "Who doesn't like Wal-Mart either" Lindeboom


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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 3:23:59 am

They have a multi million dollar video facility in their main building in Bentonville, Arkansas. I've stood in there. Their shoot studio is a 40 x 40 room with a set in each corner and a set on each wall for a total of eight. We were there in '95 to bid on a job that included putting a video program on the in-store monitors. They told us that the stores could not afford $15 each to see this happen. This was a lie and they stole our ideas and use them today in many of their stores. It was stupid on our part to give our ideas away but it was a huge, 10 year contract that we were talking about. At the time, WalMart was still a supporter of US companies.

After seeing their studio, I asked "If you have this huge facility, why are you talking to us?". Their answer was that the project we were talking about was way too small for their facility.

Even though they stole our ideas and we were left out in the cold, it never crossed my mind to act like a 10 year old and seek revenge. I chalked it up to experience and moved forward.

Flagler was ignorant for depending on one source for their income.

This move will end up costing them anything they have left. Stupid. Immature. Traitors. Backstabbers. And if anyone agrees with them, you need to rethink a few things. Yeah, they might be the scourge of the retail industry, but you don't sink to the level of dog poo when you get jilted.

No sympathy for Flagler. They're finished.




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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Mark Suszko
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:06:18 pm

My guess is Walmart outsourced the video work to China as well.

Looks like this case is all about an issue that comes up here constantly, "work for hire", and who owns the footage.

Usually the conversation is in the context of wedding videos or much smaller scale programs for small clients. The only real difference I see is that the customer in this case is a huge multinational. Every time we talk about work for hire, the usual response somebody types is: "absent a contract with specific language, the shooter retains the rights to the footage". A sub-issue is, did they sign any NDA's or other agreements regarding trade secrets or proprietary information. Wedding footage is not very marketeable as stock, and many small business videos are so specific as to topic that they also have no real resale value to anyone, so the exploitation of the asset after the client is done with you comes up only rarely, most producers just junk or recycle the tapes because nobody would want the footage except the original client, and if that client doesn't want them, they're useless junk.

I'm not a lawyer (sorry mom) but it seems to me this points up a huge failure in Walmart's legal department, to have let this happen in the first place. My guess is, it came down to dollars, as it usually does in corporations, and especially at Walmart where shaving expenses and costs is the company religion, and nobody wanted to buy the guy out back when it would have been cheaper. Considering what Walmart spends on PR, you'd think it would have been an easy decision to buy out all the footage for whatever price the guy wanted. Even smarter would have been to arrange to own the footage outright from the start. But my guess is, this decision was not in line with Walmart corporate culture. It is no secret I'm not a fan of that company but I'm actually trying to stay neutral about that in the context of this discussion.

We don't know the whole story, but it smells funny that they would have dropped this Flagler guy's company so abruptly. I would like to know details of what happened there before a rush to judgement.

Now, to Ron's issue of trust and reputation, which is a completely separate matter from the finding of fact regarding ownership of the footage. I can tell by the force of Ron's reply that this is also a very personal issue for some folks, as it should be. But let's try to parse this out and see where it leads.

Flagler was destroyed, out of business. His only client dropped him. Not unlike what many Walmart suppliers have had happen, see Vlassic and Huffy bikes for just two examples of that... but let's stick to video-related and business-related issues right here.

If you accept on the face of it that he owned the footage, (which we normally do in these discussions) meaning he COULD release it, then it comes down to why and SHOULD he release it.

Without putting word's in Ron's mouth, I would say his opinion seems to be that trust is the most important issue, that we are like a priest or doctor in that we never leak client's dirty laundry anywhere. I think I generally agree with that, except in cases where a crime is committed and you have some duty to society to be a whistle-blower. If you get the reputation for leaking, as a gossip or a rat, however, it is pretty certain most clients that know of it won't trust you to keep their secrets either. So as a long-term business decision it looks like a bad move to do what Flagler did.

But Flagler had no long-term, and wasn't planning for one is why I guess he did what he did. Seeing the chance to make a fast few million and retire like a lotto winner, his reputation in the industry became a non-issue. This also is the only leverage he had on Walmart, a company that has armies of lawyers whose only job is to delay, obfuscate and hinder legal processes in the service of Bentonville's interests. This is a not inconsiderable force with which to intimidate a small businessman: once you ink a deal with them, you are riding the tiger and dare not get off. Again, consult the Vlassic pickle and Huffy bikes cases for real insight into those business relationships.

When we talk about negotiating tactics in business, a maxim that comes up often is: "you can't negotiate unless you're willing to walk away from the deal. If you can't say no and walk, they own you, and you're going to eventually do whatever they want."\

Again, this is just a guess, but I'm guessing Walmart put Flagler in this position and told him to take a low offer or leave it, assuming he'd take it. But they forgot who actually owned the footage. He owns it, and it has value. The only real issue from a legal standpoint is how much he can get for it and from whom.

Their next step likely IMO is to try and get an injuction against releasing any more footage, on grounds of proprietary information and trade secrets. Will that hold up in a court, I can't say, but if they grant the provisional injunction at least until the case is heard, Walmart wins and quashes the footage for maybe years while appeals and counter-claims are filed, considered, and otherwise marinated thru the court process.

One issue that might support Flagler is, there are legitimate court cases out there, ongoing, concerning this client, and the footage is very likely evidence. Remember what I said about whistle-blowing in the cases where your client commits a crime. It is likely IMO that a state or federal prosecutor in a case against Walmart would subpoena that footage and get if from Flagler for free, or the cost of dub stock. In which case Walmart loses the chance to suppress that footage, Flagler makes no money either, and we have full employment for lawyers. I don't know what the rules are when it is private lawyers in a civil suit deposing or gathering evidence. But anticipating this, Flagler's only choice from a business decision point would have been to get what he could for the footage, from anyone who would pay, while it was still worth a lot. His moral choice is between him and his maker, but the moral choice in a situation like this is not always clear-cut, considering all the side issues going on. This is not a paparazzo flogging pictures to magazines and the internet of a "wholesome" starlet losing her modesty. This is a guy fighting for his life after a deal with the world's hugest company went bad and they were crushing him like a bug. Are any of you really so sure you wouldn't have made the same choice he did? I thank MY maker he doesn't put me in those choosing situations too often.

This is why I'm unwilling to actually take either side on the question of "should he". My opinion is he can, if he wants to, and that under his specific circumstances, the only way for him to survive financially was to do it. Has he ruined himself in the corporate video world? Very likely yes. So his decision had to be "was it worth it" as well as "was it right".

The rest of us usually have more options and choices.

Can we agree to continue this discussion on this purely intellectual level, and not get personal? Because anger and name-calling is not going to sway anyone or get to the truth of things, on either side. I like that the discourse on the COW is always of a more elevated nature, leaving emotions and politics aside. We already have USENET for that stuff.





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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:41:46 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Without putting word's in Ron's mouth, I would say his opinion seems to be that trust is the most important issue, that we are like a priest or doctor in that we never leak client's dirty laundry anywhere. I think I generally agree with that, except in cases where a crime is committed and you have some duty to society to be a whistle-blower. If you get the reputation for leaking, as a gossip or a rat, however, it is pretty certain most clients that know of it won't trust you to keep their secrets either. So as a long-term business decision it looks like a bad move to do what Flagler did."

Being a participant in the crime for 30 years makes you more a co-conspirator than a saintly whistle-blower, does it not, Mark?

These guys aren't doing it for the ethics. That is clearly not the issue.

To me, one of the best businesspeople that I know is Steve Crimmel who has worked with Supertramp, The Doors, Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Lionel Richie, Neil Diamond, Kenny Loggins and many, many others.

While engineering sessions for these people, he has seen and witnessed many things that would drop your jaw. Did he ever tell me any of them? No. The only reason I know anything about anything is that I know his wife who was also there. She told me because we've known each other many years and she knows that I have also produced sessions for many artists. When I mentioned a word of any of this to Steve, he got right on the phone and asked his wife to drop the stories and never tell anyone. Good advice and a prudent request in my opinion. Out of respect for Steve, I have let the stories die with me.

I know many stories of many people in this industry that would drop your jaw. I don't relay them.

Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" springs to mind.

Now where's iTunes??? Ah, there it is...

Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down..."

Ron Lindeboom


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Jim Hyde
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:51:38 pm

Interesting, well thought out post, Mark.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 7:35:24 pm

[Mark Suszko] "...they forgot who actually owned the footage. He owns it, and it has value. The only real issue from a legal standpoint is how much he can get for it and from whom."

This is an assumption that may or may not hold up in court. There are many precedents and legal barbs on which Mr. Flagler's claims could be impaled.

Me, I think it is far from assured that he owns this footage.

I will guarantee that the Wal-Mart lawyers will be sifting through every document, contract and anything else that is related to this -- documents that none of us are now privy to.

There are also many things that can be argued in the name of "trade custom and tradition" when videotaping corporate board meetings. There are also arguments and implied covenants, etc., that I believe will find a court likely unwilling to castrate a major corporation's right to expected privacy of its board meetings, etc.

I don't believe for a minute that this is a clear case of ownership by the one holding the camera. But the courts will decide that and when there are armies of lawyers involved, it be be a while before it all becomes crystal clear.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom


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Don Greening
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 8:12:24 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "it be be a while before it all becomes crystal clear. "

And when the smoke clears and everyone goes home the corporate people won't be remembering the outcome of who had legal ownership over who's intellectual ideas or videotaped property. What they WILL remember is that a video production house tried, unsuccessfully or not, to screw over one of their clients. The corporations will now make sure that from this time forward all future dealings with "those types" better come with an iron clad agreement because after all, video people can't be trusted.

One rotten apple........

- Don



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 8:37:57 pm

[Don Greening] "What they WILL remember is that a video production house tried, unsuccessfully or not, to screw over one of their clients. The corporations will now make sure that from this time forward all future dealings with "those types" better come with an iron clad agreement because after all, video people can't be trusted. One rotten apple..."

A more probable outcome will be that most all video production for major or even mid- to large-sized corporations will go in-house, with all rights automatically retained by the company.

Another probable outcome will be that many companies will quit using smaller shops and will use agencies that have long track records of knowing where the lines are drawn and why things must be kept confidential, etc.

The "grown-ups" play like grown-ups and know that even implied covenants are there, exist, and need to be honored.

Some people want to treat business like a walk along a cliff with them seeing how close to the edge they can get without falling over and getting hurt. Me, I'd rather understand that when I work with a client, I am there as a part of their team and my duty is to to do the absolute best I can under the circumstances. I am not there to think in terms of: "Ah, did they cross every legal 't' and dot every legal 'i' -- if not, then 'ah, ha!' I have them by the groin!"

That is an insane way to do business.

Like you, Don, I think that this episode is going to have far farther reaching affect than some want to believe. As you postulate, humans forget the facts but the feelings have a way of embedding themselves in the sub-conscious. In the end, the erosion of trust and the lack of respect for people's rights are far more serious issues than what the letter of the law may say -- especially in a world where contracts seem to be made to be broken.

But hey, call me old fashioned. I once had a girlfriend who called me "...a 19th century moralist living in the 20th century." In response I said, "thanks." Today I have moved on to being a 19th century moralist living in the 21st century. Now that's progress, baby!

Ron Lindeboom


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 8:52:19 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "I think that this episode is going to have far farther reaching affect than some want to believe. As you postulate, humans forget the facts but the feelings have a way of embedding themselves in the sub-conscious. In the end, the erosion of trust and the lack of respect for people's rights are far more serious issues than what the letter of the law may say"

Don't shut down the Cow just yet. I'll bet ya the next news cycle will simply bury this and we''l be onto discussing NAB and what was and wasn't there this year.

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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robert reed
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 9:00:59 pm

I loved the NAB battle here. I learned more than I ever knew about NAB. Enough that I won't be going this year. Going to save my money and buy something I've really needed instead.

Robert


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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:01:56 am

[Ron Lindeboom] ". I once had a girlfriend who called me "...a 19th century moralist living in the 20th century." In response I said, "thanks." Today I have moved on to being a 19th century moralist living in the 21st century. Now that's progress, baby! "

Ron, I am steaming over this one. The actions of this vindictive pair could hurt all of us. I have stuff in my library that could cause many firings, lawsuites, public humiliation, divorce and every thing else under the sun. Someone earlier said that we needed to look at this professionally and drop the name calling. However, I think someone needs to take this low life Flagler cry baby, piece of crap out and beat some sense into him. Speaking about him on a professional level is an injustice to the word itself. The backlash to the rest of us could be incredible.

When our clients hire us, they expect a certain level of professionalism on our part which includes keeping company business where it belongs, with the company, just like Vegas. Vegas' entire campaign is "We won't rat you out". I agree that if we were to see some flagrant violation of human rights or major crime, we should deal with it in a professional manner. That would entail telling the client that we no longer wish to have a business arrangement with them and then contact the proper authorities to get the wheels of justice rolling. I was on a $3000 a day "exercise video shoot" once when the main girl's top came off and we told producer that we didn't work in the porn industry. He said that he would "Tell the world" that we walked out on him and we did just that. Any "word" from him and the consequences would have been drastic. No court house and no lawyers. He knows that I have no problem doing 30 days to protect my reputation.

As for Flagler, getting fired and then putting his client's secrets out there for sale is nothing but pure GREED, GREED, GREED, mixed with the ethics of a teenager. There isn't one ounce of professionalism involved here, just sheer greed.

If he hates WalMart so much, he should begin by returning the money he took from them. Oh, he won't do that? So, it's ok to keep the money they gave him and if he had a problem with their corporate policies, he should have quit. But no, his greed kept him taking the checks to the bank. What a pathetic little weasle.








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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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 2:52:58 pm

[Steve Wargo] "Ron, I am steaming over this one. The actions of this vindictive pair could hurt all of us."

I couldn't agree with you more, Steve. The backlash from this is going to be with us for years.

The best defense is a good offense, as they say. In that, I think that those here who have outlined their policy of "it all belongs to the client and they can have it all if they go" is the only real pitch that is going to hold water in the days ahead.

Trying to hold to any other policy in a negotiation with a new corporate client is going to foul the air like a fart at a wedding.

Ron Lindeboom



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Flagler must be smoking crack, imnsho...
on Apr 10, 2008 at 4:22:14 pm

People can argue Wal-Mart's ethics are in the toilet. Me, I don't like the company one bit -- BUT there is a far bigger issue at play here and it is an issue that is best illustrated using Flagler themself.

In the MSNBC.com feature on the issue, it is said...
Flagler says Wal-Mart has no legal power over the videos because the two sides did not sign a contract when founder Mike Flagler was hired in the 1970s to produce Wal-Mart meetings and management conferences.

Co-owner Mary Lyn Villaneuva said the business continued producing and filming such events as shareholder meetings and an annual store manager conference until it was suddenly dropped by Wal-Mart in 2006.

Wal-Mart was about 95 percent of Flagler’s business, Villaneuva said. The loss meant the company nearly collapsed. So it looked to its assets and realized that it could charge for access to its video library.

“We would like to go back to being a production company, but right now we’re getting by as an archive,” Villaneuva said.

Flagler charges $250 an hour for video research and additional fees for a DVD copy of film clips.
So, they actually WANT and THINK that people should and could take them serious after this? Wow, that's a stretch!

I wouldn't trust them and would question their business sense pure and simple. As to integrity? I think they have none. Your opinion may differ.

To me, this is not an issue of a company having high moral standards and releasing the tapes on ethical grounds -- that, I could at least understand.

Instead...

They are releasing them (by their own admission) purely for monetary gain. And I, for one, believe that it was clearly known and understood by both parties that these tapes were not being recorded for general issue or distribution. If Flagler had ever failed to understand that point and had brought it up to Wal-Mart management once in the three decades they had the account, they'd have lost the job on the spot!

As a businessperson myself, I HIGHLY doubt that they would have had the job handed to them if the understanding were not there that these were private recordings. But that is going to be decided in the courts, I have little doubt.

And while I do not like Wal-Mart and have only to look at the adverse affect that they have had here on our own Paso Robles, California economy and downtown, I realize that even companies have to have rights. (Even if some people do not believe that they deserve them.)

By doing as they have done, Flagler has largely destroyed their chance of building a business. They were the ones who built a business with only one client. Sheesh. That is Business 101, boys and girls. Lose your one client and you are out of business.

Backstab that one client publicly -- especially when that client happens to be one of the richest companies in the world -- and your chances of getting clients to trust that you won't do it to them, are zip, nil, nada, nine, nope and none.

BUT THE BIGGEST BACKLASH here is going to be seen in the days ahead as companies who have used production companies quit using them out of fear of this kind of thing happening to them.

Cheer for your own business's demise, boys and girls, but I won't be rallying behind Flagler or their, in my opinion, continuation of their lack of ethics.

They put themselves into this position for three decades. They were willing participants in any moral breach and excesses that some of you might argue as being Wal-Mart practices and deficiencies.

These are no saints and they are not heroes. They are the people, in my opinion, who with this one move have done more to add to the demise of an already rough and ailing corporate video marketplace.

Watch the greeting you get the next time you have to do a corporate cold call.

Then send Flagler a thank you note.

Ron Lindeboom


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Mark Suszko
Re: Flagler must be smoking crack...
on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:19:47 pm

Ron I think you're right that it's a black eye for the industry as a whole. But I think we'll survive it. Most people will get caught up in the "walmartness" of it and not make the broader connections you did, IMO.

Frankly, some good may come out of this after all, if it leads to clearer contractual obligations for all parties. I imagine there are a lot of conference calls going on in corporate legal offices today across the country. Expect new contract language for your next deal that's more specific as to who owns what, and I think life will otherwise go on.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Flagler must be smoking crack...
on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:30:32 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Most people will get caught up in the "walmartness" of it and not make the broader connections you did, IMO."

Most people aren't running companies. It is the ones that do that I fear will have the longest memories and will make the broader associations in this case.

But yes, life will go on; even if people's eroding sense of ethics causes yet another layer of contractual obligation to be spelled out because many seem to no longer have any real inner-compass -- and live lives where their word is meaningless and without any moral backbone.

Not justifying Wal-Mart by any stretch, just saying that I have little doubt that Flagler knew full well that these tapes were not being paid for so that they could put them up for sale.

Best,

Ron Lindeboom


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walter biscardi
Re: Flagler must be smoking crack...
on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:45:34 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Expect new contract language for your next deal that's more specific as to who owns what, and I think life will otherwise go on."

Funny how we've had quite a few threads lately about "who owns the material that was shot." I guess we'll finally know.

And I have to agree with the great boomer on this one. Wal-Mart is very low on my list of respected companies, but Flagler has definitely stooped to an all time low. Your one and only company dumps you so you cry like a baby and decided to sell off a large company's video library.

I definitely would NEVER hire this company to produce anything. Zero ethics. I've lost more companies over the years than I have on our roster at any one time. I actually get nervous if any one company is a significant part of the business so we don't rely too much on any one thing.

Flagler's poor business model is a great example for anyone looking to start their own business. Nothing and no client is forever.

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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Steve Wargo
I'll agree with that one.
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:11:08 am

After this goes through the court system, I guess we'll find out who owns the rights to the footage. I just saw a huge court case in Arizona this past year that determined that the shooter MAY own the footage but the shooter does not have a right to do a damn thing with it. The client, on the other hand, has the right to use the footage for any purpose that they choose. And this came from the highest court in the state.

I wonder how much cash Flagler has in his war chest. He should have taken the half mill and got into another business. His only hope is that WalMart decides to throw cash at it so it goes away.



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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Nick Griffin
Re: Flagler must be smoking crack, imnsho...
on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:43:03 pm

Flagler's critical need for good legal counsel was noted earlier. My bet is they are completely lacking this important element of a viable business and that they are going to lose this battle -- big time. Once WalMart's atty's start showering Flagler with motions, restraining orders and such like they'll be gone in a matter of weeks. And deservedly so. What a bone-headed move against one of the world's largest corporations. Let's just hope that someday we can read exactly what WalMart did to make Flagler feel so aggrieved.


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Dan Asselin
Re: Flagler must be smoking crack, imnsho...
on Apr 12, 2008 at 12:23:08 am

Ron is something wrong. Last week I went to the article on "Windows on a mac" and you were tearing a strip off of someone, implying they were an idiot and telling them to "remind me to never listen to snything you have to say again". This week I come to this forum and you're doing the same thing. Gee, I'd almost think you're missing your yearly trip to Vegas (NAB). You know there are other ways to have a vacation. In the immortal words of my teenage son...chill man;.)



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Flagler must be smoking crack, imnsho...
on Apr 12, 2008 at 2:31:52 pm

Wow, we get 750,000 visitors a month now and have over 107,000 fully registered members that post so it is a L-O-N-G stretch for you to imagine that in a month we might actually get TWO whole occasions to raise the intensity above a whisper -- or give out a reaction aside from a pat on the back???

Lastly, Scott Lissard admitted that his remarks on the Windows On Mac article were "harsh." They were. He also jumped to conclusions and his remarks were ill-informed at best. If you liked him and approved of his comments, then I will say that it may be a case wherein birds of a feather...

There, that's three now. (Where's Bob Zelin when you really need him?)

Ron Lindeboom


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Bill Dewald
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:39:44 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "I also believe that you are a blind self-centered opportunist, and someone that I hope finds no place in corporate video."


Wow - a personal attack from the man who owns the board... Party's getting ruff...


Here's my take - this is such an freak situation that I just don't see it translating into a black eye on the whole corporate video industry. I think the lesson that will carry on from this, if any, is that Wal-Mart's lawyers screwed up, and that ownership of the footage should be part of any negotiation.

Hopefully, some good comes out of the archive being made public. I like to think that if I was in the same situation, I'd throw it all up on google video for free.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:50:08 pm

I have always argued against personal and direct attacks here at the COW. That's the rule. But, as in life, there is another rule that says that for every general rule there is a great and glaring exception to that rule. Shift happens.

When I see someone blatantly state that betraying a trust is a good thing to do, I will always challenge that as I think it is a ridiculous posture to take. It will always destroy your credibility in the end and when you do it publicly to a company the size and power of Wal-Mart -- and then encourage others to do it -- you are giving our industry the kind of black-eye that will have far reaching repercussions.

Me, I think that is not only bad advice but idiotic advice and I don't mind saying so.

If you disagree, please don't ever see me about work of any kind.

Ron Lindeboom




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Bill Dewald
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 6:06:07 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "Me, I think that is not only bad advice but idiotic advice and I don't mind saying so."

Oh, I'll agree with your assesment, Ron,(honesty being paramount) - it's a no-brainer, really...


I think that people will see this as a freak story about some guy cheating to get rich, rather than indicative of how the corporate video industry works...



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Jim Hyde
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 6:19:09 pm

I like how you softened the blow of your wording in the original post to me. Nice.

Again as Mark said, the guy had nothing left to lose, I really don't think he cares about his credibility at this point and nor should he.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 6:26:53 pm

[Jim Hyde] "I really don't think he cares about his credibility at this point and nor should he."

Nor should he???

Wow. I am speechless at these words -- almost. ;o)

In the end, all you are is your word and your reputation. It will follow or precede you everywhere and what you make of yourself, or don't, is based on that. It is called "character" and is far more valuable a commodity in business than your talent. I have seen plenty of talented losers who can't scratch two nickels/schillings together because their words and trustworthiness are valueless.

Talent alone won't make you a success in business.

Ron Lindeboom



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Jim Hyde
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 6:40:23 pm

Yes but when you have a ticket to financial freedom like this guy (arguably, since he has not taken up wal-marts buyout offer) who cares about business or what anyone thinks of you. Being in his position it seems like a good time to retire.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 7:03:54 pm

You can't be more than about 18. Early twenties at the oldest. Right?

I say this because only a kid would think that this guy has any power whatsoever in this situation. What he really has is a guarantee of being buried under tons of legal depositions and machinations which he will have to respond to and answer one by one. It will take no effort at all to bury both him and any lawyer who takes this case on behalf of Flagler.

The case can be made as to the fact that in 30 years, Flagler never violated the trust of the client's right to ownership of their own recordings. In many courts of law, there is both "Color of Law" and "Implied Contracts" that can and do both influence law and determine legal outcomes. I wouldn't want to be holding the tiger by the tail that he has just unleashed.

There is also an argument that could easily be made for proving trade custom in this case. Then there are other tacts that could be used with the courts to tie this guy up in chains and handcuffs and keep him so busy that his eyes will damned near burst under the pressure and onslaught of it all. And justifiably so. Couldn't happen to a more deserving soul in my opinion.

I am willing to state unequivocally that the one thing this guy may have thought he'd get out of it was retirement but that what he's actually going to get out of it is absolute and total ruination on many levels. This guy will find out this this is no cakewalk on Easy Street and that this road to retirement is fraught with one landmine after another. I will be surprised as hell if he "keeps either of his feet" in it all.

Lastly, he won't be invited to join the host team of this forum -- and I know that will break his heart -- but perhaps you can open a site and build a forum wherein both you and he can offer advice to the unsuspecting and unwary.

Ron Lindeboom


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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:17:46 am

Jim, I would not hire you to mow my yard.

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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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:15:41 am

[Jim Hyde] "Again as Mark said, the guy had nothing left to lose, I really don't think he cares about his credibility at this point and nor should he."

When we have no material things, what we have left is our honor. Anyone who agrees with Flagler has none.



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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grinner hester
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 6:40:26 pm

I find it interesting how many true creeps are truely stupid.
Go toe to tow with a power house? It's one thing to ensure no future business with an ex-client but this wreaks of angry ex-wife and a boat load of debt a year from now.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 7:02:03 pm

How many business relationships are like marriages and, by extension, sometimes like divorces?


(There's also a dirty joke hidden in that setup somewhere, but I'm trying to keep the standards high:-)


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Don Greening
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 7:12:18 pm

[Mark Suszko] "How many business relationships are like marriages and, by extension, sometimes like divorces? "

Are you looking for the word "messy"?

[Mark Suszko] "(There's also a dirty joke hidden in that setup somewhere, but I'm trying to keep the standards high:-)"

And don't think for a moment that everyone here doesn't appreciate that, Mark :)

- Don



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Randy Wheeler
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 8:58:59 pm

YouTube video and article:

http://asupremenewyorkthing.com/2008/04/09/flagler-productions-has-wal-mart...

Made the Wall Street Journal:

http://blogs.wsj.com/independentstreet/2008/04/09/did-wal-mart-forget-the-l...

Lots of comments after the article...

"Did Wal-Mart Forget the Little Guys?

Posted by Wendy Bounds

Never forget the little guys who help along you the way. That old adage is likely ringing in the ears of Wal-Mart execs this morning following Gary McWilliams’ story about how a tiny video-production company is giving the world’s biggest retailer a massive headache.

It’s the story of Flagler Productions Inc., a small firm who for 30 years was employed as to capture footage of its top execs, sometimes in unguarded moments. Its relationship was sealed with a handshake, not a long-winded contract. Two years ago, Wal-Mart dumped Flagler and nearly caused the shop to fold because it accounted for such a large portion of its business.

Now Flagler is resurrecting itself – by opening its trove of some 15,000 Wal-Mart tapes to the outside world, with an eye toward selling clips. And the material is proving irresistible to everyone from plaintiffs lawyers (and there is no shortage of those where Wal-Mart is concerned), to documentary filmmakers and union organizers. Wal-Mart is upset and says it never intended for Flagler to “tape internal meetings with this aftermarket in mind.” The company says it’s reviewing its legal options.

This isn’t the first time Wal-Mart has heard loud squeaks from a small cog in its wheel. Last year, it became embroiled in a messy fight with a security engineer it fired. And this story tells the tale of how a 20-year apparel supplier to Wal-Mart was singed over 4,000 pairs of cargo pants, fought back, and won.

The biggest players in the world can’t function without smaller ones to keep them supplied, technologically-sound, and otherwise ticking. To stay afloat, Flagler offered to sell Wal-Mart the whole video archive for several million dollars. Wal-Mart, whose revenue is now over $375 billion, countered with an offer of $500,000.

And the little guy hasn’t forgotten.

Readers, do you think Flagler is unfairly exploiting Wal-Mart’s material? Or do you think that Wal-Mart made a mistake in how it handled its relationship with Flagler?"


Randy


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robert reed
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 9:22:45 pm

This company reminds me of someone wanting to rob a bank. Even if they did not have a written contract, they knew that Wal-Mart had not hired them to tape this for the world.

The fact that Sam Walton hired them on a handshake long ago speaks better of Sam Walton than it does of this company.

I don't agree with Ron that all corporate video will go in-house or to agencies, but I do agree that it will make many corporations more cautious about video in the future.

Robert


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Don Greening
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 9:23:57 pm

I've found the comments posted by readers of the Wall Street article to be much more interesting than the article itself. One of the comments (there are many and varied) is from a "previous" Flagler employee.

- Don


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Mark Suszko
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 11:06:38 pm

Walmart's likeliest tactic will be to say that while Flagler owns the tapes, he has no signed releases for anybody IN them. That means he can't clear the footage for use in documentaries or etc. which reduces the potential for use of the footage anywhere but in academic studies and of course discovery phase of civil suits. With that rulingf they can get the YouTube showings removed as a DMCA violation and prevent junior Michael Moore's from doing too much damage. Nobody still working or wanting to work for Walmart will sign a release to Flagler. And you can't get a release from a dead man or his kin if they don't want you to have it. I suppose a film maker could watch the tapes and re-create footage based on transcripts, but I'm still not sure he could use the actual words of the walmartians without a clearance. That's a question for a real lawyer.

I doubt a judge would allow a presumption that since the people taped all worked for Walmart and gave consent to Walmart, that that consent automatically transfers to Flagler and his assigns and et. al. because I dont think the case law has too many examples of that as a precedent, rather more the opposite, I imagine. (and here is where I should stop pretending to be a lawyer, regardless of my hotel choice)

So maybe not quite the bonanza they thought at first. Still, do you think fifty grand is a fair offer on thirty year's worth of stock footage that chronicles from the inside, the evolution and true workings of the biggest company ever?

I still think Walmart should be sacking a brace of their lawyers for getting them into this mess in the first place, plus the manager who wouldn't approve whatever number Flagler counter-offered with. Only fools argue inside a burning building.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 11:25:36 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Still, do you think fifty grand is a fair offer on thirty year's worth of stock footage that chronicles from the inside, the evolution and true workings of the biggest company ever?"

They offered him a half-million dollars but he wanted millions.

Ron Lindeboom


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Tim Kolb
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 10, 2008 at 11:59:24 pm

I'd have to say this would qualify as a breach of normal "best practices" for business relationships even though I am not a fan of Wal Mart in any way...


If they issued an invoice and got paid, it does imply some sort of work product is purchased, but of course if they can make the old "photographer owns the negatives and base rights" deal stick if there is no agreement about what exactly constitutes the deliverable that was paid for...they might survive legally. However, I suspect that the opinion stated here that they may survive the battle only to lose the war is correct.


Frankly, I suspect that Flagler would have done better financially if...

(after some serious time with some serious legal experts who could confirm ownership of the footage, or at least confirm it was completely in question...)

...they'd edited a little "greatest hits" video out of the archive and gone in and done a little sales presentation...if money was what they wanted, keeping the video from seeing the light of day would have been far more valuable to Wal Mart than mopping up after the dirty laundry is opened to the public.

It's a tough deal for a production company that has clearly had all it's eggs in one basket for a loooong time, which is a self-created peril anyway, made worse by a colossally petty and foolishly unprofessional stunt when the ride ended...










TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

CPO, Digieffects


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Don Greening
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 12:56:36 am

[Tim Kolb] "It's a tough deal for a production company that has clearly had all it's eggs in one basket for a loooong time, which is a self-created peril anyway, made worse by a colossally petty and foolishly unprofessional stunt when the ride ended..."

What I found quite interesting is that apparently (from a former Flagler employee posting on the Wall St. web site) WM basically demanded that they be the ONLY client of Flagler. Wonder how often THAT happens? I mean, in the video biz.

- Don


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Tim Kolb
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 1:52:50 am

...i[Don Greening] "WM basically demanded that they be the ONLY client of Flagler. Wonder how often THAT happens?"

It happens quite often in the video biz, whether it's stated as such or not...have you ever had a client that WANTED to hear that you're unable to jump at their every whim because you have other clients...?

...and I think by know it's common knowledge that it happens to EVERY Wal Mart vendor.

I have no doubt that Wal Mart was not a nurturing or altruistic client, but we're still off the map on what this production company did in my opinion...





TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

CPO, Digieffects


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Gav Bott
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 1:41:52 am

Admittedly in the UK and in a very much smaller way I once asked a media lawyer a question that relates to this – mainly because I was owed a bit of money.

The “who owns” question when there is no contract in place.

The answer was pretty much immediate and definitive:- “Can you honestly stand up in court and say that you were employed by the client company for 4 years on the basis that you would hold all the rights?”

Basically, with no contract in place to say otherwise is falls to an implied “reasonable use” in the handshake agreement over 30 years. As has been pointed out several times already WM would never have employed this company had they ever thought that the footage belonged to anyone but themselves – no company would.

Maybe the US has different rules, but the lawyer and the situation we were discussing covered a lot of countries.

In my opinion Flagler is in a no win financial situation on this one. If they just want to get a few shots in at Wallmart they might score with some leaked footage to lawyers and people that are bringing cases, but this is likely to cost Flagler a lot more than it could ever gain them in money terms.

Flagler are unlikely to be able to position themselves as the White Knight whistle blower, for all the reasons already pointed out. They will look vindictive at best – even if their footage helps a few media friendly cases.

For Flagler it ends the company’s reputation, ruins them further financially in legal evil costs – and they probably don’t even get the satisfaction of slaking their thirst for revenge by scoring any really effective points against the Wallmart.

As usual, only the lawyers will win all round.


The Brit in Brisbane
The Pomme in Production - Brisbane Australia.


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Randy Wheeler
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 2:13:26 am

Another Wall Street Journal article with a little more info and a video report with Mr. Flagler in it.

By the way, Mike Flagler sold the company in 2006 to two employees before Walmart dumped them which happened only 9 days after selling it:

"Candid Camera: Trove of Videos Vexes Wal-Mart"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120770260120100121.html?mod=WSJBlog

Couple snippets:

"The production company's founder and former owner, Mike
Flagler, says he was hired on a handshake in the 1970s to help produce the events Wal-Mart holds each year for managers and shareholders, including entertainment portions of its annual meeting and important sales meetings. He filmed them as well.

He says he rebuffed Wal-Mart's suggestions that he reuse the tapes to save money. Instead, he held onto recordings of commercials, executive speeches and manager hijinks.

Corporate records typically are closely controlled through legal contracts that restrict access and use. Mr. Flagler says he never signed a contract with Wal-Mart for the production or video work. Flagler Productions says that that arrangement left ownership and control of the films with it."

and

"The video library might have remained under wraps if a new Wal-Mart executive hadn't decided to hire another company to stage a musical production for its 2006 stockholders' meeting. The decision sharply curbed Flagler's role. Wal-Mart dumped Flagler altogether as a producer in late 2006, nine days after Mr. Flagler sold the company for an undisclosed sum to two employees, Mary Lyn Villanueva and Gregory A. Pierce.

The current owners say Wal-Mart accounted for more than 90% of Flagler's revenue. The company's bank called in a loan, and the pair dismissed their 16-person work force, Ms. Villanueva says.

Flagler offered to sell the whole video archive to Wal-Mart for several million dollars, Ms. Villanueva says, although she won't disclose the exact price. Wal-Mart countered with an offer of $500,000, arguing the footage wouldn't be of interest elsewhere, the two owners say.

They sold their 20,000-square-foot production facility and moved into an 800-square-foot rented office. They now hope to sustain the company by selling access to the Wal-Mart videos. They charge $250 an hour for video research, and additional fees for a DVD copy of film clips."

Randy




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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:37:47 am

[Randy Wheeler] "Mary Lyn Villanueva and Gregory A. Pierce. "

Seems like Mary Lyn Villanueva and Gregory A. Pierce need to be suing Flagler. I imagine they bought the company based on the WalMart deal. Kind of like Flagler knew it was coming or did WM dismiss the company because Mr Flagler sold the company.

So, Flagler sells his company to two employees who see big $$ based on the previous 30 years and then he keeps the library. Thing thing smells worse by the minute.

Either way, Flagler is going lower and lower in my book and ten minutes ago, I didn't think that was possible.





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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George Socka
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 2:18:51 am

Royal butlers and Britney Spears' babysitters have made millions from material like this. If nothing else, Michael Moore and Julia Roberts producers will find fair use rights of parody. Will Flagler's people ( apparently not Flagler himself AFAIK) win big time? No. Will WalMart lose a bit, most likely. Get those tape duplicators busy.

George Socka
BeachDigital
http://www.beachdigital.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 3:00:45 am

Gav, mate, I don't know how they do it in God's own Earth, but in the States where this is happening, there is a simple break point: if you work IN the company (on salary), everything but EVERYTHING you do, they own.

If you are an outside contractor, paying your own taxes and benefits and not getting a salary from the customer and not reporting to a boss, they only own the finished "work product", the master program, not your original elements or work rolls.

If Flagler worked in an internal Walmart video department with salary and benefits, a boss, and etc. we would not be having this conversation. The law up here is that, absent a written contract that says otherwise, he owns the tapes. Not Walmart.

What he can eventually Do with them is another matter entirely. There are unsettled issues of the people in the videos signing releases, as well as possible copyright issues.

And since we're being sticklers, should we even be using Flagler's name? Technically, he sold the company and this problem is between the new owners of his dead company and Walmart, isn't it?




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Gav Bott
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 5:07:49 am

Hi Mark,

running under different rules to the UK then - I was self employed doing production work for the company in question, not an employee.

I stil think that this means that they can keep the actuall tapes, but they have no rights to use them at all - under the same reasoning that I first posted about.

If it's just clearance on performances I think they can get around the issues for the people in the videos - is it news worthy or educational? Answer "yes" to pass Go and proceed directly to fair use.

The Brit in Brisbane
The Pomme in Production - Brisbane Australia.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 5:29:53 am

Gav, "Fair Use" here is a defense, not a license. It is not at all a "pass go, get out of jail free", Monopoly-card inevitability. You take your chances and do the project and they go ahead and sue you and you go to court and the court decides if you used their stuff and you admit that yes, it was their stuff you used.... and THEN you get to plead that you are excused under the cover of Fair Use. And only then does the court decide if your claim fits one of the specific examples and rules of the Fair Use exception. And even if you win, you may lose, because the way the courts drag on for ages, who but a rich corporation can afford the legal defense over all that time? More urgently, who in their right mind is going to front you the money to make a film containing these clips until you get this issue worked out and you can assure them the thing will ever get to air anywhere but your mom's basement? So it's a huge damper on the production of many independent documentaries.

I really envy the system you have Down Under for licensing pop music for things like wedding videos. We are in the stone age of copyright law by comparison up here, kept that way by Disney and Sony and the rest, and technically we'd be in the wrong to ever use an uncleared music clip for any public project, or even an internal company video like one might play at Walmart. See, I brought it back at the end, pretty clever huh?:-)

Gotta go to bed now, have spent the last three hours locked in an epic debate with my guardian angel over this issue, only to get inconclusive results, and I don't pay myself overtime.


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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:43:30 am

[Mark Suszko] "The law up here is that, absent a written contract that says otherwise, he owns the tapes. Not Walmart. "

Sorry Mark, not true. If he billed them for the tape stock and they paid, they own the tapes. He MAY own the copyright to the footage but it a useless copyright because he does not have the rights to use any participant's likeness or voice without their consent. I just witnessed a huge court case in Arizona and this was the outcome. Because I was called as an expert witness, I cannot give any plaintiff-defendant identities.



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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grinner hester
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 3:01:41 am

lol
tryin' to shake down the man will get a brother shaken.
It'll make a good movie but I assume it'll come out after the explosion.



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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:26:28 am

[Mark Suszko] "Still, do you think fifty grand is a fair offer on thirty year's worth of stock footage that chronicles from the inside, the evolution and true workings of the biggest company ever? "

It's 500 thousand But, didn't WalMart get a bill for the raw stock? And if so, they own the tapes and whatever is on them. It seems to me as though Flagler is nothing more tan a pathetic thief.



Steve Wargo
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Mike Cohen
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 2:59:43 am

Generally in business when you lose a client, you use your expertise to attract new clients, rather than trying to blackmail former clients in order to make a living. Bad move.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 3:53:34 am

Hey, they are big, Mike, and the other people are small. That makes it okay. Didn't anyone learn you that???

;)

As long as you are small, you are justified for pretty much anything under the "Hey, they have much more money than you, me, and my neighborhood" clause.

I guess you missed the memo, eh?

Ron Lindeboom


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Mark Suszko
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 5:17:00 am

You know, the Bible says the disciple Simon Peter vowed his undying loyalty to Jesus, then denied knowing him three times and ran off during the events portrayed in The Passion Play. And we made him the first leader of the Church. I'm not going to say I'm any less flawed a human being than him.

Just sayin', it is nice to declare your morals and principles, and easy to SAY what you'd do in every situation, but you never really KNOW what you'll do until the situation is really happening, to you, and you have to decide: do I honor a picket line, on principle, or does my family get to eat tonight? Do I do illegal performance enhancing drugs because I must keep pace with everyone else in the game that's doing them or lose my ticket? Do I stick to my code, if it leads to innocents suffering? Am I punishing the wicked or fueling my own pride and need for revenge? Stand my ground and be gunned down or run from combat? Could I or would I kill a person that threatened or actually harmed my family, in cold blood, after he was jailed and no longer an immediate threat? How much profit is an obscene amount, in a world where CEO's can earn 70 million dollars a year for FAILURE and bankruptcy, and dishwashers and nurse's aides can't get a one-dollar raise on their minimum wage? Nobody really KNOWS what they'll do in these situations until they are in them. To say one does is wishing. We only know what we HOPE we would do, what we think we SHOULD do, and we try to live by that. Sometimes we meet or exceed our expectations. Sometimes we don't.

This is not aimed at anybody in particular. But we are talking about moral codes, professional ethics, and choices. It's okay to announce your code: it helps you live by it, as others hold you to what you've pledged, and encourage you along the way. Your example may also inspire others and uplift everyone by extension.

Is Flagler immoral for asking arguably the world's richest corporation for a larger share, to buy what he technically had a right to sell? I'm not going to say he's justified just because Walmart would have zero delay in making a business decision in reverse circumstances. It is quite correct that two wrongs don't make a right. But don't you think there was a social contract in place for those thirty years that Walmart was the first to break?

I think a guy's character is rightly determined in part by how he reacts to being wronged, if he sinks to the level of his tormentor, plays by his rules or the other guy's. I tend to give everybody one free whack at ripping me off, I'm a generally trusting, some would say, gullible, person. But I only give you one free shot to rip me off. After that, its war. Because coming at me to rip me off a second time means you're never going to stop, and so I have to stop you. That's not as Christian as I was taught to be. But it allows me to survive in an imperfect world, while giving everybody at least a chance.

Flagler arguably made a bad business decision and a technically legal, but shady ethical call, after being dealt a crippling blow. Being absolutist about his rightness or wrongness just seems a bit unfair, if we are not under the same circumstances. I'm not trying to defend him, condone him, or even explain him... or conversely to insult or accuse those who feel strongly negatively about him. I'm just more comfortable talking about matters of actual fact and law than of motivation in this case, because I, we, just don't know enough yet about what the heck happened here that lead to this result. If I was sixty years old, buried in debt, without other work prospects, scre... um, worked-over by a gigantic corporation that I'd slaved for over thirty years, and they unwittingly gave me a weapon in business terms that I could use to set myself up comfortably for life, I think I would be sorely tempted to use it. I think we all would. Not all of us would act on it, for various reasons.

But we'll never know for certain what we're made of until we're tested in the fire ourselves. Simon Peter thought he knew.

Thus endeth the lesson.







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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 5:12:11 pm

I am pushing 60, Mark. While the aging thing sucks and the sick part really sucks, there are some advantages. I know who I am at this point and who I am not. I have learned that there are some lines I am willing to cross and some I am not.

Some people are quite willing to sell out their ethics and morals based on circumstances based on relativism and situational ethics. I have learned over the years that I am not one of them. The people that know me best would tell you that.

I am stubborn. I am pushing 60 and think that it is life's grand adventure to work at building your character. Yes, all of us screw up and fall. That is the point of and the necessity for grace. It's why even my bitterest rivals will get another chance with me if they are willing to learn. Where I live, it's not the number of times that a man falls that determines his character but rather the number of times he picks himself up. Life is for learning. Perfection is best left to the Creator.

Unlike the scenario you painted here with all its relativism and subjective pondering of situational ethics, I have learned that for me, life is meaningless when lived in that kind of vacuum. If your character is only as strong as your convenience and desire for gain, it will break down.

The people at Flagler can say all they want that they have a "right" to do what they do. Me, I think that they are people of such reprehensible character that have taken a company -- regardless of what you may think of them -- and have stabbed them in the back. That is my opinion and you are welcome to yours. I wouldn't trust their judgment in anything at this point and if I had the chance to work with them for free, I'd say "No thanks."

Wrap it in vague relativism all you want, this is a plain ole case of betraying a confidence that they knew for 30 years that they were obligated to uphold. If was a case of rights, why didn't they exercise them 30 years ago? They knew they couldn't do it or they'd lose the client.

There are such things as implied and verbal contracts and I think that Wal-Mart -- no matter how much I detest them as a company -- is the company to teach these people the meaning of the terms.

And next time you want to challenge me on ethical values and beliefs and tie it into religion, Mark, please write me offline as I try not to have these kinds of debates here in the COW but am always ready to defend my own beliefs, and why I believe them.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom


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Mark Suszko
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 6:13:07 pm

There wasn't a first time. I'm sorry if you took it that way, Ron. I spent three hours last night soul-searching, writing, trashing, re-writing and editing that post specifically so as NOT to do that. In no way was it a challenge to anybody's character, rather, one opinion that character is not what you say, but what you do. I think we're more in agreement than not about a lot of this Flagler issue, from where I stand. But yes, we can keep it on just the issue of the technical legalities, I didn't presume to really "preach" to anyone.

Implied and verbal contracts are worth less than the paper they are not printed on in court. What matters in a courtroom is not what was said un-witnessed, they throw that out as hearsay.

All a judge wants to see is, hard physical evidence. Words on paper, signed and notarized, and some proof the pledge on the paper was carried out in whole or in part. Saying Walmart had an expectation of privacy by an unspoken "understanding" is not law. It is very much the customary practice in our business, but it is not a law. It is an assumption that the other guy lives by the same code you do, this is very different from what is law. And its why we have to HAVE laws, for people who don't have the same code of conduct we share.

Verbal agreements are not enforceable unless they meet several criteria. Honorable people like you and I stand by them anyway because we were raised that way and we also consider it in our best interest as professionals. Its a small circle we work in, and if you ruin your reputation, you'll never climb out of that hole, you'd be lucky to move to another market and start from scratch, and the internet makes it impossible to escape a bad rep anymore. Flagler stands to be an object lesson to all the folks coming up in the business that you can pay a high price to "win".

Please however, don't tag me unfairly as being his apologist. I'm not. Nor a moral relativist, which I have to say hurts a little bit. I'm only trying to look at the problem from all sides and figure out what we can learn from it. Not to judge anyone.

We still friends or what? I'd like to think so.





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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 6:35:33 pm

Here in California, I have seen more than a few verbal contracts enforced. I sat on a Chapter 11 board on behalf of one of the banks whose interests I was securing and representing and we sicked our attorneys on one of the vendors who helped put the company in jeopardy based on what they agreed to but did not do. There was no contract but it held and the company had to make good.

You cannot simply sweep away all verbal agreements and say that the only thing that holds is the contract. While the contract is indeed the "bones" of the agreement body, there are things that can be made to stick -- call it the "skin," if you will -- that when proven by witnesses, can be made to hold.

I cut away half of what I wrote to you because in it, I had given example after example of where I slit my own throat to honor my word. Those who know me, know I will -- and do. Like you, I believe talk is cheap and actions do indeed speak louder than words. Since you want to quote the Bible earlier, I will tell you one of my favorite verses and one which I try to live by: "Who shall ascend the Lord's holy hill, but he that swears an oath and holds to it, even unto his own hurt." You do not know me and so it doesn't surprise me that you think what you do. It really holds little weight with me as I learned long ago that there are always critics and those quick to think that you are like them and who judge you by what they think and do. Sometimes, they are right, other times they are wrong -- in the end, it is you who must decide how much of it is true in your own life.

I have asked you before to call me and let's talk through some of the misunderstandings that you and I have with each other on this and past issues. You don't want to. That is fine but if you think being called a "moral relativist" hurt your feelings, then you may have missed the part in which you called me a hypocrite in a few hundred words or more.

Lastly, you are ABSOLUTELY correct that judges do indeed look at the hard and fast evidence. And rule based on it. But thankfully, I have seen in my own experience over the years that they do indeed take into consideration and weigh in and balance the testimony of those parties who we the active participants in a matter. When a clause in a document exists, it will always determine the ruling in that area. But where no such clear cut clause exists, then the testimony of witnesses does indeed have bearing and does hold sway in the outcome. In that, I hope that Wal-Mart can clean these guys clocks by parading out a long line of people who over the years knew and were party to things which will tie Flagler's hands behind their backs. They deserve nothing less and I am truly ashamed that they are even a representative in this industry.

If there's anything else you have to say, call me -- or don't. I am done with this leg of this topic.

Best always,

Ron Lindeboom

PS (added a few minutes after I wrote the full post): Yes, I would consider you someone that I like. Friends? I can't say yes to that as I do not know you. I do not use the word "friend" lightly and I have some friends here in the COW and they know I would do anything for them and that they can count on me, fer sure. That's what friends are for. Well, so sang Dionne Warwick, anyway.


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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 5:16:11 am

[Ron Lindeboom] "so sang Dionne Warwick, anyway. "

I took a photo of Dionne Warwick last Saturday night on the red carpet at Muhammed Ali's Fight Night in Phoenix. She looks the same as she did 20 years ago.





Steve Wargo
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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 5:06:56 am

Well said[Ron Lindeboom] "Where I live, it's not the number of times that a man falls that determines his character but rather the number of times he picks himself up."

Very well said, Boomer.
In the world that I come from, it's "You don't have to stand tall, But you do have to stand up."

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:57:15 am

[Mark Suszko] "Is Flagler immoral for asking arguably the world's richest corporation for a larger share, to buy what he technically had a right to sell?"

How can you even think such a thing. Exactly how does he have a right to blackmail someone else? As I said in another post, he was perfectly fine in taking their money for 30 years. IMHO, he is a low life, backstabbing thief who deserves nothing less then to be stripped of any money he stole from his employees that bought his worthless company and jailed for extortion. I wonder if he offered to give them their money back when WalMart dumped them 9 days after buying the company. He'll probably sue me over my inflammatory posts. I can guarantee that we would settle outside the court room.

It's corporate blackmail any way you look at it.



Steve Wargo
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walter biscardi
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 5:01:04 am

[Steve Wargo] "It's corporate blackmail any way you look at it."

Amen to that and all the other comments you've been posting in this thread.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
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Steve Wargo
Kansas firm owned by RATS
on Apr 12, 2008 at 3:10:48 am

[Ron Lindeboom] "Shame on them. What unprofessional hack"

I agree with Ron a thousand percent. This is a direct violation of trust. Walmart would be insane to give these incredible maggots a dime. They need to bury them in the legal system. ANYONE who agrees with Flagler is incredibly unethical. I guess it would be OK if someone that used to work for you put all of your private business the web, right.

I cannot put into words how incensed I am that these dirt bags turned on their former client. I have been released by several companies for different reasons. It never made me want to drop my honor and become a filthy rat.

Unbelievable!


Steve Wargo
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robert reed
Re: Kansas firm owned by RATS
on Apr 13, 2008 at 1:54:50 pm

[Steve Wargo] "I guess it would be OK if someone that used to work for you put all of your private business on the web. right?"

It's always funny how people's judgment changes when it is about them or their family or friends.

They hold one set of value standards when weighing others but hate it when anyone applies the same standard to them.

I think the word here, Steve, is hypocrisy.

These guys who agree with Flagler would be morally outraged were it their dirty laundry being hoisted up the flagpole, recorded for all the world to see by someone paid for 30 years as a trusted confidant.

I hate to get crude here but where I live there's an old saying that people use when expressing their contempt, that I wouldn't pee on them if they were on fire.

When it comes to Flagler and those that agree with them, I wouldn't.

Robert


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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm owned by RATS
on Apr 13, 2008 at 6:46:01 pm

[robert reed] "When it comes to Flagler and those that agree with them"

They probably bought some Chinese underwear at WM and it fell apart in the laundry.


Steve Wargo
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tommy d'angelo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 11, 2008 at 2:14:53 pm

Wow...

I don't think this is too smart a move by the production company. If the facts here are true, whatever your attitudes toward Wal-Mart or any other company, the production company is in the wrong here. It just reaks of unprofessionalism.

I am also shocked that Wal-Mart didn't have some sort of contract to cover this even if the relationship began in the 70s. Where I work, we have hundreds of major clients. As far as I know, the client owns all tapes including field etc. When we end a relationship with a client, all tapes including masters and field are given back to them.





Tommy D'Angelo
Editor
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NYC by way of Westchester


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Bob Cole
wow
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:22:26 am

I'm sorry to see this happen. I've always prided myself on discretion and loyalty to clients -- and to anyone I'm taping, for that matter. Despite the success and entertainment value of the Michael Moore doc's and "Borat," they make me uncomfortable for the people who are being held up to ridicule.

All the same, there are reasons to be cautious about overstating the importance of Flagler-Walmart. I suspect that the existence of YouTube, more than this case, has made companies much more cautious about videotaping.

There is a legal saying about unusual cases making bad law, and there are a lot of weird nuances here: Flagler selling his company just before it loses its main customer (coincidence??); Walmart urging Flagler to reuse tapes (=erase the old scenes from the tapes? or just more cheap-Walmartism?); the tapes' legal status as evidence (even if Walmart bought the tapes, wouldn't it be obliged to honor subpoenas for them?).

I'm sorry about one thing in this thread: a remark by our Esteemed Leader. I admire Ron tremendously for what he has accomplished with the COW, and for his morals and ethics. And I agree with the substance of his ideas in this thread; but I was disappointed by what I saw as overly personal remarks in one of his posts. Ron owns the store, and if people start getting attacked in this way by the "proprietor," it is bound to have a chilling effect on the whole scene.

Although maybe a chilling effect is a good thing. It is good to remember, everybody, that google-bots are continually indexing what you write on the COW, and your potential clients can look up your posts when they are considering whether to hire you.

Fascinating thread. Thanks for bringing this to the forum's attention.

bob C


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: wow
on Apr 12, 2008 at 7:03:49 am

[Bob Cole] "I'm sorry about one thing in this thread: a remark by our Esteemed Leader. I admire Ron tremendously for what he has accomplished with the COW, and for his morals and ethics. And I agree with the substance of his ideas in this thread; but I was disappointed by what I saw as overly personal remarks in one of his posts. Ron owns the store, and if people start getting attacked in this way by the "proprietor," it is bound to have a chilling effect on the whole scene."

Bob,

Sorry to disappoint you. But I make no claims to sainthood and I do not claim to be anything more than a highly overworked, very burned out and sick individual whose patience grows thin from time to time. If you can't handle the humanity, then I would say that you need to find another site where only saints abound.

Sorry if this seems rude but I have been very sick since last December and I am so far behind on my job and stressed -- besides, I don't pretend to have the patience of Jesus Christ. I also do not suffer those that I believe are making foolish points and comments that in any way support what some hyenas with a studio did to a client.

Best regards,

Ron "Who never claimed nor pretends perfection" Lindeboom


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Bob Cole
no hard feelings?
on Apr 12, 2008 at 2:06:53 pm

Hi Ron,

When I said "esteemed leader," I meant it. I am a big admirer of what you've done with the COW. In my travels around the country I've told dozens of video folks about how much I've learned from and enjoyed your forum. I even called a company whose products were mentioned to urge them to advertise (and he has, but he was going to anyway).

There is nothing as bad as feeling sick, and I hope you feel better soon.

Best,

Bob C

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: no hard feelings
on Apr 12, 2008 at 2:14:57 pm

I have no hard feelings, Bob. And I do appreciate your lobbying on behalf of the COW.

If you have learned anything about me in the years that we have been doing this, I am outspoken, stubborn, driven and will never leave you guessing where I stand on an issue. Good traits -- but not in *every* situation. ;)

Thanks for your well wishes. They are appreciated.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom


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Mick Haensler
Re: wow
on Apr 12, 2008 at 11:39:24 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "If you can't handle the humanity, then I would say that you need to find another site where only saints abound."

I love this about the Cow. I try very hard to treat everyone with kindness and respect, but being human I fall short on a regular basis. The Cow is one place I can be imperfect and not be judged for it. Although I've only been around a couple of months, I feel at home here. It's the first place I go to when I hit the studio, and the last place I check before calling it a day. That being said, I always weigh the pros and cons of posting something contraversial. More than once I have been contacted by someone I didn't know who read a post of mine on here. You never know who's watching.

PS. Didn't know you were sick Ron. I sincerely hope and pray you feel better soon.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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Steve Wargo
Re: wow
on Apr 13, 2008 at 4:12:09 am

[Ron Lindeboom] "you need to find another site where only saints abound. "

That would be the Discrete Forum. No need to go elsewhere.

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

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David Roth Weiss
Re: wow
on Apr 13, 2008 at 4:21:52 am

[Steve Wargo] "That would be the Discrete Forum. No need to go elsewhere."

Yeah, here's a picture of the ones who are left standing...





David Roth Weiss
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David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

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Steve Wargo
Re: wow
on Apr 13, 2008 at 4:31:26 am

Four guys and only three names. Ouch! How would you like to be that 4th guy?




Steve Wargo
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It's a dry heat!

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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:59:48 am

[tommy d'angelo] "When we end a relationship with a client, all tapes including masters and field are given back to them. "

Who needs a court of law to agree that Mr D'Angelo does the right thing? I would do a job with him based on a handshake.



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

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walter biscardi
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 12, 2008 at 5:27:22 am

[tommy d'angelo] "When we end a relationship with a client, all tapes including masters and field are given back to them."

That is absolutely the best policy and should be practiced by everyone in this industry. In fact just yesterday I found some tapes belonging to a client we have not done any work for in about 2 years. We immediately shipped them to the client as I have no use for them here and they paid for the work and the tape stock.

The client pays for the work and the media stock, they deserve the raw footage. AND the respect of the production company to respect their confidentiality.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 13, 2008 at 4:29:34 am

That sums it up Walter. It's good to know that there are a lot of people on this forum that know right from wrong but it's sad to see that some are siding with Flagler. Someone earlier said that "We don't know what we would do in the same situation". Well, I do. And you do too. As well as Boomer and many others. We stand on our reputation and on our honor, no matter what.

Clients have asked us about "Who owns it?" in the past and we have always said that we would guard their interests to the best of our ability and there have been a few times that we landed the client or the job based on our integrity.

I think that if Photography Studios had a sign on the door that said "We own the copyright to every photo we take of you and your family", they would all be gone in about a month.


Steve Wargo
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It's a dry heat!

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robert reed
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 13, 2008 at 1:43:48 pm

[Steve Wargo] "I think that if Photography Studios had a sign on the door that said "We own the copyright to every photo we take of you and your family", they would all be gone in about a month."

I remember when my wife found out this hard lesson when she paid over $1,000 for some family pictures and years later wanted to have some more prints made. Since she didn't have the negative, she took the photo to the local photo lab to have them make a negative to make prints from. They refused and told her she needed to go back to the photographer for prints. She called and was given a pricetag of over $350 for what she could have got at the local drug store for about $40.

She has become the woman that every time the subject of photos comes up with her girlfriends, she warns them of her experience. Now she gets the kids pictures taken at studios where they are willing to sign that she owns the copyright.

Robert


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Gary Chvatal
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 13, 2008 at 5:13:17 pm

[robert reed] "They refused and told her she needed to go back to the photographer for prints. She called and was given a pricetag of over $350 for what she could have got at the local drug store for about $40."

I've done a lot of work in the photo business and this has been standard procedure as long as I remember.

Also, my former employer ended up in a legal wrangle with an agency who would not give up raw footage from a TV spot they shot for us. I ran the internal video department and got to see both sides of the dispute. BTW...in that disputer the agency got to keep the footage and the company was not allowed to use it without paying an additional fee.

I've also paid freelancers additional fees to have exclusive rights/ownership to all the footage/negatives produced for us.

Thats why this discussion has been so interesting to me. My experience has always been that lacking a contract stating otherwise the footage belongs to the shooter. Ron and Steve's position on ownership is contrary to my experience so I'm surprised to see it argued so vehemently...


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Todd Terry
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 13, 2008 at 5:45:44 pm

That's pretty much SOP with higher-end commercial photographers... you hire them for a shoot but they still own the negs and images, unless you have made specific contractural stipulations otherwise. Then you license the specific image for a specific print campaign, or billboard, or whatever.

That doesn't mean though that even though they technically own the images that they can use them themselves for their own use... especially if there are people photographed.

That's similar to the way we work in our shop, too, for commercial production. A client owns the finished spot, but we own the footage. Nor can a client take a finished spot and have it recut elsewhere or reuse the footage. It's all spelled out in their contracts. Part of that is to keep the business in house... but it is also to protect talent and keep from starting a paperwork and redtape nightmare. Say there is an actor in one of our spots... two years later the client recuts the spot themselves and airs it again. Well, then they are using more than just footage, they are using an actor's performance that they do not have rights to. To stay legal they have to deal with the actor again, or his agent... and might have SAG/AFTRA to deal with as well if he was a union talent. Some people here might think our contracts are restrictive, but in 11 years we have never had a client question it. Only once (that we know of) did a former client use the footage anyway... one phone call got the "Oh, I didn't know I couldn't do that" answer. We educated them, and they pulled the footage.

I think this whole 1000-post thread would probably be a non issue if it hadn't involved an "evil empire" like Wal-Mart, as there is aways some satisfaction with seeing the "bad guys" get what is coming to them. But of course this is NOT the right way to do that.

I'm just dumbfounded that Wal-Mart didn't have a contract... you know they have a building full of house lawyers. Someone definitely let this fall through the cracks.


T2

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






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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 14, 2008 at 6:20:48 am

[Todd Terry] "I think this whole 1000-post thread would probably be a non issue if it hadn't involved an "evil empire" like Wal-Mart, as there is aways some satisfaction with seeing the "bad guys" get what is coming to them. But of course this is NOT the right way to do that."

I think it would exist, Todd, had any production company used their footage in a manner such as this -- which many of us here see this as a blackmail attempt on a former client. It just wouldn't likely have as far-reaching affect on the buyer side of this industry. That it is Wal-Mart, it is going to get big press in all the major newspaper, business journals, etc., and that is where the real backlash will come from.

While some would argue that this is the way things are, that the contract allowed it, etc., etc., doesn't make it right.

The industry is getting a black eye from this and I do believe that this is going to leave a bad taste in the mouth of many corporations, companies that will start doing business different in the days ahead. Not everyone, but many.

Best always,

Ron Lindeboom



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Steve Wargo
Let me clarify that
on Apr 13, 2008 at 7:04:03 pm

The shooter owns the copyright but has no right to use the material.

The person who paid had absolute right to use the footage forever.

This just creates questions in my mind. We just tell the clients it's all theirs. When we do a job for an agency, we ask them to clarify whether they own it or the end client owns it.

Supposedly, there is a clause in the law the states that the copyright belongs to the "creator" of the work. It has always been ASSUMED that the photographer or shooter is the "creator". With the recent acceptance of the term "Intellectual Property", look for the term "creator" to be redefined in a court of law. It's coming. After the recent WGA strike, a lot of heads are rolling on the subjects of "work for hire", "origination", "creator" and more.



Steve Wargo
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Todd Terry
Re: Let me clarify that
on Apr 13, 2008 at 7:35:05 pm

There has be a LOT of talk on the COW lately (not just in this thread) about "Who owns the rights to this?" and "Who owns the rights to that?"

It's hard to do after the fact, and it's only natural that those conversations come up.

But to prevent those issues from coming up in the future the obvious no-brainer answer is to start with an iron-clad contract specifically spelling out who owns what, and what rights usages follow whom.

Then it's easy breezy... with no fuzzy issues.


T2

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






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Randy Wheeler
Wal-Mart Refused to Pay $145 Million for Videos
on Apr 13, 2008 at 7:53:08 pm

A Bloomberg article:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601127&sid=aq0H_PQQF9aw&refer=law

Wal-Mart Refused to Pay $145 Million for Videos (Update2)

By Chris Burritt

April 11 (Bloomberg) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, wouldn't pay $145 million for almost three decades of videos of company meetings and events, said one of the producers of the films.

The decision to leave the movies in the hands of Flagler Productions Inc. may allow lawyers suing Wal-Mart for sex discrimination and other claims to more easily obtain evidence that supports their grievances.

Flagler offered to sell 15,000 tapes to Wal-Mart for $150 million last year. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer responded with an offer of $500,000, prompting a counteroffer of $145 million from the video maker that was refused. Flagler is now selling access to the footage.

``In my opinion, Wal-Mart believed their culture and history had no value to anyone but them,'' the producer, Gregory Pierce, said in an interview yesterday. ``To this day, I don't know whether they appreciate the value of what is there.''

About a dozen parties, half of them lawyers for plaintiffs, have bought clips, Pierce said. Another buyer was a labor union.

``We are focusing on the legal people who need help,'' said Pierce. He said co-owner Mary Lyn Villanueva has received calls from more than 100 lawyers in the past 24 hours.

Wal-Mart is considering legal options to stop the sale of the tapes. The company won't elaborate further, spokeswoman Daphne Davis Moore said.

Flagler, based in Lenexa, Kansas, was ``well paid for many years to document our company for our use,'' Moore said. ``Clearly the videos were not produced with that aftermarket in mind.''

Possible Use

Brad Seligman, the lead attorney for plaintiffs in a discrimination case against Wal-Mart, said he's negotiating with Flagler over possible use of video clips.

``It's a little premature to say what we'd actually use,'' Seligman said in an interview. ``The videos are potentially very helpful.''

Pierce and Villanueva bought Flagler in March 2006, months before the retailer told them it was looking for a less expensive producer of its shareholder and employee meetings. That subsequently ended a relationship that began in the 1970s with a handshake between founder Mike Flagler and a Wal-Mart executive, according to David Sexton, a lawyer for Flagler.

Wal-Mart and Flagler never signed any agreements, blunting possible legal claims by Wal-Mart to the tapes, Sexton said.

``It was a handshake, all verbal,'' the Gladstone, Missouri-based lawyer said in an interview. ``Nobody ever discussed video rights.''

Video Discovery

Pierce said he and Villanueva didn't consider selling access to the tapes until last year, when lawyer Diane Breneman discovered the videos as she pursued claims on behalf of a boy burned by gasoline in a plastic container sold by Wal-Mart.

According to a Wall Street Journal report this week, Flagler found videos of Wal-Mart managers that parodied testimonials raising concerns about the safety of the gas cans.

Wal-Mart rose 14 cents to $54.80 at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have advanced 15 percent this year.

At its peak in 2006, Flagler took in about $10 million in annual revenue from Wal-Mart, which used the vendor to help produce and tape its annual shareholders meeting and two major employee meetings, Pierce said.

``Wal-Mart was about 95 percent of our revenue and 120 percent of our time,'' Pierce, 49, said. After losing the work and repaying a bank loan, he and Villanueva dismissed 16 employees and sold their 20,000-square-foot production facility.

Flagler's owners produced a high-definition documentary and are now developing Web sites, renting equipment and providing video and editing services.

Asking Price

Pierce said he and Villanueva met with Wal-Mart representatives in early 2007 and discussed a possible sale of the film library. The discussions led to Wal-Mart asking Flagler to name a price, Pierce said.

Villanueva and Pierce settled on $150 million after talking to producers in Hollywood and New York who suggested asking twice that much, Pierce said.

Pierce said $150 million was a ``reasonable price for 30 years of corporate history and culture. It had all been well maintained and preserved for all of those years.''

Preserving the tapes saved Wal-Mart ``millions of dollars'' that otherwise would have been spent reshooting videos, as well as ``preserved their history,'' Sexton said. ``It's priceless. How do you replace something you can't replace?''

Wal-Mart posted on its Web site yesterday an Oct. 26, 2007, letter from Sexton on reviewing Flagler's asking price and Wal-Mart's offer of $500,000. The letter said Flagler intended to try to sell the video library.

``The potential buyers range from a political bent, to legal, to national media,'' the letter said. Sexton confirmed the letter is authentic.

The retailer posted the letter ``to clarify the amount requested,'' Wal-Mart's Moore said."


Randy



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Randy Wheeler
Wal-Mart videos give Lenexa firm a new lease on life
on Apr 13, 2008 at 8:14:50 pm

Article from the Kansas City Star newspaper which is where Flagler Productions is located. It has pictures of the two current owners of Flagler Productions and a local perspective on the company.

http://www.kansascity.com/105/story/569277.html


Here's a link to Flagler Productions YouTube page:

http://youtube.com/user/FlaglerSafety

which has 15 videos.


An article from the site Wal*Mart Watch:

http://walmartwatch.com/blog/archives/wal_mart_pays_the_price_for_not_secur...


Flagler Productions Co-owner Mary Lyn Villanueva's Linkedin profile:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/flaglerproductions


Randy



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walter biscardi
Re: Wal-Mart Refused to Pay $145 Million for Videos
on Apr 13, 2008 at 9:04:13 pm

[Randy Wheeler] "
Wal-Mart Refused to Pay $145 Million for Videos (Update2)"


1 - If Flagler did the work....

2 - If Flagler invoiced Wal-Mart for that work...

3 - If that invoice included the raw tape stock....

4 - If Wal-Mart paid those invoices....

... Why are they entitled to additional money for these tapes?

... Why is it $145 million?

I honestly hope Wal-Mart wins some sort of a tremendous settlement against these morons. Thank you for making our industry look so bad.

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

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David Roth Weiss
Re: Wal-Mart Refused to Pay $145 Million for Videos
on Apr 13, 2008 at 10:07:43 pm

[walter biscardi] "I honestly hope Wal-Mart wins some sort of a tremendous settlement against these morons."

Well, that won't ever happen. These guys certainly do not have deep pockets, so there's nothing Wal-Mart can win other than perhaps getting their tapes back. Flagler's only assets at this point are probably the Wal-Mart tapes and against that is their lawyer's bill which will most likely account for the bulk of any settlement if there is one to be had.

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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Bob Cole
missing the point
on Apr 14, 2008 at 3:27:58 am

[David Roth Weiss] "[walter biscardi] "I honestly hope Wal-Mart wins some sort of a tremendous settlement against these morons."

Well, that won't ever happen."


Just to get this out of the way: I'm not defending Flagler.

Now forget that whole "Flagler is evil" issue for just a minute, take a deep breath, and try to step back and lose the production-studio perspective, because I think we're so close to the situation that we may be missing the point. That narrow focus is natural on this forum, but imho, we should be using a much broader perspective than our own, even to understand how this relates to us as production people.

Flagler's talk about the "historic value" of the archive seems like a fig leaf -- imho it's all about blackmail. The primary value is evidence that could be used (essentially for free) in class-action litigation against Walmart (for stakes that truly do represent a potentially "tremendous settlement").

But the idea of Flagler holding up Walmart for blackmail is absurd. It can't happen. Given any amount of sanity on the part of Walmart, it never could have happened, because trying to suppress evidence is illegal and exposes Walmart to even more liability. This footage only had value if it had been kept secret -- and that was probably never possible. (To give one example of how difficult it is to keep recordings a secret: the exposure of the Nixon Tapes, we now know, was not an accident, but a carefully orchestrated and inevitable event.)

By law, it doesn't matter who shot the footage -- an internal crew or independent. As soon as a plaintiff becomes aware of the existence of relevant evidence, he or she has the absolute right to demand that footage. "Mr. Smith, were those training sessions videotaped?" "Yes sir." "And who shot those videotapes?" "So and So Company [or] The Corporate Video Department." BANG! off goes the subpoena for footage. The law doesn't care what address the subpoena has on it.

No matter who possesses the videotapes, he/she/it must supply them. If Walmart had control and burned them, there is some legal principle which says "Jury -- you may assume the WORST about this evidence which has been illegally destroyed. Let your imagination run wild."

This thread has focussed on a lot of other issues, all of which have a point: Yes, the production company acted unethically. Yes, that hurts the overall production business. Yes, clients will probably bring a greater percentage of production in-house. Yes, contracts should be specific about what happens to footage.

But the important thing here has NOTHING to do with that.

Because it doesn't matter WHO shot the footage, but only THAT the footage was shot. As soon as people find out about evidence, a plaintiff can require it to be supplied to them, for no more than reasonable costs of research and copying. It was never worth 150 million. If Walmart had paid 250 million, it wouldn't have mattered. If Flagler had shipped it to Walmart for the cost of the UPS bill, it wouldn't have mattered. Walmart would still have to supply it to their worst enemies.

So what is the takeaway about this episode, which is relevant to most of us?

Here is how I imagine some business website will be putting it: "Message to Corporate America -- Don't Videotape ANYTHING that you don't want to see in a court of law, a tv special, or on YouTube. It will very likely get out. And jurors, customers, potential employees and business partners will see it, and judge you by it."

It isn't just Flagler v Walmart that is driving this message home. It's "Macaca," it's every Michael Moore doc, it's the flub on the presidential campaign trail that you see next week.

But it does have an impact on our business, and that impact is the phone call that goes like this: "Hi, Mr. Jones of Jones Productions, this is Mr. Big Client, and I'm calling to cancel that videotaping of the corporate conference next week."

I agree with the posters in this thread who advocate handing footage to the clients ASAP. They are absolutely correct in advocating this policy, not just because of "morality," but because corporations will only deal with suppliers whom they can trust.

But the biggest point is: corporations with anything at stake are going to be a lot more circumspect about videotaping than they have been.

There are genuine issues that this new "YouTube world" raises for production people. For example, are there instances when we should advise the client, "I think we need to stop filming?"

note to self: Those "blooper reels" may not go over as well with clients as they did in the past....

I'll add this: "I may be wrong." I am not a lawyer. So if any of the above is off the mark, my apologies for wasting your time.

This thread has been running wild, imho, with overwrought (and legally irrelevant) rantings about the character flaws of the production company. There have been some doozies in this thread, e.g. the one about putting out the fire. (I won't try urging a little more civility -- first time I did that I was accused of asking people to be saints. I'm not asking anyone to be a saint -- I think sainthood requires you to die first, and I wouldn't want anyone even to get sick over this.)

Speaking of being wrong, this case has made me realize that my automatic reaction was too black and white. At first I thought, "Definitely, the corporation has to be given the footage." But there are cases where this wouldn't be true. Take this hypothetical example. You've been working for years on a documentary about how evil XYZ Corp is, bankrolled by your own meager earnings, because you really believe it hurts Americans. This corporate footage, which dramatically proves some of the points you've been trying to make, lands in your lap. Do you use it? Michael Moore used footage from all sorts of sources (without permission) and most Americans said it was okay, because he had a higher purpose. Flagler clearly had no higher purpose, but what if you did? Would you be so noble as to ignore this footage? Oh, by the way: it's now 1970, XYZ Corp is really a tobacco company, it's still publicly denying that tobacco is bad for people, and the footage reveals that it has known for years that it was killing people. It would probably be immoral NOT to use it.

Bob C


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Let me clarify that
on Apr 13, 2008 at 8:12:49 pm

[Steve Wargo] "the law the states that the copyright belongs to the "creator" of the work. It has always been ASSUMED that the photographer or shooter is the "creator"."

Steve,

Whoever assumes that or anything else is just opening themselves to disapointment.

In the world of television, the series creator is certainly not the cameraman. Just try to tell Dick Wolf that the cameramen on Law and Order own his franchise and I think you'll get a good hoot out of him.

If there's just one hole in an assumption you can be assured that assumption is false. The only assumption I'd make is that if something is important to you, you'd best spell out the details in writing, otherwise a judge is going to be deciding the fate of your business.

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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Steve Wargo
Agreed on several points, however...
on Apr 16, 2008 at 6:28:28 am

David, if you go back though the posts in this thread, you'll see numerous people claiming that they own the copyright to everything they shoot unless there is a signed "Work for Hire" agreement. Regardless of the law, our company never claims copyright. I just don't need any legal problems. We can debate this forever and until some court decision finally puts it in black and white, the argument will go on forever.

[David Roth Weiss] "Whoever assumes that or anything else is just opening themselves to disapointment." I agree, of course. As for your question, first of all, Dick Wolf's camera guys are his employees. If Dick hires a guy to shoot his grandkids birthday party - now what? I asked some colleagues that very same question earlier today. About 10 years ago, I shot interviews for Stephen Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah. Who owns the copyright to that stuff?

We have seen posts above where some have said that they own the footage and the client does not. I just bought a book at NAB this afternoon titled "Media Law for Producers". In it, there is mention of the "creator" owning the footage but the book does not go into "who" the creator is.

As I stated in my post, we give it all to the client. I don't want to be tempted. I don't want my employees tempted. We did a job for the band Megadeath a few years back and I had to sign a multimillion dollar liability agreement with Columbia Records before we could shoot anything. We've done work for some very large companies and some have us sign an agreement and some don't.

On another note: this guy Flagler was making millions of dollars all these years? Holy crap. How many of us figured that he was making that much money? It's no wonder WM went Chinese, they had to pay Flagler's invoices. On the legal side, can he sell evidence? Doesn't the opposition just have to subpoena the tapes? As for the comment from, I believe, Bob Cole, shouldn't someone had advised the client to not record something? We've done that on a few occasions. maybe Flagler had the whole thing planned. Isn't it just a bit odd that he knows where all of the "evidence" is located in 15,000 tapes? Did the footage belong to Flagler himself or to his company? If he sold the company, shouldn't the tapes have gone along with the other assets? This whole thing smells bad to me.

Whoa! Lot's of unanswered questions. But now that we know some answers on dollar amounts, I now have a much lower opinion of the person in question.





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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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 14, 2008 at 6:28:36 am

[Gary Chvatal] "Thats why this discussion has been so interesting to me. My experience has always been that lacking a contract stating otherwise the footage belongs to the shooter. Ron and Steve's position on ownership is contrary to my experience so I'm surprised to see it argued so vehemently..."

Personally I believe from reading about the way that Sam Walton *started* his company -- I am NOT speaking about the way that it ended up -- I am not surprised that there was no contract from when the project started over 30 years ago.

Why?

Take yourself back 30 years. Wal-Mart was not the center of the retail world. The internet did not exist. Cable TV was in its infancy. There was no real way for these tapes to be circulated and I have little doubt in my mind that Sam Walton and Mr. Flagler had a clear understanding that these tapes were the property of Wal-Mart.

I could go on and on and spell out a bunch of other reasons I think this, but it's late and I am exhausted and I am heading for bed.

So, there is no vehemence left for today, but if I had any left I would gladly aim it at the management of Flagler, a company I have come to abhor as an example of everything that I hate about the dark side of business.

When they destroy the value of the name they had, I suggest that if they stay in this industry a change to something akin to Underbelly Productions might be fitting under the circumstances, in my opinion.

But you are free to think what you wish, Gary.

Ron Lindeboom


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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 16, 2008 at 6:33:48 am

[Ron Lindeboom] "Ron and Steve's position on ownership "

I didn't say that I don't own it. I said that I don't WANT to own it.

All I need is for someone to go on-line and call me a thief and then the you know what hits the fan. And, as I've said before, pulling something off the web is like pulling pee out of the sea.



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: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 14, 2008 at 11:33:09 am

[Gary Chvatal] "My experience has always been that lacking a contract stating otherwise the footage belongs to the shooter. Ron and Steve's position on ownership is contrary to my experience so I'm surprised to see it argued so vehemently..."

Why would it belong to you if the client paid you to do the work AND they paid for the raw tape stock? I can't think of any contract where it was specifically laid out in a production contract with a corporate client, but I always know that the footage and project belongs to the client.

They paid for the services, they own everything. This is a trust that the client has put in me to not only take care of their product but also to protect their privacy. Flagler has seriously violated any trust that anybody could ever put in them and is essentially blackmailing Wal-Mart.

This is not good for our industry in any way shape or form.

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

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Rennie Klymyk
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 15, 2008 at 10:12:22 pm

[walter biscardi] "Why would it belong to you if the client paid you to do the work AND they paid for the raw tape stock?"

In the comments on the WSJ article an ex company employee stated Flagler provided the stock and maintained the library on his own. WM suggested they re-use old tapes.

It seems he owns the tapes but what the video is used for is another issue.

I did a similar thing when I recorded a conference on climate change 8 or 9 years ago. I was asked not to use tapes in the cameras to save money. They also wanted me to record the live mix to vhs LP. I compromised using S-VHS at sp. Realizing the historical value at the time I immediately ordered enough DV tape stock for 3 or 4 days of recording from 3 cameras on my own dime. If I ever get time I'd like to go through this stuff and make some dvd's. I know the scientists and dignitaries would be behind me. Nothing else was ever done with it due to lack of budget.

"everything is broken" ......Bob Dylan


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Rennie Klymyk
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 15, 2008 at 8:49:57 pm

[robert reed] "he called and was given a pricetag of over $350 for what she could have got at the local drug store for about $40. "

I have worked as a professional photographer for many years. In many cases you never achieved a break even point after a portrait session. Extra income garnered from later sales were much needed income. This is different than the way commercial work is done where bigger budgets prevail. Enough profit can be realized at the end of the service and you walk away. I remember the frustration at having someone take a print that I spent 2 hours retouching a negative under a microscope on and then hand printing it till I got the perfect print (from maybe the 10th try) only to learn the customer then took that in for copies. The $40.00 job you get at a drug store does not equate to the $350.00 job you get from the artist although the drug store can nowadays make a really good $40.00 copy of the $350.00 work.

The reason photographers like to maintain ownership of negatives is because the print finishing process is also a dimension of their creative process. If you take a negative into a drug store for a machine print and then tell your friends "oh, ABC photo did our portraits" it would not reflect upon the photographers own quality standards as if he had hand printed it himself.

We used to beg for a little more time from our clients to make that magical image, do the best we could and these images we used to represent our work to other prospective clients and for print competitions. This is where we received respect from our peers, they're kind of like Telly awards etc. Today when we hand over the film (CD) to the client after a shoot we are not begging for a little more time but thinking "if I can wrap this in the next 20 minutes I can still get 9 holes in this afternoon."

"everything is broken" ......Bob Dylan


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Steve Wargo
Re: Kansas firm sells candid Wal-Mart videos
on Apr 16, 2008 at 6:53:37 am

Hey there Rennie, a lot of us feel the same way you do in regards to making sure our work doesn't end up looking like garbage.

A friend of mine is a very, high end compositor that uses a Flame to process some fantastic TV spots. After finishing one last year, the client took the DVD version and had some text changed before it aired, obviously because it as cheaper for a Final Cut quickie. Can you image how that looked on TV? However, it was no longer his to control and the client thought it looked just fine. We're still sick over that.

As far as needing to make money on copies because you didn't make enough in the first place tells me that you need to charge more up front. Charge for your time. Don't do anything free for incidental clients. They don't appreciate it. They don't care. Having said that, we just put a few extra days into a project for the city we live in because it was a special video aimed at children, to get them to go to the library. I guess that sometimes, you just have to, don't you? My advice is not globally applicable.



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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