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Use of my footage

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Milo Moreland
Use of my footage
on Apr 22, 2008 at 1:27:44 pm

I use to shoot video for a kids football league all season. Now one of the kids that was on the team wants to use some of the footage, the coach's son, in a commercial that he might be starring in. Would/Should I charge them to use that footage we shot?

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Craig Seeman
Re: Use of my footage
on Apr 22, 2008 at 2:44:47 pm

So what's your agreement with them as a shooter?
Without that, it's impossible for any of us to discuss this.
Some would argue you own the footage.
Some may argue about issue of the location being shown in the spot.
Some may argue that you have the right to at least charge for dubbing unless you are handing them the master tapes.
Some might ask if this is a public service announcement or is the kid/guardians going to get paid for appearing in the spot.

Much of this revolves around legal right of ownership of the footage as well as the personal and business relationships of the people involved.

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Milo Moreland
Re: Use of my footage
on Apr 22, 2008 at 2:59:42 pm

There really is no paper document agreement between us
They paid us to shoot their games for them
they handed us the money
we handed them DVD's of the game (would a tv commercial use that low quality?)
that's it

if it's for something commercial
I think I should be getting paid too, right?

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Craig Seeman
Re: Use of my footage
on Apr 22, 2008 at 6:05:39 pm

So it's basically a "verbal agreement of possibly an "unspoken" understanding. The later is the most dangerous footing of course.

There's basically two aspects then. The "legal" aspect and the "client relationship" aspect. Depending on what was said or "understood" you could argue that he's only paid for the DVDs. In that case you could charge him for the masters BUT depending on the price and his sentiments, he may never hire you again. That's the client relationship part.

He might have no problem parting with some money for masters OR he might argue it was a "work for hire" in which he "owns" the footage. There's nothing in writing to prove that though.

BTW, you'd be surprised what quality local cable advertising can accept. Certainly he can rip the DVDs you gave him and use the converted footage to re-edit. Then you'd have to decide if you want to fight him on that.

You have to decide if it's worth the fight vs loosing the client.

I think the smarter thing is to pursue this as offering an ADDITIONAL service. Tell him you can make master quality selects miniDV or DVCAM that will be much higher quality than the DVD. You can then charge for some edit time to make the selects and charge for the dub to miniDV.

If he doesn't want to go through hours of DVDs or the tape masters to find the shots (and who does), he may gladly pay for you to do this little project for him (selects footage to miniDV). That way he feels like he's buying an added service and not just the footage.

In other words, if the client feels he's paying for footage he believes he already owns (rightly or wrongly, he's unhappy. If the client feels you're offering an added service for a small fee (after all it is a bit more work) then you make a bit more money. It's the art of sales. Sometimes being a good sales person is much better for your business then pushing the "legal" button.

Now if this for a Pepsi ad you could push the legal button but they'd likely have the budget for an alternative to your footage. If it's a local cable spot and you let the folks editing the spot that you were the shooter . . . just maybe you can get a new client if they do more ads like these.

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Timothy J. Allen
Re: Use of my footage
on Apr 23, 2008 at 12:25:31 am

... and then there is the issue of getting the legal guardian of every child in the clips to release the images of their children for that use. (Unless you have those releases already.)

While the parents might have implicitly agreed to have their kids taped for game analysis or posterity, they most likely didn't for commercial use.

Sorry to open up a can of worms, but someone should bring it up.
I know plenty producers who have skated by on this type of issue... and a couple who have been severely burned by it.

Make your own decision, but understand the risks.

Personally, I would probably charge them a small fee for a good quality dub of the raw footage, (to cover the cost of the tape) then let them take control from that point.

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Jennifer Dial
Re: Use of my footage
on Jul 10, 2009 at 3:12:59 pm

So this is how you are related to the camps! Good to know.
Let me know when you feel like delivering my wedding video.
You are holding my wedding memories and my money hostage.. I will not ever give up on this.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Use of my footage
on Jul 10, 2009 at 4:31:35 pm

This is a public forum. Not a place for private messages.

If you have a Business issue from the client's perspective it certainly may be worthwhile to share and get advice but without details you can get no advice and likely no response from the poster you're commenting on who apparently hasn't posted another message in over a year.

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Use of my footage
on Jul 10, 2009 at 6:29:00 pm

You know, Jennifer, if you have a legitimate gripe with someone it would have been FAR SMARTER to write my wife and I (who are the site owners) to begin a dialogue and we would gladly help mediate an equitable resolution of the matter.

But coming here and doing stuff like this is going to get your account turned off in a real hurry.

We verify all of this kind of stuff and do not take it lightly. We have far too many times over the years seen people use tactics like this to try to destroy someone else's reputation. In a few cases it has been warranted, but in most of the cases it is someone who doesn't like that person and wants to destroy them. We don't tolerate it one bit.

So if you wish to continue this, write me at because if you try to post to this thread again before you do, I will ban you and set our servers to where your IP will not even be able to see the COW site.

In hopes of an honorable dialogue and resolution,

Ron Lindeboom
CEO, Creative COW LLC

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