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Clients wants to copyright my FCP file

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Maria CooperClients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 20, 2009 at 5:26:28 pm

Hello all,

I did a memorial slideshow for a client, she wants the project file and copyright it. She wrote a song had it professionally produced, recorded and wants to market memorial slideshows using her song and my layout to the song. Any suggestions? Can she copyright an FCP file?

Thank you,
Maria


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Rafael AmadorRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 20, 2009 at 5:37:37 pm

Hello Maria,
That is a very interesting question. I know that this subject has been treated before.
I suggest you to post in the Business&Marketing Forum.
There are the experts in copyrights and all those complications.
Please do it. I would like to know what they say.
Cheers,
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Aaron NeitzRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 20, 2009 at 7:01:58 pm

That is a curious thought. Obviously the end product (the video and the song) are easily copyrighted.... but can you copyright the 'exact' steps you used to attain that video?

like if you had the photoshop layers that a famous artist used to produce a piece of art... but substituted your own photography and made adjustments to fit.... Could the original artist have copyrighted the steps within a piece of software used to make the look? But what if you emulated it perfectly in GIMP?

Or in your case, what if someone was able to copy the edits, etc... of your piece in Premier or Avid?




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walter biscardiRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 20, 2009 at 7:17:08 pm

The FCP project file is your work. Therefore it's your property and not hers to "copyright."

As far as I know, a finished work can be copyrighted and a concept can be copyrighted. I've never heard of any project file that could be copyrighted.

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

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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Ron LindeboomRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 20, 2009 at 7:24:32 pm

Simply stated: it is not her's to copyright. As Water points out, the finished work is her's to do with as she wishes but the FCP project file is NOT her's unless she has a contract with you that says that at the end of the project, you owe her the project file. If that doesn't exist, it is legally not her work.

It would be like me buying a bottle of wine and then telling the winemaker that I had a right to their equipment that produced it. Your "equipment" is your software, and the end-product is owned by her. How you got there is not owned by her, unless the contract states clearly that it is the case.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom


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Shane RossRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 21, 2009 at 12:00:31 am

AND YET...as a camera person, all the footage you shoot, the master tapes, are the clients, not yours. You cannot keep a copy for your self.

But I guess that is a different circumstance.

On the work I do it is in the contract that the network recieves the project files, and every bit of data...tapes, pictures, music, paperwork galore...when production is done. HOWEVER, they cannot "copyright" the project file...mean say that the way this was edited and put together is unique and cannot be copied.

Your client has a very...skewed view of production. This isn't a book here, this isn't a picture. The same rules don't apply.


Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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walter biscardiRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 21, 2009 at 12:03:57 am

[Shane Ross] "AND YET...as a camera person, all the footage you shoot, the master tapes, are the clients, not yours. You cannot keep a copy for your self. "

Boy you opened a can of worms there. I completely agree with your statement. The overwhelming majority of those who weigh in on this issue on this forum say the cameraperson / production company owns owns all the original footage, not the client who paid for the job. Strange but true.



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

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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Shane RossRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 21, 2009 at 12:14:06 am

[walter biscardi] "The overwhelming majority of those who weigh in on this issue on this forum say the cameraperson / production company owns owns all the original footage, not the client who paid for the job. Strange but true."

You're kidding? Really? This, to me, is cut and dry. They hired you, you billed for your time and tape stock. You were compensated....they own the footage. This has been the case on every network, corporate and commercial project I have ever worked on. WEDDING too. Copies can be retained for demo reel purposes only, but all the masters belong to client.

But I am changing gears to a topic that I see (after searching) has beed HOTLY debated. So let's not continue.

Project files...only networks have asked for them. Commercial, corporate and event and wedding clients never have.

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Chris BlairRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 21, 2009 at 12:49:19 am

Shane Ross You're kidding? Really? This, to me, is cut and dry. They hired you, you billed for your time and tape stock. You were compensated....they own the footage. This has been the case on every network, corporate and commercial project I have ever worked on. WEDDING too. Copies can be retained for demo reel purposes only, but all the masters belong to client.

You stated that on the projects you work it's in the contract that the network or company hiring you owns the footage, which means you're doing "work for hire" and the client does indeed own everything.

But in the absence of that contract or a specific request in writing, the videographer or main creative person behind the shoot legally owns the rights to the footage even if the client hired you and paid you for your time and tape stock.

As Walter points out, people have widely differing views on this and there's nothing wrong with running your business by taking either of the two sides. You can be "right" doing either. There are dozens of threads about this and there's a ton of misinformation about the issue on this and many other forums.

But the facts are easily found by doing a few searches online and by reading a couple of media law primers and books written specifically about this issue.

There are also scores of cases that consistently back the videographer, producer, director, production company or artist when clients claim copyright yet have nothing in writing stating as such.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Rafael AmadorRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 21, 2009 at 6:09:43 am

[Shane Ross] "You're kidding? Really? This, to me, is cut and dry. They hired you, you billed for your time and tape stock. You were compensated....they own the footage"
No Shane.
I'm hired to make a video.
I'm not hired as cameraman.
If my client want the rushes this have to agreed before.
When I go filming I endure really hard conditions.
Some times I spend weeks sleeping in huts and eating rats and bamboo-shots.
If I do that is because i count with the images I will get for my archive.
My client pay me to get a 15 or 20 minutes video. That's what he will get.
For me is not a problem of rights, but of agreement.
My customers can deny me to use their logos for my Demo-reel, why should I be that generous with them?
Rafael





http://www.nagavideo.com


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Mark RaudonisRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 21, 2009 at 4:01:14 pm

[Rafael Amador] "Some times I spend weeks sleeping in huts and eating rats and bamboo-shots. "

For that, you can own it!!!! :)

On the other hand, this "ownership" argument really splits between those who work with a contract specifically spelling out their rights and those who don't. Any person or company doing work for
a major network is going to have a phone book sized contract that goes into excruciating detail as to
who owns the copyright and what's expected for delivery. End of story.

It's these smaller projects where nothing was put in writing that keeps the lawyers happy.

Mark



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Rafael AmadorRe: A FC Project is not a Template
by on May 21, 2009 at 5:06:28 pm

[Mark Raudonis] "For that, you can own it!!!! :) "
Tanks Mark:-)


[Mark Raudonis] "Any person or company doing work for
a major network is going to have a phone book sized contract that goes into excruciating detail as to
who owns the copyright and what's expected for delivery. End of story"

but the most part of us don't work with big companies and we prefer contracts that we can sign without a lawyer beside.
The question is to know how to do or what to expect when there is nothing wrote about a point.
Normally I avoid to say nothing about the rushes because is like to bring bad ideas to the head of my customer. If he mention, OK we talk. If not in the contract is very clear that he gets a video finished and ready for distribution. End of the story.

I understand that if I'm hired as a cameraman the rushes belong to the client.
In that case my client have to tell me exactly what and how he need me to shoot.
I will work the hours that we have agree, and when finished I will give him the rushes.

Back to the question of Maria about giving the project to the client,I think that that would depends a lot about the very project.
If you have been acting just like a "video operator" and you have been really working under the direction of your customer, the project is his "opera" and belong to him.
if you have been breaking your head to make something nice and overpassed the expectations of your client so much that now he wants to make with your project a TEMPLATE, (and repeat it without extra cost), no, the project is yours.
There is also a market for TEMPLATES.
Rafael




http://www.nagavideo.com


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Maria CooperRe: A FC Project is not a Template
by on May 21, 2009 at 8:12:38 pm

Any idea how I would make this into a template? I was thinking of the FCP file as a template (along with scratch disk and needed files). Thank you to everyone, we have a contractual agreement about the fcp file, I just wanted to inform my client if it was even an option for her to copyright it. She is interested in the copyright.Thank you again. Maria


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Richard HerdRe: A FC Project is not a Template
by on May 26, 2009 at 6:21:46 pm

[Maria Cooper] "Any idea how I would make this into a template?"

Yes, but it depends the actual meaning of "template." Template is an important branding term. I use Alpha Video's CastNET software, which is based in a nifty program called Scala.

This software/hardware would be ideal for a screened event, not so great to make DVDs (not sure what you're after, here). CastNET is really difficult to describe, but in effect, this is the software used in casinos all over the world and in movie cinemas as an advertising tool. The templates are made in a series of software (FCP, CS3, and InfoChannel Designer). A user (non-specialist) interacts with a Web interface to fill-in the content, the video, text, jpgs, audio, loop schedule, exact schedule.


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Richard HerdRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 20, 2009 at 8:15:42 pm

My lawyer hates it when I use "copyright" as a verb, because a copyright is something you hold. What this person really means is "register the copyright."

This is not merely a pedantic semantic detail, especially when the work is collaborative.

"Copyright protects an author’s specific expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, system, method, device, name, or title."

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl115.html

My opinion, not a lawyer, is FCP project file is a system and device and not subject to copyright.






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Mark SuszkoRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 21, 2009 at 11:59:47 pm

As my mom never tires of reminding me, I am NOT a lawyer. But I think your client would have a hard time enforcing any kind of exclusivity on the actual FCP file, which is essentially an Edit Decision List (EDL) I see where she is going, in that she wants to lock in ownership of a "template" program, changing only the specific footage but retaining the same rhythm and cuts. You are on the jury: I show you two lists that say "footage roll A, duration, 23 seconds, 12 frames, cut to Footage roll B, 9 seconds, zero frames, lap dissolve with a rate of 15 frames to roll C, duration 32 seconds......" The lists of commands are the same... but the finished product could be dramatically different, depending on what the footage is.

If I was the lawyer, I might demonstrate or talk about the famous editing experiment by Kuleshov and/or Pudovkin, where he used the same footage of an actor emoting nothing, but by juxtaposing it each time against various other footage that changed the context, it seemed to the test audience like he was alternately happy, sad, hungry, etc. even when it was the same footage. Fifty percent of the shots (the guy) were IDENTICAL in length and placement in each version, like they would be in your Project File. But each version was STILL radically different in meaning. This is the heart of Montage. And what your client doesn't understand about it is that while you certainly can do a cookie-cutter assembly of like footage to imitate an original work, as soon as you use substantially different footage, even if the cutting durations and effects are the same, the meaning is radically changed. At that point, you have a new and unique creative work. How could anybody copyright that? She doesn't get that EVERY EDIT IS A CUSTOM JOB. Even those that use repetitive elements like car ads for co-ops where you just change the graphic overlays. This is not like the George Harrison "My Sweet Lord" lawsuit. You might as well try to copyright a 4/4 drum pattern.

Can she protect her signature look by never allowing anyone else synch rights to her special music? Yes. Can she patent the specific assembly of your shots? I doubt it. If you want to please the client, give them the FCP project file, it won't really do her any good or "protect" anything.


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Bob BonniolRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 22, 2009 at 4:08:39 pm

We've all ignored a giant factor here: An FCP file is inherently a part of the program Final Cut. I seriously, seriously doubt that it is permmissable under the Apple EULA. I'm going to check. The look of the FCP timeline, the processes, the software that creates it... All that is trademarked, patented, and copyrighted by Apple already.

The finished product can certainly be registered for copyright, but that still doesn't give your client any control of the 'idea' of memorial videos. It only protects THAT specific piece.

I don't think she really understands or knows how intellectual property law works honestly.

Best,
Bob Bonniol




MODE Studios
http://www.modestudios.com
Contributing Editor, Live Design Magazine
Art of the Edit Forum Leader
Live & Stage Event Forum Leader
HD Forum Leader


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Timothy J. AllenRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 24, 2009 at 5:11:54 am

I'm missing something here. Is your client planning to resell or assign license to a Final Cut Project file as a "template" timeline? It seems to me that your client should focus on trademarking the things that make the program distinctive and valuable. Once she registers the trademark, she's given notice that others are not allowed to copy those elements without permission. She could then reassign rights to use those elements from that point.
But copyright the timeline? I've read the licenses for a fair amount of plug-ins and they don't allow reassignment. I don't have a FCP agreement handy, but offhand, I wouldn't expect you to be able to assign rights to a project file, since Apple (and their partners) hold rights to the file format and underlying technology. The closest thing I'd see to this would be to count an EDL as a "trade secret" like a recipe, but I really doubt that would fly either.


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Shane RossRe: Clients wants to copyright my FCP file
by on May 27, 2009 at 5:24:37 pm

This video is PERFECT for this post...









Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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