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website samples??

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tymm Smith
website samples??
on May 29, 2009 at 3:02:08 pm

here's my question. on our website, we have both editing and motion graphic examples (clearly labeled as such) that contain portions of a televsion show that was posted in our shop. while we don't own the show, we are clearly just showing examples of the work that was completed IN HOUSE and in those specific categories. the client now wants us to remove all references to those clips, stating that he owns them...we stated that we are merely showing examples of the work that was created for the WE created and were hired to do...

so, what is the legal standing on something like this? should he follow up with an attorney, how will we fair? clearly WE did the work, and are just showcasing our talents...this is the first time a client has gotten really worked up about this. we told him that it is industry standard to display examples of work created...

please advise or help or whatever...


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Bob Bonniol
Re: website samples??
on May 29, 2009 at 3:53:04 pm

Hard to say without knowing the particulars of your deal/contract language. But generally we all are operating on a "work for hire" basis that has our clients (usually) owning the final output. Bottom line in that case, is that the client can absolutely forbid you to show the work for demo purposes. We have a whole raft of clients who won't allow us to post work on our website from their projects. Some will allow stills and descriptions, some will allow media with a big fat client logo watermark, and some will allow none at all. It's up to them...

BTW it is certainly NOT industry standard to display client copyrighted work without permission. We always ask the clients. If they say no, then we don't do it. How will you fair with the attorney ? Hmmmm. How big is your legal fund compared to your clients ? Maybe more importantly, how do you feel about affidavits/court records/documents etc that show you to be a target of litigation showing up on the web to anybody that googles your company name ? Perception is everything. A new client does some basic due diligence and finds you allowed things to get to the lawyer stage... Doesn't look good.

Finally: Why alienate a client ? Not planning on doing any more work for them ?

Don't do it. It's almost NEVER worth it to let things get in the lawyers hands...

Bob Bonniol

MODE Studios
Contributing Editor, Live Design Magazine
Art of the Edit Forum Leader
Live & Stage Event Forum Leader
HD Forum Leader

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Bruce Bennett
Re: website samples??
on May 29, 2009 at 4:00:01 pm

Hi Tymm,

There have been many discussions/posts about this on the COW. If you do a search, you will find a lot of past posts/discussions, opinions, etc. The opinions here seem to vary on the definition of a “Work for Hire.” Some believe that the client owns everything and/or the finished product no matter what. Some believe that the client owns everything and/or the finished product only if there was/is a WRITTEN “Work for Hire Agreement” between you and your client.

[tymm Smith] "...this is the first time a client has gotten really worked up about this."

Does this mean that this is a long-time, valued client that may continue their business relationship with you/your company? Does the client spend a decent amount of money with you/your company? If so, regardless of what you (and others here on the COW) feel, I would do what your client asks and take them down to avoid losing the client and their future projects.

Good Luck,

Bruce Bennett
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC

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Zane Barker
Re: website samples??
on May 30, 2009 at 1:50:10 am

In the future I recommend including a statement in your contracts that are signed before any work begins that says that you reserve the right to use work you do to promote your video business.

There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!

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Rich Rubasch
Re: website samples??
on May 30, 2009 at 2:12:30 am

Here's a thought....if you have the AfterEffects files etc and if the graphics and animations are pretty cool, why not use the old project files but swap out a few elements to make it unique and post them as samples? That way they truly ARE yours and you can show them off all you want. You can't replicate the footage, but the graphics and the project files are yours and you can pretty easily repurpose them.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media

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Marc Eisenoff
Re: website samples??
on Aug 12, 2009 at 4:27:32 pm

I'm going through exactly the same thing, with an ad agency's client where I freelanced, demanding 2 years later that the print ads I created at the ad agency be taken off my site. The ads never ran but show off my conceptual abilities. The ads are sized so you can see the picture and read the headline.

If I change the company name on the ads -- do you think that would fly?


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Bob Cole
Re: website samples??
on May 30, 2009 at 2:34:05 am

Not knowing the specifics of your arrangement, it is hard to say.

But if it were my client, I'd be falling all over myself apologizing, and take the material off the website immediately. It's a "service business."

Bob C

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Mike Smith
Re: website samples??
on May 30, 2009 at 11:38:09 am

It's a tough one, when you just want to be able to show what you can do.

But by your description, you do not have rights to the finished show. Do you have other suitable samples you could use?

Otherwise, the "service industry" and "repurpose your project files with your own footage" comments both seem like good advice to me.

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grinner hester
Re: website samples??
on May 30, 2009 at 5:20:43 pm

Pull em down. You should have asked first. It's actually a great opportunity to stroke a client's ego.
As it is, you have offended them by dimming their limelight or endangered them by uploading private content.
In 20 years of editing, I have never had a client say no to my using their material in my demo. Again, it's an opportunity to compliment them.

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Steve Wargo
Re: website samples??
on May 31, 2009 at 9:03:46 pm

If the client asks you to remove something, do it. We always ask first and then get written permission. If you did it for someone else, you did not create the work. Get all of that out of your head right now, or would you rather have a judge tell you that as he is leveling a million dollar verdict in your client's favor.

This is the same as you hiring a camera operator and having him claim ownership of everything he shoots.

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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