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Demo commercial --- ownership and contract

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Christian CinettoDemo commercial --- ownership and contract
by on Jul 6, 2009 at 9:16:10 am

Hi guys,
last week I made a "demo" commercial for a medium communication company. They have a lot of customers in a very specific field and they want to sell 10 to 20 of this kind of work.
The ad is 2 minutes long with an actor who plays with a lot of 3D objects and effects.

The ceo didn' t pay me so far, since it was a demo. He only paid for the expenses + the actor. I'll never get paid for the demo (wich was one day of shooting + 2 days of editing and another one for storyboarding). If they sell the product my company will be the only one to do the job. They do not recognize any copyright (the ideas there come from us) and also pretend a discount since they forsee 5-7
infomercials like this one.

This is the first time for me to face this kind of process. They asked me to send them a contract, but I think that there are still some unclear points:
1) Since they didn't pay for the demo, should I pretend some revenue on their profit?
2) May I use my concept for different customers?
3) If I can't should I get paid for that and how much (%)?
4) They have a big competitor who often copies the new ideas coming from this agency. Once they will sell the first ads I am pretty sure that the competitor would copy them. Since my company is the creator of the ads, are there any ways to be paid for this kind of problem?

Thanks












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walter biscardiRe: Demo commercial --- ownership and contract
by on Jul 6, 2009 at 10:59:01 am

[Christian Cinetto] "This is the first time for me to face this kind of process. They asked me to send them a contract, but I think that there are still some unclear points: "

Ok, point number one. The contract should have been created and signed BEFORE you started production. At this point the client is pretty much free to do whatever they want, even with any verbal commitments to you or your company.

[Christian Cinetto] "1) Since they didn't pay for the demo, should I pretend some revenue on their profit?
2) May I use my concept for different customers?
3) If I can't should I get paid for that and how much (%)? "


This should have all been determined BEFORE shooting the concept. For Number 2 I would say no you cannot without permission from the client, but since you went ahead and did it without a contract, you can pretty much do what you want, as can the client.


[Christian Cinetto] "4) They have a big competitor who often copies the new ideas coming from this agency. Once they will sell the first ads I am pretty sure that the competitor would copy them. Since my company is the creator of the ads, are there any ways to be paid for this kind of problem? "

Nope, not really. Commercials TV shows and products are ripped off all the time. I was watching "Pitchmen" the other night with Billy Mays "fighting back" against the creator of Sham-Wow and another product because they're basically carbon clones of his own competing products.

Turn on TV any night and you'll see shows that are very similar to offerings on other networks. The only hope is to get your product to market first and make the other folks keep following. This means you keep changing up the ads as soon as the others copy you.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Christian CinettoRe: Demo commercial --- ownership and contract
by on Jul 7, 2009 at 8:22:47 am

Thanks Walter, I would like to hire a commercial legal skilled guy, but in the meantime I will try to be more cautious on accepting and doing jobs without contracts.




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Bruce BennettRe: Demo commercial --- ownership and contract
by on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:23:35 pm

Hi Christian,

My two cents…

1)You were not paid, so it is NOT a work for hire.
2)He/she who creates (without a work for hire agreement) owns copyright. Once a work is created, it is automatically copyrighted. That’s the law.

In my opinion, you are the legal copyright holder. If anyone replicates or distributes the product without your permission, they are in violation of copyright.

I would get paid before advancing any further or offering any more “free” services (including sending them the contract that they have requested).

From my experience, some salesperson is going to see what you did and try to persuade your client that his/her company can do it better and cheaper. (If this has not already occurred).

But like Nick says, I am not a lawyer and I could be wrong.

Good Luck!
Bruce


Bruce Bennett
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC


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