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Moral question...Should I do or say anything?

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Jeff BonanoMoral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 11, 2009 at 10:26:15 pm

OK,

A few months ago, my local newspaper had an article about a child abuse organization that was running a video contest. The winner would win either $1000 cash or a "video scholarship" to pay for video equipment up to $1000, plus the winner would get their video broadcasted on local television and possibly the audio would be used for radio commercial spots locally. The rules where simple. 30 sec. PSA/commercial and had to be in by the due date which happened to only be 1 week left by the time the newspaper printed the article.

I thought child abuse was a good topic and no matter what, I wanted to create a video. I managed to get something together and submitted it before the due date. I even got a response back from one of the people running the contest saying they did receive the video and it "looks amazing!"

The contest has since come and gone and their website doesn't even show any sign of the existence of a contest anymore. I sent a self addressed, stamped envelope with a request of the winners like the rules state is available. Yet I never heard anything back. 1st round judging was supposed to be June 30th and winners where supposed to be chosen and published on the web by July 15th.

My question is two part:

(1)Regardless If I won or not the video goes to a good cause, but since the contest seems to have fallen through, should I be worried that they may still use my video and I should seek some license agreements or something to protect my work?

(2)This contest was publicly announced in the local newspaper and now this legitimate organization has dropped the ball. (makes you wonder if they handle child abuse cases with the same respect). Should I say something to the press or to someone else? I can't get my phone calls or e-mails returned...even snail mail. I feel bad asking them to see if I won (or anyone else for that matter), but I did enter the contest hoping to win and get my video out there while sending out a good message at the same time. So I don't know what I should do. Heck, I don't want me or my small business to look like I am heartless and only think about the money. Anyone have any suggestions?

Jeff Bonano
http://www.bonanoproductions.com


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David Roth WeissRe: Moral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 11, 2009 at 11:06:14 pm

Jeff,

I'm not sure why it's a big moral issue for you? You put in your time, you deserve some answers.

Call the newspaper and see what you can find out. After all, they hold the keys to the answers you need. Let them know you're a pro, and that you need to determine what's happening to the intellectual property that belongs to your company.

If the little people don't give you an answer, ask to speak with the managing editor. If they won't put you through, tell them you're going to call the Nevada Consumer Affairs Dept., and threaten to bring the matter to the consumer affairs reporter at whatever the biggest Reno TV station happens to be.

Most important of all is to keep chatting up your company's intellectual property rights... That will scare them.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Jeff BonanoRe: Moral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 11, 2009 at 11:56:14 pm

Thanks David,

Sounds like I need to play a little hard ball in order to defend my work! Well, it's worth it! Is it possible that there are pitfalls that I should watch out for or be ready for because it was a video contest submission?

Jeff Bonano
http://www.bonanoproductions.com


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Steve WargoRe: Moral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 12, 2009 at 5:30:06 am

[Jeff Bonano] "Is it possible that there are pitfalls"

See if you can find the contest rules. Sometime, the rules state that you give up all rights as soon as you send iy in. However, that could be contested because they did not act in "good faith".

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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Jeff BonanoRe: Moral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 12, 2009 at 2:08:14 pm

Good Point Steve,

I'll take a look at the fine print and go from there for that situation. Thanks!


Jeff Bonano
http://www.bonanoproductions.com


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Mark SuszkoRe: Moral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 12, 2009 at 3:13:38 pm

Steve is almost certainly right here; it is almost always in the rules for entering that they own it once you submit it, they can do what they want with it, and they don't have to answer to you for anything except awarding the actual prizes.

Two guesses as to the delay:

One: none of the entries was really good enough, creatively or technically, or appropriate to make the exercise worth the effort; these contests are about generating publicity, and if the best of the entries was still awful, maybe they want to quietly walk away from this.

Two: some legal, technical, or financial screw-up means they are just not ready to declare yet. Perhaps they are vetting the winning entry to see if there are any copyright violations in it, before releasing it. Again, time heals.

In either case, you have few rights in the matter. You can always write a public letter to the editor of the paper asking about it... but realize that if you upset or embarass the judging organization, you've probably killed your chance of winning.


I am skeptical of contests that are judged on popularity votes, without a jury. I entered a contest like this and thought my entry was superior in every way.(And that's not just ego, mine was actually technically superior as well as most closely fulfilling the requirements and doing it in an effective and attractive way).

I lost because the sponsoring organzation allowed multiple votes from web viewers, and the kid, thirty years my junior and a non-pro, that won, got his entire school to vote, dozens of times per student, racking up the first place win. It was a vote-whoring contest designed by the sponsor to harvest email addresses and site clicks, and I came in second. I would complain, but the site and contest admin turns out to go to the same school as the winner, go figure. Being born and raised in Chicago, I just shrugged; a rigged vote? Unpossible! :-)

I figure my revenge is that when the sponsor went to try and use all the harvested emails from those kid voters, they all turned out to be minors and ineligible to buy what the sponsor was selling:-)



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Jeff BonanoRe: Moral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 13, 2009 at 12:10:27 am

Well, the good (and ironic) news is that I just got a call from one of the organization's head people. She apologized for the long wait and invited me and a guest to attend a charity dinner. The fun thing is that she informed me I was one of the winners and will be receiving an award for my video at this dinner! Yay! Just before I actually started stirring up trouble with the press. Phew...! Regardless, it's been a learning experience and I appreciate all of your comments and suggestions. Thanks to all!

Jeff Bonano
http://www.bonanoproductions.com


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David Roth WeissRe: Moral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 13, 2009 at 12:18:05 am

Congrats on your victory... So, when can I expect the corporate jet to arrive for my flight to the charity event?

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Mike CohenRe: Moral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 13, 2009 at 12:30:06 am

Or perhaps they googled Jeff (#3 result is one-click from this thread) and thought, "hmm, maybe we should give this guy some recognition"

Just kidding, I'm sure it is a coincidence.

Nice video, by the way. The girl who points at the camera sells it. Where did you get the kids that appear??

Mike Cohen


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Jeff BonanoRe: Moral question...Should I do or say anything?
by on Aug 13, 2009 at 12:30:00 pm

Thanks guys!

Haha, I sent the jet to pick you up next yesterday and should be there any minute! Actually the function is called the Kristine Nagy-Johnson Awards hosted by the Can-Prevent Child Abuse Organization here in Northern Nevada(for those who haven't seen the video).

I only had 3 1/2 days before the cutoff date for the competition so I wasn't sure where I was going to get the footage of kids on such short notice...ahh, what was a guy to do?

yet again, irony striked and I got an e-mail from Crowd Control at allbetsareoff.com saying there is a 1/2 off sale due to a StarTrek week or something like that, so I bout some credits and took a look to see if there where any kids I could find. Royalty Free Keyed images of child actors pretending to be scarred and cute just happened to be on the list of available clips I could buy. Who Knew?!

I have to say that site really is a great tool to have and I have found a use for this site a couple times already. So Kudos to Aharon Rabinowitz and his team for putting it together!

Jeff Bonano
http://www.bonanoproductions.com


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