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Footage Rights

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Aaron Cadieux
Footage Rights
on Sep 9, 2009 at 4:07:24 pm

Hello,

I do football videography for a local high school. I've recently been approached about selling some footage of the big hits I've captured over the years. I am hired by the school as a vendor. There is no contract in place as to who owns the footage I'm shooting. I give the coach a copy of the game film, and always keep one for my archives. As far as I'm concerned, the footage is mine. Anyone see any problems with me selling this footage?

Best

-Aaron Cadieux


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Mark Suszko
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 9, 2009 at 5:06:06 pm

I see a lawyer that will have his next three boat payments taken care of out of this.


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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 9, 2009 at 5:17:26 pm

So is this your way of telling me that the footage isn't mine?



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Todd Terry
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 9, 2009 at 5:26:53 pm

I think it's Mark's way of telling you that, barring a written agreement spelling it out, that there could be a big dispute as to who actually owns the footage rights. If they chose to, the school could probably make a fairly good argument that they own the rights. For future work I would strongly suggest a written contract that spells out specifically that you own the rights, if you intend to try to re-sell the footage.

Presently, it may be simple though. There may not be a problem with the school... they may neither care, nor make any claims to the rights.

You won't know until you ask them.

You might end up calling a lawyer... but ringing up your client first is much easier and cheaper call to make.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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David Roth Weiss
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 9, 2009 at 5:37:00 pm

So Aaron,

Have you asked the coach what he thinks? If not, why not?

Have you asked the school principal? If not, why not?

Do the player's jerseys ID the team?

Do the players numbers ID the players?

Do the players have faces? Do they show from beneath their face guards?

If everyone on the playing field was faceless, nameless, and totally generic in every way, and you got permission, you might have a non-issue, but I have a suspicion that's not the case.

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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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 9, 2009 at 5:54:51 pm

Thank you David and everyone else for your quick responses.

To answer your questions.

I have not asked the coach anything yet. I was going to bounce this off of professionals (i.e. you guys) before I brought it up to anyone else. The same goes for the principal and the superintendent.

The players jerseys are generic green and white with no names on the jerseys. The helmet has the logo of an Indian that has been used by the school for years. Nowhere on the jersey or the helmet does it identify the school directly.

The players all wear numbers, but like I said, they do not wear names. I shoot the game with no sound, so there's no way to link the players numbers with specific names unless you take the time to look up the roster (that's even if you recognize the team by the logo).

The players faces are absolutely hidden by their helmets and facemasks. There is no way to tell who they are by facial recognition.

Another grey area in this whole equation is the opposing team(s) in these shots.

Best,

Aaron



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 9, 2009 at 6:26:40 pm

[Aaron Cadieux] "The helmet has the logo of an Indian that has been used by the school for years."

That's probably the weak link.

[Aaron Cadieux] "Another grey area in this whole equation is the opposing team(s) in these shots. "

There's the second strike...

But, chat it up nicely with the coach and principal just to see if they like the idea. Their support could possibly help you to surmount all the other obstacles. If you can establish desire, you might be able to bend the rules, but without that desire you have nothing.

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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Mark Suszko
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 9, 2009 at 6:27:43 pm

Another issue you may come up against in wanting to sell this footage, Aaron: those players aged less than 18 are legally minors, and cannot give their consent, you have to obtain consent thru the parent or legal guardian of EACH player, or, less of a lock, a blanket consent thru the school district and specific school administration, which represents the interests of those kids in the absence of parents.

Usually, for purposes of yearbooks, school papers and district PR, coverage by local TV sports reporters, etc. kids on school sports teams have their parent or legal guardian sign a waiver at the beginning of the season that says it is okay to show pictures including their kid for those specific purposes. However, there is nothing that says that blanket waiver applies to a third party such as yourself. You could wind up like Virgin mobile telephones, who got sued for using what they thought was a cleared image of a girl using one of their phones in a candid photo, in an ad playing on the name "Virgin". They didn't have the permission, and the kid was a minor.

Lawyer gets huge boat payment.

There are stock footage companies that sell generic football player footage. They go thru incredible layers of red tape and CYA so as to
not violate any trademarks or copyrights or Intellectual Property. By the time they have nerfed the footage sufficiently to make it legally safe, the footage is often too tame and bland to be of much use anyhow. Sorry to dent your dreams of easy money re-selling the footage. These are practical business concerns, and we don't have to like 'em, but we have to deal with them.

Or don't, it is up to you and your own ethics, but you're taking a risk, a potentially very expensive risk.


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Chris Blair
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 10, 2009 at 12:31:23 am

While everyone brings up valid points, in the absence of an agreement stating otherwise, he likely owns the rights to the footage. But that's an issue that's been debated repeatedly on here and there's not always a clear cut answer legally or ethically.

But I doubt those "big hits" from local football games is worth a huge sum of money, so if he discusses it with the coach and school, and they're ok with it, he likely will have no issues with parents.

There are scores if not hundreds of sports team magazines produced weekly both in print and online that take snapshots and video of local sporting teams then resell those photos and videos to parents online. They recruit parents to shoot the photos and pay them a little something for shooting and a little portion of each photo or video sold. They don't get permission from teams, coaches, parents or otherwise. Nobody complains. In fact, parents eat it up because they can go online and see pics and video of their little whipper snapper in action. Nobody complains although the whole enterprise is clearly done for profit. Again, I doubt anybody is getting rich on this venture.

The only time rights owwnership has ever been an issue in my 25 years is when there's a substantial amount of money involved.

So as long as nothing unethical or inappropriate is being done with the images or video, there's little to fear, especially if you discuss it with the school and coach.

One more thing, schools routinely take photos and videos of sporting events, graduations, recitals etc. and resell the photos and videos to parents under the guise of "fundraising." When I was in school I played a lot of sports and every year we signed a waiver for a bunch of stuff, mainly injury related but there was also a release about photos and film (shows how old I am). That was 30 years ago so I bet most schools have kids sign waivers for stuff like that today as well. Almost all schools videotape games then share that video for teaching and scouting purposes, so that's why (at least back then) they needed the releases.

You could also offer to kick back 10 or 15% of what you make from selling the footage to the shool. That should make everyone happy.

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


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Steve Wargo
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 14, 2009 at 4:00:38 am

Yes, you have the rights to all of the footage. What you don't have rights to is the images of the people. So, you have a useless copyright, just like every still photographer in the USA.

Don't even think about selling that unless your dad is a lawyer.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
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2-Sony EX-1 HD .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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Chris Blair
Re: Footage Rights
on Sep 16, 2009 at 11:50:39 pm

If the kids and parents signed a photo release like the one I mentioned I signed every year I played sports from 3rd grade until I graduated high school, and the school signs off on him selling the footage, then he would indeed have everything he needs to sell it.

It would be no different than the standard photo releases almost every production company uses when they shoot interviews or even when using paid talent. It releases the school and anyone affiliated from liability in regard to the photos or video.

But again, who would spend the money it would take to get attorneys involved regarding something like this? The foogate certainly can't be worth enough to fuss over.


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


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