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Do I have the right to ask for royalties?

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Gabriela Lozano
Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 6:56:07 am

Hello to you all,
I am freelance videographer and was hired by a record label to make a video shooting of one of their bands. I was paid for doing the shooting and the post production but never told that the final product would be edited in a DVD for sale. My question is, do I have the right to ask for royalties, of course they have the rights over the music shown but, do I have the rights over the video? Which would be a polite way to ask for Royalties?
Thanks a lot
Gabriela


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Mike Cohen
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 5:22:58 pm

In general, if you are hired as a freelance contractor, you are hired to do the work only. You are not part of the company that is selling the product, nor do you have a contract specifying your business relationship - or do you? - then you probably don't have a leg to stand on. Many of these inquiries come down to a contract.

Mike Cohen


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Shane Ross
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 8:32:00 pm

Crew never has the rights to royalties, unless stated so in a contract. Even on projects you work on that are sold again and again, you don't get royalties. You are "work for hire." You performed a task, and were paid for that task.

Television crew don't get royalties for shows that are then sold on DVD. Nor are feature crews. They are "below the line," meaning that they were hired to perform a job and were paid for that job. The only people who get royalties are those "above the line." Directors, producers, writers, actors, studio.



Shane



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


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Gabriela Lozano
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 1, 2009 at 10:59:39 pm

First of all, Mike and Shane, thanks a lot for your answers.
I think I may not explained well my position. The point is that I was no crew at all, I produced the whole thing. I did the pre-production; hired the production crew, rented the cameras, dollies, jibs/cranes, etc. rented the edition room, hired the editor, colorist, animator; authored the DVD, made the disk imprints, labels of the case, etc. I read this article: http://www.digitaljuice.com/magazine/articles/2006_034_vtx.asp
and I think I was not employee and therefor I do have the rights of the video. So, does this change the picture or it stays the same.
Thanks a lot again you guys, cheers
Gabriela


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Gav Bott
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 12:31:57 am

"So, does this change the picture or it stays the same."

Stays the same - unless your contract says otherwise..........

Unless you have some other kind of agreement in place - once you deliver your clip it's theirs to market as best they can.

Get paid for the work you agreed to - they make a bundle and hire you again to repeat the process.

The Brit in Brisbane
The Pomme in Production - Brisbane Australia.


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Richard Herd
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 1:49:20 am

Have you recouped all of your negative costs?


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 6:32:35 pm

[Gabriela Lozano] "The point is that I was no crew at all, I produced the whole thing. I did the pre-production; hired the production crew, rented the cameras, dollies, jibs/cranes, etc. rented the edition room, hired the editor, colorist, animator; authored the DVD, made the disk imprints, labels of the case, etc."

It sounds to me like you were paid for doing that work, but now you want to be paid again because your client successfully marketed your work product.

So, what if a project fails miserably, languishes on the shelf forever, and despite your best efforts, the best thing that ever comes of the project is that the band members are able to show it to their grandchildren someday? Does this mean that you should pay back the fee you received for your services?

The fact that your happy client was able to successfully "repurpose" the product they paid you to create, and sell it in markets beyond their original expectations, should give you a warm fuzzy feeling. The feelings of entitlement you describe instead sound very hollow and petty.

My advice is, move on, and be happy with your success. Get another job and shoot for the same success.

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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Scott Carnegie
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 3, 2009 at 3:31:39 pm

You were hired help, a "work for hire" (which is not the same as an employee) you don't own the video, the people that paid you did, unless you have a contract that states otherwise.

Going in for royalties after the fact seems like a sleazy move to make BTW, going that route will gaurantee that they won't hire you again.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Jeremy Doyle
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 4:03:23 am

[Shane Ross] "Television crew don't get royalties for shows that are then sold on DVD. Nor are feature crews. They are "below the line," meaning that they were hired to perform a job and were paid for that job. The only people who get royalties are those "above the line." Directors, producers, writers, actors, studio. "

How is the line determined? Just curious as I know the DP and Editor are just as much part of telling the story as the actors.




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Shane Ross
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 6:29:13 am

[Jeremy Doyle] "How is the line determined?"

By the unions. This was all determined early EARLY on when editors were mainly technicians, and didn't really get into the creative part. But when they did get more involved in the creative, and in many ways contribute the same as a director, often times more by saving a movie through editing...they still can't get above the line as the union isn't as strong as the others. Greed...



Shane



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


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Allen Sullivan
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 1:33:25 am

Gabriela,

Coming from a family of attorneys and having once had to take a copyright case to court (successfully), I think you're on to something with the link you posted. I suggest you pose your question to a qualified intellectual property attorney.

I am relatively new to licensing video work and know that some norms are different than in other fields. I come from a still photography background and have found the discussions here at Creative Cow the most enlightening anywhere on all aspects of video production.

I do know that a creator of intellectual property owns the rights to what they create unless otherwise agreed to contractually (in the U.S. at least). Getting it all in writing, ahead of time, helps deter confusion and bad situations.

Allen


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Richard Herd
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 2:08:46 am

Having seen too many movies about "The Family of Attorneys" ;) please bear in mind I am in no way challenging your expertise when I ask: doesn't music video production belong to the originator of the work, namely the band?

This has been a topic of much discussion in other forums, if not this one too.


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Allen Sullivan
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 12:37:24 pm

Richard, no verifiable expertise here...a family of attorneys could be why I am not one ;)

I guess I'm coming at Gabriela's situation where she said she might be the one-woman show, creator of every part of the piece. But like I said before, I'm coming from the still photo side where it's much easier to be that sole creator and automatic rights holder.

I wouldn't know from experience about a music video. Seems having an agreement in writing before work begins would help clear up potential problems down the road.

Allen


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 6:50:48 pm

[Allen Sullivan] "Coming from a family of attorneys "

Let me be the first to issue condolences. Just one in the family is way too many for me.

BTW, do you know the difference between a lawyer and a catfish?

Answer: One is a bottom feeding, scum sucking, scavenger... The other is a fish.


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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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 4, 2009 at 4:50:31 am

[David Roth Weiss] "One is a bottom feeding, scum sucking, scavenger... The other is a fish"

Shouldn't that read "The other can be fried up and made into a tasty P'o Boy sandwich"?

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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grinner hester
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 2, 2009 at 3:50:48 am

You can bring this up any way you wanna word but it will translate to "laugh at me then never hire me again."
Wish em the best and stay top of mind, should another project surfice. You can negotiate your way out of the gig at that time.




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Philip Imbrenda
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 3, 2009 at 12:41:50 pm

Once you Let the Lawyer's in, it might wind up costing you money for spinning your wheels, plus blowing up your reputation. The lawyer's always are willing to take your money and tell you its a good case, if the company you are going after is a Corporation they have to hire a lawyer to defend the company. and the cost can be substantial, if you Loose and you probably will, you may have to pay all the Legal fees.
Philip Imbrenda
Tv One Productions

Tv One Productions


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grinner hester
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:42:30 pm

I can't imagine anyone throwin' money towards an ambulance chaser for this. It's pretty obvious no perecentages can be collected as none were negotiated. Trying to shake down a clinet after the fact is the second best way to be black-balled in a market.




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Gabriela Lozano
Re: Do I have the right to ask for royalties?
on Dec 4, 2009 at 8:14:25 pm

Thanks a lot for your time and commentaries guys, you've been very kind.
Well, after days and nights of consideration, I think i will pass to ask for royalties. Me vs. a large company its a battle I do not want to fight. I think I prefer to stay in good terms with them, they are happy with my work and I should be happy with that too. I only hope this would bring me more projects with them and then, I would be more careful.
Thanks a lot to all of you guys.
Gabriela



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