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Securing rights for a movie clip for a corporate video

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Steve MartinSecuring rights for a movie clip for a corporate video
by on May 27, 2011 at 10:59:41 am

Hello fellow bovine,

I have a client who wants me to use a movie clip for an internal video. They know they can't just "use it" and need to secure rights and have asked for my help in doing so. I've been doing some reading (including a terrific thread in this forum from 2007: http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/17/857973#858113

However, I'm also finding lots of conflicting information on the process of securing rights. So I was hoping someone who has actually done this or have some first hand knowledge of the process can point me in the right direction.

I know I can call an entertainment attorney but was hoping that there is a good (and reputable) agency that does this kind of thing on a regular basis? Anyone "Got A Guy" for that?

As an FYI, the video project that the clip would be a part of will be an internal video on the company's intranet ONLY - not for use in advertising, marketing or any other general public use.

Thanks!

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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Mark SuszkoRe: Securing rights for a movie clip for a corporate video
by on May 27, 2011 at 6:08:12 pm

"Internal use only" videos have a habit of getting out, no matter what steps you take or promises you extract. And the internet is forever. Remember the Ian Malcom character Jeff Goldblum plays in the film: "Jurassic Park", when the scientists tell him they've made the dinosaurs unable to reproduce in the wild?

"Nature finds a way. Always."


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Richard HerdRe: Securing rights for a movie clip for a corporate video
by on May 27, 2011 at 6:30:59 pm

Yeah, I've tried to do this through proper channels. Before the lawyer would even open up a negotiation, he required a $5,000 retainer. So we abandoned that project pretty fast.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Securing rights for a movie clip for a corporate video
by on May 27, 2011 at 6:35:17 pm

My first stop for anything like this is B-Z rights and permissions, though my impression is they are mostly about music clips, not video. They might have some good links to help the search though.

A rule of thumb for getting these kinds of permissions is that the process is designed to be very slow and unresponsive, you will NOT be able to come up with a brilliant idea Monday and execute it by Friday with the clearances all in place, unless you are a big outfit with dedicated legal resources like NBC. And maybe by design, the folks you want to ask permission of, don't caer to be bothered for nickle-and-dime operators, they are mostly interested in high-dollar broadcast mass-market arangements. That is NOT to be interpreted as saying they will be lax in ENFORCING their rights, oh no: they will release the hounds on you smaller operators, no matter what, if you DON'T get permissions.


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Bill DavisRe: Securing rights for a movie clip for a corporate video
by on May 27, 2011 at 9:05:11 pm

What Mark said.

Barbara Zimmrman at BZ Rights and Permissions in NYC.

But it's slow, expensive and a pain in the butt.

Licensing is still such a nineteenth century industry.

Hopefully, that will change in the coming years.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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grinner hesterRe: Securing rights for a movie clip for a corporate video
by on May 28, 2011 at 3:17:54 am

Call the studio that released the movie, explain the use request and offer a price. It doesn't have to complicated and you don't have to spend money on an entertainment atty. A reputable agent may be able to haggle a good price for you but you'll wind up paying the same out of pocket after his cut. It's not hard to just call and tell em what you wanna do. It'll boil down to a yes or no on a price.
Going directly to the source is often the fastest path.



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Gav BottRe: Securing rights for a movie clip for a corporate video
by on May 30, 2011 at 1:53:32 am

What Grin said - ask 1st.

Few weeks ago I needed to use footage of sports star here in Aus - so I spoke to his agent, and the football org body.

They all said yes - and for cost of transfer I got 200x what I needed FTP'd in the right format..........

Life is not always hard & full of lawyers (until you don't ask).

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


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John BehrensRe: Securing rights for a movie clip for a corporate video
by on Jun 1, 2011 at 2:47:54 pm

Studios have licensing divisions you can contact. Some even have very easy-to-use licensing websites. Here are some links:

http://www.mgmmedialicensing.com/Search.aspx

http://sonypicturesfilmclips.com/ContactUs.aspx

http://www.universalclips.com/Search.aspx

http://www.newscorp.com/management/20film.html

http://www.paramountlicensing.com/ —(this one doesn't appear to be working right now)

If you find out which studio released the film, you can then contact the studio and get a quote based on the length of the clip and the usage. As was already mentioned, clip licensing is really geared toward big broadcast deals and is usually cost-prohibitive for small internal productions.
One other thing to keep in mind is that, depending on the other properties involved in the clip, there may be other permissions you would need to obtain. For instance, if you wanted to use a clip from Rocky, you would not only need to pay the exorbitant licensing fees to MGM, but you would also need to acquire written permission from Sylvester Stallone (and he almost always says no).
I hope this helps!


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Steve MartinRe: Securing rights for a movie clip for a corporate video
by on Jun 4, 2011 at 8:35:54 pm

Thanks to all for the great information - as always, the COW rocks!

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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