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Copyrights to screen captures of video

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Addie MacCopyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 2, 2014 at 8:29:42 pm

Hi!

I am wondering how common it is to claim copyright of screen captures from promotional videos in Canada? In my past experience of hiring for video production for marketing campaigns I never once had a free-lancer or company claim a copyright infraction if a screen capture of the video was used as part of the promotion of the video or of the campaign that the video was part of. For example, posting a screen capture of the video in order to link to the video or to act as part of the over-all ad campaign online leading to the videos themselves.

The example I am considering is this...
A company is paid to create a series of promotional tourism videos for a Canadian community. They deliver the videos, copyrights have been granted to the client which exclude raw footage, re-editing, or re-purposing of the videos. The client used screen captures from the video to promote and link to the videos on their website, Facebook and Youtube for the past 6 months and the video company was aware of this and raised no concerns. The client just used a screen capture to launch a new promotion of the videos (they were released in January and they want to re-release them to increase interest in them again) and the day after the screen capture was used, the video production company contacted them and demanded they not use that screen capture on their Facebook page and claimed it was a copyright infringement and that permission should be requested from the video company to use screen captures or stills from the videos the client paid for.

This is the first time out of dozens of projects over the past decade that I've ever had a video company make a copyright infringement claim like this. We've removed the image in question and I'm hoping to get some feedback on the situation from other professionals in the hopes of avoiding any problems like this in the future:

Has something changed with the interpretation of video copyright in Canada now that limits the use of screen captures or stills from the video by a client who has been granted copyrights? Or, was this always the case that these restrictions on copyrights existed?

Thanks in advance for any clarity you can provide.
Addie


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 3, 2014 at 8:47:04 am

Hey Addie,

1st off, I don't know the copyright laws in Canada, not withstanding that the laws could be different whether you are French or English Canadian?

My opinion:
As the end client did not purchase an all out license for all materials and use there off, the client must go back to originator if they wish to re-image (screen capture included) any parts of the videos for alternative use. As in that it sounds like the videos was created and purchased to be used in full.

Why: I'm guessing that a local friendly company got the contract to produce the videos? And that a local tourist board did not have the full budget thereby relying on a bit of charity from supplier to make it work? The way the supplier would make up their budgets would normally be to charge for repeat usage, changes and other small bits and pieces that over time adds up and makes the proposition worth getting involved with.

However, it is not in the suppliers interest to get dumped publicly by the local tourist board. And it is not in the local tourist boards interest to be accused of stealing pictures and videos for their promotional use.

Not knowing the situation I suggest that a courtesy phone-call to supplier before doing the new campaign would have been the right thing to do and might have have kept everybody happy. Maybe even offering, apart from the obligatory credit, a link to the suppliers website or page of choice.

In any case; arrange coffee and cakes with supplier in an informal setting to see if you can find a positive way of resolving the issues, rather than going into an all out legal war which both sides will loose.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Addie MacRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:21:55 pm

Thank you so much for your quick response!

It's English Canadian copyright we're dealing with.

I'm hoping they can resolve it amicably, but unfortunately even before this issue arose, the company had already requested that the client remove all credit and links to their website from the clients website, with no explanation as to why (nothing had occurred - positive or negative - to prompt that request). This is not a local company to the client, but there was some personal connections between various participants in the promotional videos and the video company so yes, the rate was sort of a "friends and family" kind of rate. The video stills issue came about AFTER the company had already allowed them to produce and use many other video stills for the marketing of the videos.

I've never come across this issue before as it's fairly tough to market a promotional tourism video without using any images from the video especially after they had already approved screen captures being used.

Your insight has been much appreciated.

- Addie


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Richard HerdRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 3, 2014 at 4:42:49 pm

Videos are a series of pictures (generally speaking). If they have the right to transmit the video on the website, what excludes the display of a single image as a "controller" to start the image sequence, much like is done on a DVD menu page? Moreover, the facebook and youtube thumbnails are generated by facebook and youtube; so if he as an issue with the thumbnails, he'll need to contact those entities.


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Addie MacRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 3, 2014 at 6:26:13 pm

Thanks Richard, I wondered about the thumbnail issue too with respect to Facebook and Youtube. Although, in this case, thumbnails were manually created for the videos because the ones automatically created by YouTube were really bad. They did not take issue with that though - several thumbnails and stills were created to market the video without any issue. It's just 6 months later that it has now become an issue, so I wondered if something had changed in the way copyrights were handled recently that would change how they now are demanding they be dealt with. They have not objected to any of the previous material.

I really appreciate the feedback - it's very helpful.


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 3, 2014 at 8:57:19 pm

Hey Addie,

Although I suspect that the other side of the argument feels that they have an valid argument for removing the materials, here is a few more opinions on how your case could be resolved:

First; you should ask the supplier directly what have changed now, in comparison to what you've done previously? And to why this is happening now?

However, if the supplier have previously allowed you knowingly to use stills to promote the videos, then that is what you should continue to do. By originally allowing you to use the stills, it could be argued that the supplier entered into a contractual agreement for you to use the images for promoting the videos.

At a long stretch, but a good argument to test out in court, the videos might have been edited in such a way that only bad images comes up on the auto selection on YouTube and that this has created an issue where the videos cannot be used for the purpose that they were intended for - in which case, the supplier should either fix it, or pay back the cost for producing the videos - that is if a mutually agreeable arrangement cannot be found.

You could also just create new images from scratch to create new stills for the front end of the videos - should be doable with a digital camera, or even a smart phone. This would remove the argument completely and remind you not to use that supplier ever again. Maybe even put a note out to other similar organizations.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Richard HerdRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 7, 2014 at 11:31:28 pm

[Mads Nybo Jørgensen] "You could also just create new images from scratch to create new stills for the front end of the videos - should be doable with a digital camera, or even a smart phone."

Not in the US. I assume you mean take a picture of the video screen and then display that picture. In US law the photograph of a photograph, or a photograph of a painting, and in some cases a photograph of a building is a derivative work and requires a license agreement also.


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Tim WilsonRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 7, 2014 at 11:43:03 pm

[Richard Herd] "and in some cases a photograph of a building"

Man, I love bringing up buildings when we're talking about trademarks.

A short list of trademarked buildings include the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Art Deco Building (even the elevator doors are trademarked), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Transamerica Pyramid, Wrigley Building, the Guggenheim, the Flatiron Building...it's a pretty dang long list.

Assume NOTHING, except that you'd better ask before you take your lenscap off, your phone out of your pocket, or what have you.


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 8, 2014 at 5:50:17 am

[Richard Herd] " I assume you mean take a picture of the video screen and then display that picture"

You assume wrongly, let me repeat: "create new images from scratch" - the keyword is "new", not reproduction.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Richard HerdRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 8, 2014 at 4:06:31 pm
Last Edited By Richard Herd on Jul 8, 2014 at 4:07:39 pm

[Mads Nybo Jørgensen] ""create new images from scratch""

Ok. Of what would the new images be created? And why would a camera be needed?


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 8, 2014 at 4:45:21 pm

Richard, oh dear, it is the "we are not creative today" time...

Creatively, short of offering your 5 year old neighbour $20 for getting the crayons out, let me give you an example of how a NEW picture can easily be created using a basic camera setup, to be put in a placeholder of a YouTube video.

This example is specifically for that of a tourist board video:
1) If you don't have smartphone or a digital still camera, borrow or hire one for item 2.
2) Journey to a beautiful local spot - may I suggest using a cycle, just to keep it green.
3) Point the camera lens at something beautiful, not your self.
4) Look through the capture window or on screen to see if picture is sharp? If not, adjust accordingly, although some people like out of focus pictures.
4.5) Be careful that no people in the picture can be recognized or are on private land, or Mr Richard Herd will tell you that you will need a release note, or it will cost you money, or you must hire a professional photographer to make NEW image.
5) Press button to take picture.
6) Take several pictures, don't waste your journey. Make a library of pictures.
7) Get on your bike and go home.
8) Transfer picture from camera to the computer that you are using for managing your YouTube account on.
9) If picture is in a file format known as JPeg, you should be able to use it straight away. Otherwise you'll need to convert it.
9.5) There are FREE software that will open your NEW image and let you save it as a JPeg should the original be different.
10) In the Video manager for the clip on YouTube select the point where you can upload your own image - use said image.

And that is the simple way of getting a NEW image for your YouTube clip.


Happy to do a Q&A if the above wasn't clear enough :-D

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Richard HerdRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 8, 2014 at 5:11:37 pm
Last Edited By Richard Herd on Jul 8, 2014 at 5:14:45 pm

Extra points for snark and double for red herring!

The shoot and deliverable are under the same contract and the first dilemma has not be solved.


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 8, 2014 at 10:33:47 pm

Hey Richard,

You're right, that was cheap and easy point scoring. Might have been funny (or sarcastic), but not intended to be hurtful.

However, the message remains the same: It is not difficult to create a new holding pictures/slates for the like of YouTube without having to steal or borrow someones artistic work.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Richard HerdRe: Copyrights to screen captures of video
by on Jul 9, 2014 at 6:06:40 pm

[Mads Nybo Jørgensen] "It is not difficult to create a new holding pictures/slates for the like of YouTube without having to steal or borrow someones artistic work."

Well the whole thing is a bit odd, really. Lots of client hand holding and explaining is in order. (I guess I would ignore it altogether.)



[Mads Nybo Jørgensen] "You're right, that was cheap and easy point scoring. Might have been funny (or sarcastic), but not intended to be hurtful."

No worries, dude.


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