I'm working on a video project for a non-profit and one of the things they want me to use is the footage taken from a previous videographer (who filmed and edited the last video in the series). He was not an employee of the non-profit (neither am I), but he did send us a chunk of raw footage when we asked him for it.
Thinking back on it, I realized that if I use his footage without some sort of license or contract to use his footage, we may end up in legal trouble.
So I have 2 main questions:
1) If he willingly sent us the footage after a relay of e-mails explaining its use, but he also stated that the non-profit does not own the footage, do we have the rights to use it?
2) If not, are there any generic online documents that are clear that I can use to send him and allow us a license to use the footage for this film?
I'm guessing that the Non-Profit paid or made arrangements with the other videographer for the previous project.
Rather than going in heavy handed asking him to sign release forms etc, call your client first and get them to confirm that they have made the arrangement for you to use the footage. He will by being the creator always "own it", but may like to continue to support the Non-profit by allowing them to continue to use it.
At the same time, maybe give the videographer a call and say thank you for sending the footage across and ask him how he prefers to be on-screen credited for it? (If there are credits?) Then follow up with an email starting with "Thank you" and confirm that you are using the footage and crediting him accordingly.
If that doesn't work, then it comes down to what the Non-Profit paid first time around and for what. But since you have been given the footage, it sounds like everybody is working of the same hymn-sheet on this one :-)