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Author rights for footage

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Armando CostantinoAuthor rights for footage
by on Sep 3, 2015 at 6:01:57 pm

Hi there,
if anybody could help me out.
Few months ago I create, from shooting to editing a 2 minutes video for a eyeglasses lens company. No contract where signed from both part. They sent me the lenses, I did the shooting, the editing and sent the final video, what they actually ask and payed for.
I had in my hard drive a lot of footage that I did not use in the final video and I've uploaded it on Stock website.
Now the same company want to legally sue me because I use their product in the footage. I just want to clarify that on the lenses there is no logo, no brand and no special design, it's just a lens.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 3, 2015 at 8:38:33 pm

You're still on iffy ground, because you didn't design the particular lens or make it. Think of it as using music that was licensed by one client, then using it for free on another project, without paying any additional fees. A few music places will sometimes let you do something like that, but generally it isn't done and isn't legal.

When you do a work for hire, which is basically what we have here, at least in U.S. law, the client owns the finished product, you own the raw materials and the process or proprietary things like project files.

But: you can't use those materials elsewhere without the permission of that client. And they can't demand you give them up unless you okay it and/or get paid for it. Stalemate.

I would say, be sweet and conciliatory to them because they've got you dead to rights and you won't be able to afford the fight.


And next time, get everything IN WRITING, including who has the rights to what after the job is done.


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Armando CostantinoRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 4, 2015 at 7:20:05 am

Seems that is not simple at all.
Let's take another example. I got some footage on Stock site: a close up of my wife's hands typing on a keyboard. You can reconize that is an Aplle product by the desing but there is no logo or brand. And this kind of footage is totally fine.
After I finish the video for this company, they did not want the lenses back. So in a way, I've become the owner. What could stop me to organize another shooting and use the same lenses for some extra footage?


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Mark SuszkoRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:42:29 pm

The size of your legal defense fund?


Anybody can sue anybody for anything. You could be dragged into court, so, do you have the time and money to fight this, regardless of being in the right or in the wrong. Is your legal position strong enough to discourage the lens company from pressing charges? IMO, no.


In your Apple keyboard example, you bought the keyboard. Did you buy the lenses?


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Armando CostantinoRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 4, 2015 at 12:55:04 pm

I did not bought the lenses, but after the shooting they told me to don't send them back.


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Armando CostantinoRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:02:27 pm

And my legal defense in not strong. I don't have a laywer and also I don't have a residency as I live, work and travel with my van. Kind of complicated!


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Mark SuszkoRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 4, 2015 at 1:09:40 pm

I think you have answered your own question, then.

Take the footage down.


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John BaumchenRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 9, 2015 at 3:22:06 am

Unless U.S. Copyright law has changed, the absence of a "specific" clause that says the job is a work for hire, all rights go to the creator. If there is no contract, then there can be no specific clause that states that the work is on a work for hire basis. The client has no rights to the footage, and unless I'm mistaken, if there are no distinguishing features on the lenses appearing on camera that one could easily associate with the manufacturer, then you only have footage of lenses.


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Armando CostantinoRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 9, 2015 at 1:57:25 pm

I'm a legal EU resident; I've worked for 20 years as a film director; and I've become a digital nomad. I'm not stealing your jobs, I'm here to ask about a dispute with a client. Thank you for your comment, though.


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Ned MillerRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 9, 2015 at 2:02:06 pm

As was mentioned above, even if you think you're right, and perhaps you are, it costs money to retain an attorney. Many will offer a half hour free consult but that's their way of determining whether or not to take your case. So, whatever you may make on selling stock footage would be a pittance compared to your legal fees.

And that's why I do handshakes or letters of agreements rather than a contract: They're too big to sue, I'm too small to sue.

So, forget it.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Todd TerryRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 9, 2015 at 2:44:25 pm

I think Armando is likely completely in the right here.

Although, at least here in the US anyone can sue anyone for anything.

My question would be, what would be the benefit of fighting the company? I don't know that much about stock footage (I buy plenty of it, but I've never sold any), but from what I hear from the people that do, it's not exactly a cash cow, and I've only heard of a couple of people ever who made any significant cash from selling footage. I would ask whether you are actually making so much money off this particular eyeglass footage that it is worth fighting the company to keep it available? I would sure doubt it.

If that were the unlikely case, then take the footage down... buy your own eyeglasses, and shoot new footage to sell.

I just find it hard to believe that there would be such a rush with the public clamoring enough to buy this footage at top dollar to make it worth fighting with the company for more than about five seconds.

I do think he is probably right... but I also think the fight is oh-so-not worth it.

T2

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



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Armando CostantinoRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 9, 2015 at 2:52:56 pm

Actually stock website are not cash cow, let's say that help with the montly budget. As far as the footage that I've uploaded, it's more a payback for them. I was underpayed and most of all they insult me, professionally speaking. So it become a bit personal for me.
This people start this project without a script, as I asked for. And they really have no clue about how to make a video, but as they payed me, the pretend to know everithing, from videoediting to graphics. So the job continue for 2 months, getting back everyday email with changes that they want on the video, and of course, as was a close budget, not be payed for that. So, is not really the matter of how much money i will do with this footage.


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Todd TerryRe: Author rights for footage
by on Sep 9, 2015 at 3:07:58 pm

I understand, but the point is that if they decide to make trouble about it (to any degree), the cost to you to fight them (even if it is just the cost of aggravation) will far outweigh the benefits from being able to sell the footage.

I understand that you are mad at this client and feel the need to "win" this battle. But as long as they are keeping you bunched up and hassling over this, they are the ones who are winning.

I'd wash my hands of them, move on, and consider myself the winner for putting a bad client behind me, and forget about them.

But that's just me....

T2

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



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