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Rights Contract Examples

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Jeremey Shelton
Rights Contract Examples
on Jan 25, 2016 at 5:53:51 pm

I've read some posts regarding clients rights to footage but I'm trying to get more specific... i.e. how in their contract the client owns the final production (perhaps even for a certain length of time) but not the elements or raw footage.

What I am looking for is an example(s) contract showing how this worded to avoid any issues down the road - does anyone know of any examples specific to our field that I could read?


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Todd Terry
Re: Rights Contract Examples
on Jan 25, 2016 at 6:41:40 pm

I don't mind sharing the contract we use... he's one for an automotive commercial client of ours (name redacted).

The red-circled part is what is pertinent... you'll probably have to click on it to make it big enough to read...



T2

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



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Jeremey Shelton
Re: Rights Contract Examples
on Jan 25, 2016 at 6:48:43 pm

That's great. Thank you very much, Todd!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Rights Contract Examples
on Jan 26, 2016 at 4:42:11 pm

It's simple and clear. I will likely steal some of it:-) But an observation: you don't come out and specify what kind of archival service you have, or limits to it, though you commit to having elements available on demand for future uses.


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Todd Terry
Re: Rights Contract Examples
on Jan 26, 2016 at 4:57:35 pm

[Mark Suszko] " But an observation: you don't come out and specify what kind of archival service you have"

True.

Or tons of other things... that contract is really almost "fact free," it doesn't specify scads of things... what format we will be shooting on, what kind of gear we are using for this or that, editing platforms, or whatever... lots and lots of stuff.

I wrote it with really only the minimum three things to be a valid contract (offer, acceptance, and consideration), and not much else.

It's very "bare bones" by design. In our theory, if you specify something like that, then you are bound to it. Leaving things loose allows you to chose alternate methods or ways of doing things as needs arise or change, and still keeps us within the specs of the agreement.

I've certainly seen the opposite, from another production company that we know well... their contracts look like a phone book, which I find totally unnecessary and just an administrative nightmare. Incidentally, their invoices are also yards long, even specifying (and billing for) how much gaffer tape is used on a shoot. Our invoices are painfully simple.

I'd say, use whatever verbage is needed to get the job done, and not any more.

In actuality, this particular contract is with a great and long-time client that we don't even bother with a handshake on... we've worked with them for years and years, they'll just call up and say "do such-and-such," they don't ask for a contract or usually even what a cost is going to be beforehand (and pay us by far faster than any other client we have). But in this case we needed a contract for some reason (someone at their place wanted one), and it was the first one I had handy.

Your mileage may vary.

T2

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



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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Rights Contract Examples
on Jan 27, 2016 at 1:47:42 pm

Todd -

I'm all on the side of plain and simple. When I was first getting my company going, I used a contract of the phonebook variety. I almost lost a job with what turned out to be a big, long running client when he looked at the massive contract and said "I'm not going to sign that!". We simplified from three pages to three paragraphs, and the client signed, and we never had any legal problems with him. I guess if you see something coming in the early meetings, it's good to have it referenced in the contract, but you can't cover everything without making the client bring their lawyer in, which isn't a great way to start out a relationship...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Ned Miller
Re: Rights Contract Examples
on Jan 31, 2016 at 4:07:12 pm

When I first started my career my mentor taught me this valuable axiom: "You can never win an argument with a client". I took that as meaning even if I'm right I lose, so when you push back hard it's the same as concluding you'll no longer do business with them again. In my case, it's usually the collection of my payment rather than the rights issue.

I have been in Small Claims Court about a half dozen times over the years and the first thing the judge says when the two parties approach the bench is, "Let's see your paperwork". What we on this forum call a "contract" is laughed at by a real attorney, but in Small Claims Court there's more leeway. It more resembles these TV judges' shows rather than a real trial, so our Letters of Agreement are often used as a guideline. That's been my impression.

In sum, I always felt I am too small to sue, they are too big to sue, so having a contract where I know I am "in the right" is meaningless because I don't want to pay a dime to an attorney to go into litigation. If you don't have a very close relative who is an attorney, this rights stuff is meaningless to me. Just give them what they want and be known as someone who is easy to do business with. Clients come and go, let some of them go...

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


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