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#1 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 08:38 AM

This is such an interesting topic that I decided to break it out into its own thread.

As long as the producer paid you to shoot the footage they own it. If they DON'T pay you then you own it.


Actually, that's not certain.

I just had a long conversation with some rep from a prod.co the other day about this issue. Still photographers can never relinquish their copyright - they always own the copyright to their images but they license indefinitely to the client - this is one of the very basic rules of authorship. Why would it be any different for moving images is what I've always asked?

Well, turns out that this has never been tried in court anywhere, apparently. But if it were, there's a pretty good chance they'd give us the same rights as stills photographer, graphic artists or other originators. I mean, what's the difference? Sure one can claim that the autorship of a film is collaborative effort, but this hasn't been tried in court either. Does the caterer have authorship? Editors? Make-Up? It's all muddle. And this would also be true in that case for still photographers, BTW - a Vogue cover owns more to make-up than any film image does.

Besides, don't know about you, but they never force me to sign any papers whatsoever. I just turn up. So where is the paper that says I've relinquished my copyright, or licensed it? Not that I'm going to use it against them - but at least I have some leverage if they start pissing about with not releasing material for self-promotion.

It'd be interesting to get a lawmans's perspective on this - so if you have family or friends that are in the profession, please ask them.
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 01:16 PM

This is such an interesting topic that I decided to break it out into its own thread.
Actually, that's not certain.

I just had a long conversation with some rep from a prod.co the other day about this issue. Still photographers can never relinquish their copyright - they always own the copyright to their images but they license indefinitely to the client - this is one of the very basic rules of authorship. Why would it be any different for moving images is what I've always asked?

Well, turns out that this has never been tried in court anywhere, apparently. But if it were, there's a pretty good chance they'd give us the same rights as stills photographer, graphic artists or other originators. I mean, what's the difference? Sure one can claim that the autorship of a film is collaborative effort, but this hasn't been tried in court either. Does the caterer have authorship? Editors? Make-Up? It's all muddle. And this would also be true in that case for still photographers, BTW - a Vogue cover owns more to make-up than any film image does.

Besides, don't know about you, but they never force me to sign any papers whatsoever. I just turn up. So where is the paper that says I've relinquished my copyright, or licensed it? Not that I'm going to use it against them - but at least I have some leverage if they start pissing about with not releasing material for self-promotion.

It'd be interesting to get a lawmans's perspective on this - so if you have family or friends that are in the profession, please ask them.



Hi,

I have previousely shot a commercial for a lower cost as it was only for local cable TV. Once the commercial was completed it was shown on all stations. I contacted the producer and insisted I was paid my full rate. He did pay!
I know of another DoP who agrees with a deal memo to a 30 second commercial. When other versions are made he insists he is paid his fee in full again!

Stephen
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 02:16 PM

This is such an interesting topic that I decided to break it out into its own thread.
Actually, that's not certain.

I just had a long conversation with some rep from a prod.co the other day about this issue. Still photographers can never relinquish their copyright - they always own the copyright to their images but they license indefinitely to the client - this is one of the very basic rules of authorship. Why would it be any different for moving images is what I've always asked?

Well, turns out that this has never been tried in court anywhere, apparently. But if it were, there's a pretty good chance they'd give us the same rights as stills photographer, graphic artists or other originators. I mean, what's the difference? Sure one can claim that the autorship of a film is collaborative effort, but this hasn't been tried in court either. Does the caterer have authorship? Editors? Make-Up? It's all muddle. And this would also be true in that case for still photographers, BTW - a Vogue cover owns more to make-up than any film image does.

Besides, don't know about you, but they never force me to sign any papers whatsoever. I just turn up. So where is the paper that says I've relinquished my copyright, or licensed it? Not that I'm going to use it against them - but at least I have some leverage if they start pissing about with not releasing material for self-promotion.

It'd be interesting to get a lawmans's perspective on this - so if you have family or friends that are in the profession, please ask them.



There are some differences between a still photographer and a cinematographer.


The still photographer also acts as the director and basically completely designs the framing of the shot and how the person poses in the shot. The still photographer makes it their own copyright by the commands they make towards the person in the shot, and the preciseness with which they choose to grab the "moment".

I also believe that a cinematographer owns or co-owns the footage they have shot until they have been paid the agreed upon rate. I also think it wise to put into any agreement that the Cinematographer be entitled to use any footage they shoot for demo reel purposes unless otherwise specified by the client. If the client has a great reason why they cannot release the footage to the Cinematographer, even for demo reel purposes, then the client should be willing to pay a very handsome bump in pay in exchange for not sharing the footage.
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#4 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 01:26 AM

Still photographers can never relinquish their copyright - they always own the copyright to their images but they license indefinitely to the client - this is one of the very basic rules of authorship.


Well, actually, that's not always the case. If a photograph is produced within the scope of one?s employment, then it is deemed a "work made for hire" and the employer owns the copyright. Here?s a bit of plain-speak straight from the NOLO site get everyone past the legalese:

"A work created by an employee within the scope of employment or a work commissioned an author under contract. With a work for hire, the author and copyright owner of a work is the person who pays for it, not the person who creates it. The premise of this principle is that a business that authorizes and pays for a work owns the rights to the work. There are two distinct ways that a work will be classified as ?made for hire.?
? the work is created by an employee within the scope of employment; or
? the work is commissioned, is the subject of a written agreement, and falls within a special group of categories (a contribution to a collective work, A PART OF A MOTION PICTURE (Editor's Note: caps are mine) or other audiovisual work, a translation, a supplementary work, a compilation, an atlas, an instructional text, a test, or as answer material for a test)."


The reason I know all this stuff is because I worked for quite a few years as a magazine editor at a large Los Angeles-based publishing company. Photography was part of my job description and that publishing company owns in perpetuity all rights to the photography I produced for them during my employment. I still see a few of those photos pop up every now and then in print ads and in various editorial pieces. The cash for those photos probably ends up in the Publisher's kids' college fund (or on a $20 table in Vegas).

Additionally, there have been many legal skirmishes in the area of freelance still photography because the big publishers and other photography buyers have been exerting a lot of muscle to try and grab extended rights. There was a big blow out recently when WireImage, a large stock agency, struck a licensing agreement with the NFL and claimed the right to market the entire NFL photo archive to third parties with no additional compensation to the photographers.

http://www.nytimes.c...artner=USERLAND

It seems the big companies always find ways to pressure the photographers to cave in, sometimes by threatening to withhold photo credentials for various events if the photographers don't play ball, so to speak.

By the way, the above text is copyrighted and property of NOLO, the NFL and the New York Times, respectively, and intended for the private use of their viewing audiences. Any other use is strictly prohibited. There. . .I?m officially in the clear.
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 04:16 PM

Interesting, thanks for clearing it up.

I have always been told that photographers couldn't ever relinquish copyright (this mainly from the country I grew up in). Yo learn.

Do you know if these are agreed international copyright guides or if they differ from country to country?
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#6 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 11:20 AM

Interesting, thanks for clearing it up.

Do you know if these are agreed international copyright guides or if they differ from country to country?


I don't know all the differences, but I did come across this article:

http://www.iht.com/a...ss/iprtrade.php
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 November 2005 - 01:25 PM

I have to go along with Fran Kuhn on this one, his post is correct.

The idea that a DOP has any part ownership of the footage he shoots when some one else is paying the bills is ridiculous. If you are being paid a day rate, and the producer is paying for all the gear & film stock etc, then the footage belongs to the producer. Period, end of story. Why is a DOP any different from any other employee in the world? When you work for some one else they own what you produce.

I have friends who work in the VFX business, when the movies they work on make millions their share is zero. And when the movies they work on lose millions they lose, zero. Producers and business owners are the ones who take the financial risk so it's only fair that they reap the rewards, or lose the money, as the case may be.

It cracks me up to think that a DOP being paid to shoot a film thinks he has any ownership of the footage. Is that DOP paying for any of the film stock, processing, or camera rental out of his own personal funds?

This is one of the main reasons I switched over to shooting stock footage. At the end of the day I own 100% of my work, not some producer. Every time some one uses one of my shots, I get paid. But, I also assume all of the financial risk. I pay for my own camera gear, film stock, processing, travel, etc etc.

At the end of the day I feel I am much better off. I don't have to wait for jobs to come up and I get paid 52 weeks of the year. But most people and DOPs I know are very risk averse, the idea of spending $300,000.00 to shoot a film library does not appeal to every one.

R,
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#8 Stephen Williams

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 03:20 AM

I have friends who work in the VFX business, when the movies they work on make millions their share is zero. And when the movies they work on lose millions they lose, zero. Producers and business owners are the ones who take the financial risk so it's only fair that they reap the rewards, or lose the money, as the case may be.


Hi,

I was working on a commercial that wanted a scene from a Bond Movie. The producers & actors agreed a fee but the VFX team wanted $150,000 for the shot!

Stephen
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 12:07 PM

You mean the production house that did the shot wanted to be compensated for its use?

Obviously Albert R Boccoli got the wrong lawyers then if he still has to pay royalties to the production house that did the VFX on the Bond film. If they where paid for their work, why are they trying to collect royalties?

Or the VFX house got the really good lawyers and negotiated points for themselves, which I've never heard of before for a VFX house.

There is also a difference between the guys that actually do the VFX and the guys that own the VFX house. For instance workers at ILM do not get any profit sharing or points from movies that they work on as the movie continues to make money world wide indefinately.

You'd have to elaborate more on exactly what you mean by "VFX team". The company owners? or the employees that did the actual work?

At Pixar for instance the workers there often get bonuses if the films they work on do very well. There are those that will say, "well that's only fair." But my question is, if the film is a flop are these same employees willing to pay money back to the company? I doubt it. Employees only want things in their favour of course which is quite typical.

Business owners do not have this luxury.

R,
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#10 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 05:39 PM

My point was not that copyrighting for cinematographers was something necessarily feasible having, but how moving images should be judged differently from stills. Now, as Kuhn pointed out, there wasn't a difference. At least in the US.
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#11 Stephen Williams

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 05:45 AM

You mean the production house that did the shot wanted to be compensated for its use?

Obviously Albert R Boccoli got the wrong lawyers then if he still has to pay royalties to the production house that did the VFX on the Bond film. If they where paid for their work, why are they trying to collect royalties?

.

You'd have to elaborate more on exactly what you mean by "VFX team". The company owners? or the employees that did the actual work?

R,


Hi Richard,

This was for the 'Omega Heroes' campain that I was working on and off for over 2 years. Bond for many years has had an Omega watch. Albert R. & Brosnon agreed fees, the stunt driver and some key crew members agents' were insisting on being paid if the shot was used in a commercial. There angle was that they had been paid only a feature film rate!
The producer is on a long holiday at the moment so I can't get hold of the exact details. However the producer spent nearly 2 years trying to get the shot. As Brosnon is no longer going to play Bond the project has died. We only needed about 10 seconds of an Aston Martin chase scene and a POV from inside the car. I was hoping to reeshoot the scene myself!
The budget was tight as the agency had spent most of the money for the rights to David Bowie's Heroes

Stephen
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