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Who owns the copyright?


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#1 Daniel Smith

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:10 PM

Hi.

I shot a training DVD for a company a few weeks back, I'm now in the process of editing it.

I wondered what I should do at the end, if I should put © followed by my own name or followed by the company name?


Not sure what to do.
Dan.
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#2 Jim Keller

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:47 PM

If it's not spelled out explicitly in your contract, then you're in a gray area.

If it was "work for hire," meaning the company hired you to produce this item, paid you for doing so, and gave you explicit instructions on exactly what the end product should be, then most likely they would own the copyright.

If you generated the project and then licensed it back to them, then you own the copyright (though, obviously, as they have a trademark interest in their company, you would have issues with re-use).

This is something that you should consider specifying in future contracts. If the company owns the copyright, then they can re-use it, re-edit it, re-distribute it, sell snippets as stock, etc. without consulting you (though any contractual re-use fees would be required).

If you want to just duck the issue this time, I'd say simply put c-in-circle 2009, all rights reserved. That's sufficient for most U.S. and international purposes.
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:21 PM

You also have to register it correctly with the government. Here in the U.S.A., the place to start is here:

http://www.copyright.gov/

Ah, but I see you're in the U.K. Here's a place to start over there:

http://www.britishcopyright.org/





-- J.S.
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 07:52 AM

You also have to register it correctly with the government. Here in the U.S.A., the place to start is here:

http://www.copyright.gov/

Ah, but I see you're in the U.K. Here's a place to start over there:

http://www.britishcopyright.org/





-- J.S.


In the UK you don't always register with the government - the copyright organisaton is more an umbrella group rather than a hands on group.

There appears to be number of methods being used depending on the industries and the material. UK scripts tend to be registered by using the registered post method, Writers Guild or BECTU. This is different to the US which seems to require more than is required in international law for scripts. I assume this because of some case law involving the studios v writers etc.

Here's the UK Intellectual Properties Office which give some info on the subject:

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy.htm

Copyright is a bit of minefield and if in doubt talk to a lawyer.
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