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I haven't been paid for a video that is on the top 10 countdown...


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#1 Daniel Slezinger

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 10:53 PM

My company recently edited and color-corrected a music video that is now on the top 10 countdown of a major network. The record label who hired my company refuses to pay for the work. What are my rights? Can I stop the network from playing the video? I have email confirmation of our agreement and their acknowledgement of not paying.

Doesn't seem fair that they can use my art to get famous and not compensate me!!!
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 10:57 PM

Depends on the contract you signed. IN reality, you should have never delivered the video without being paid. By giving it to them without payment, and if you did it as a "work for hire," you really have no legal right to the video. Your only option is probably to hire a lawyer and sue them for their past due balance. Now, note, I am NOT a lawyer and contracts/contract law is very complex and also your rights will vary state to state. You need to seek legal council but, for the most part, you cannot stop the label from using the work you willingly gave them.
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 05:52 PM

In the future you should have a section of your contract, be it work-for-hire or any other arangement, where you grant only a limited copyright to them for 30 days. once the invoice is paid it should have provisions for a permanent transfer of rights to them, but should the invoice not be paid, copyright remains your domain. If you don't have that agreement in place, you can't easily prevent them from using the work. If it were in place it would be a simple matter of calling the station, and sending them a cease and desist order, which would really light a fire under the butts of the people who owe you..

...hindsight is 20/20. I started using this clause in my work-for-hire agreements after I got burned once.
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#4 Daniel Slezinger

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 06:11 PM

Great advice, I'll adopt that idea.

So, I emailed a personal contact at the local station's legal department and she forwarded my email to the legal department of the Network. I received a call 10 minutes later with a commitment of payment from the record label. The threat wasn't worth losing the bands momentum and the Network didn't want the headache...
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