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#1 alfredoparra

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:21 PM

Im shooting a music video for an artist thats getting signed to a major, I shot the video for free, no pay! I also came up with the concept and I have all the emails that went back and forth on the storyline. My question is, how much of the rights do I own and where can I get online info on the topic? Thanks!
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:52 PM

Disclaimer: I am not a Lawyer:


None. It is a work for hire, the person who is "purchasing," or in this case "acquiring" the work owns the rights to it. If you want to retain any ownership of it, or any rights to use it later on (for reels etc) legally you'll need to write out a contract stating such. You should consult with an entertainment lawyer for more information. It will also depend on what country, and often state/province you are in. You'd want a contract which allows you the right to use the work, or excerpts from the work for self promotion as a a portfolio piece only.
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#3 bill simone

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 04:45 PM

And neither am I a lawyer, but for what it is worth, the US copyright law states that in the absence of a contract to the contrary, the original creator of a work (artwork, photograph etc.) owns the copyright to the work at the instant of creation.
In other words it is yours to sign away, not the opposite. "Work for hire" is never implied, so, if you did not sign a "work for hire" agreement, you own the copyright.

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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 04:51 PM

I think the thorniest issue would be the fact that you're working off of a prerecorded song.....and it's copyright.
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#5 Freya Black

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:00 PM

Disclaimer: I am not a Lawyer:


None. It is a work for hire, the person who is "purchasing," or in this case "acquiring" the work owns the rights to it. If you want to retain any ownership of it, or any rights to use it later on (for reels etc) legally you'll need to write out a contract stating such. You should consult with an entertainment lawyer for more information. It will also depend on what country, and often state/province you are in. You'd want a contract which allows you the right to use the work, or excerpts from the work for self promotion as a a portfolio piece only.



Actually I don't think it can possibly be "work for hire" unless you get paid at least something! Work for hire is a complicated issue even when someone has been paid but if it was shot for free then it is not work for hire.

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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:06 PM

I think the thorniest issue would be the fact that you're working off of a prerecorded song.....and it's copyright.


Well yes but I think you are misunderstanding the situation. The poster is probably wondering if they have the right to sell the music video to the new label or something like that. I can't imagine they intend to do anything with the finished video other than that, as obviously they would run into issues with the various music rights (not only conventional copyright in the case of a song too!)


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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:07 PM

I think it can still be a work for hire if no money exchanges hands, just seen as a "donation," but again, it's a thorny issue and one would really need a lawyer to be sure, or a contract which spells all this out for both parties .
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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:29 PM

I think it can still be a work for hire if no money exchanges hands, just seen as a "donation," but again, it's a thorny issue and one would really need a lawyer to be sure, or a contract which spells all this out for both parties .


Definitely not. Copyright rests with the creator. Work for hire only exists when someone is actually employed in a conventional sense and even then it can be a bit of a legal mine field unless there is a really clear work for hire contract.

Copyright can also be transfered through other means than work for hire. You could agree to donate the rights as you suggest but then that isn't technically work for hire. You would really need something in writing to transfer the rights in this way however, as copyright automatically lies with the creator.

You can never just assume a transfer of copyright.

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#9 alfredoparra

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 10:29 PM

I wrote the treatment and its not work for hire or a donation! the music attached is called a mechanical license and the sublabel gave the green light but now a major is coming into play! I dident charge for the production but I did all the work and wrote the storyline, its like a music producer, if he makes a beat and gives it to somebody and they get picked up the producer still owns the rights, im my case the music is owned by that producer and the artist, the label owns the sound recording and I should own the rest. anybody agree with this? I only agreed to shoot it with out pay, I never signed anything and I never gave the rights away at any point! I know Michale Jackson had to ask for permission for Thiller when he wanted to do some sort of play and the producer said no! why does he own the rights and he was work for hire? Thanks!
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#10 alfredoparra

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 10:46 PM

I wrote the treatment and its not work for hire or a donation! the music attached is called a mechanical license and the sublabel gave the green light but now a major is coming into play! I dident charge for the production but I did all the work and wrote the storyline, its like a music producer, if he makes a beat and gives it to somebody and they get picked up the producer still owns the rights, im my case the music is owned by that producer and the artist, the label owns the sound recording and I should own the rest. anybody agree with this? I only agreed to shoot it with out pay, I never signed anything and I never gave the rights away at any point! I know Michale Jackson had to ask for permission for Thiller when he wanted to do some sort of play and the producer said no! why does he own the rights and he was work for hire? Thanks!



let me clearify, the artist is signed to the sub-label and I shot the video for the sub-label with out pay because they claim there broke! now the artist is going up to the majors, if the music video go's with the artist to the majors and it gets distribution around the world, shouldent I be entitled to some kind of payment? the sub-label is going to collect royalty for producing the track and writing the songs, I produced the video and wrote the treatment, this is not work for hire and I never gave the rights away! I'll post the music video in question in a few weeks. Thanks!
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 10:53 PM

If you gave it to them, you gave it to them, and I would say honestly that in the action of giving you also gave away your rights. You need to talk to a lawyer to find out for sure, but I honestly wouldn't expect any money. I speak only from experience. And, even if you have the rights, do you have the money to litigate that?
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#12 alfredoparra

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 11:02 PM

If you gave it to them, you gave it to them, and I would say honestly that in the action of giving you also gave away your rights. You need to talk to a lawyer to find out for sure, but I honestly wouldn't expect any money. I speak only from experience. And, even if you have the rights, do you have the money to litigate that?



I dident give nobody anything, I wave the production fee. I dont think you lose your rights if you wave the fee's, if I wrote a book and gave copies away that dosent mean I gave away the rights! if a photographer gives copies of his picture away on google that dosent mean he gave the rights away. I wrote a story and its in a visual format, there's rights involved, I would like to get feed back for people that know for sure not just guessing. Thanks!
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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 12:02 AM

I dident give nobody anything, I wave the production fee. I dont think you lose your rights if you wave the fee's, if I wrote a book and gave copies away that dosent mean I gave away the rights! if a photographer gives copies of his picture away on google that dosent mean he gave the rights away. I wrote a story and its in a visual format, there's rights involved, I would like to get feed back for people that know for sure not just guessing. Thanks!



You need to speak to a lawyer. All anyone can do online is suggest. Each circumstance is different and inboth your examples you give away your rights to the individual article. Eg I make a painting and give it to you now it's yours. Talk to a lawyer or work out a contract.
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#14 Jim Hyslop

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 10:17 PM

Copyright rests with the creator. Work for hire only exists when someone is actually employed in a conventional sense and even then it can be a bit of a legal mine field unless there is a really clear work for hire contract.

I don't think it's that much of a mine-field. The U.S. Copyright act seems pretty clear and straight forward to me:

"A 'work made for hire' is—
(1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment;
or
(2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, ..., if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire."

As you can see, employment is covered by definition (1). Definition (2) basically says what Bill Simone said - if there's a written contract saying it's a work made for hire, then it's a work made for hire. No contract? It's not "work made for hire."

Of course, that's a lay perspective on it. Lawyers will gladly argue either side of the question - for a price, naturally!

And, of course, this also assumes Alfredo is located in the U.S or Canada (Canada's copyright is very similar to the U.S.'s). If not, the entire discussion may be moot, except for the advice to see a lawyer :-)

--
Jim
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#15 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 03:36 AM

The physical process seems to vary a bit from country to country, but if you wrote the treatment the copyright for that treatment lies with you until you assign the rights to another party. This has to be in writing in some form or other eg a contract of employment that assigns the copyright your work. This would be one element (others being the composer, performer) within the copyright of whole music video.

Certainly it's something that needs to be agreed and best done in advance otherwise it becomes a legal mess. On freebies there tends to be a rather relaxed approach to these things. If this actually worth chasing with lawyers is another matter, chances are it's best regarded as a favour like many music videos.
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#16 JD Hartman

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 11:27 AM

If the label the artist is signed with decides to commission a music video of the same song with a similar treatment (derivative work), it's bound to be an expensive court battle, even if you are in the right. Your best hope, is that artist and the record label play fair and do the right thing.
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#17 alfredoparra

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 12:11 PM

I thank all of you for the feedback.
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#18 Will Earl

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 04:24 PM

Eg I make a painting and give it to you now it's yours.


But if you do a painting and give it to me (or even if I pay for it), your not necessary giving me the rights to make copies of that painting - unless there is a written agreement that your giving me those rights.

Here's an example from a few years ago, I couldn't find any recent info on it so no idea if it ever got tested in court.

http://blogs.law.har...wns-the-videos/
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#19 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 04:31 PM

That's quite true; but you could re-sell the individual work. It's a very interesting situation, and one which could probably be argued either way, not to mention a good reason to have a pre-existing contract. I'd still say the crux of it that you didn't get any money to begin with, so without having a contract saying you'll get money thenafter, you won't.
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#20 Rob Vogt

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:01 PM

You weren't expecting this band to make it big... you did them a favor by shooting the video, the fact that they now are on a major label doesn't involve you. You messed up by not having a written contract even though it was an unpaid gig. 1 of 3 things can happen- the major label signed the group and will not do anything for them and they will end up remaining unknown (most likely, no offense), 2 the label will make a music video that has nothing to do with yours(either the same or a different song), or your song will go viral in which case you should just be happy for that... I'd be very happy if I was the guy lucky enough to shoot Just Dance for Lady Gaga... Just be happy that its possible you could benefit from this either way.
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