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Footage ownership

footage rights

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#1 Gaspar Guerra

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 10:35 AM

Hi all, I'm at a crossroads with a client and wanted to see if anyone can shed light in the situation:

I was hired as producer to shoot a series of events and interviews and turn them into a web series for a music brand. The client stopped the project when we had about 70% completed and refuses to pay, they do however want the footage of the events. We had worked together for a long time and I thought I could trust them, my bad, but anyway there was no contract. The closest to a written agreement was my production bid in which I stipulated I wasn't granting exclusivity over the raw footage and that the rights over said footage where shared, now they are offering a rather small amount of money for the footage and want exclusivity. Does anyone know of a valid legal argument I can wave in this specific case so that I'm either paid fairly or keep a "joint ownership" over said footage???

 

Thank you!


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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 10:46 AM

If they haven't paid you, then you own the footage. Simple as that. If they've paid you some of your agreed fee, then it becomes more complicated. What you definitely shouldn't do is hand over any footage until you have been paid, or else you'll lose all your leverage.


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#3 Mark Dunn

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 10:57 AM

Do you have a small claims court, assuming its not a large amount? I'd be considering that to enforce payment.

THat would be separate from what happens to the material.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 14 January 2015 - 10:59 AM.

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#4 John E Clark

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 12:17 PM

Hi all, I'm at a crossroads with a client and wanted to see if anyone can shed light in the situation:

I was hired as producer to shoot a series of events and interviews and turn them into a web series for a music brand. The client stopped the project when we had about 70% completed and refuses to pay, they do however want the footage of the events. We had worked together for a long time and I thought I could trust them, my bad, but anyway there was no contract. The closest to a written agreement was my production bid in which I stipulated I wasn't granting exclusivity over the raw footage and that the rights over said footage where shared, now they are offering a rather small amount of money for the footage and want exclusivity. Does anyone know of a valid legal argument I can wave in this specific case so that I'm either paid fairly or keep a "joint ownership" over said footage???

 

Thank you!

 

There are several rights involved... there are your rights as the photographer, which until those rights are transferred to the other party, still hold. So, someone may not use your images until you are paid.

 

There are the rights of the people who were interviewed, in the shot, etc. They maintain rights to their images until they sign releases.

 

There is the 'rights' of a client who has paid for work.

 

If the client has not paid... in full... then they have not paid for the use of the material. If they want to use the material... then they are required to pay...

 

In any case, this is the stuff that puts lawyers' children through Harvard, and I'd advise you to see legal advice in your jurisdiction, as 'works for hire', and 'when copyrights are transferred' is a nasty collection of laws and court rulings...

 

I'm not a lawyer, and apparent 'legal advice' is purely in the eyes of the reader, and further, I have never played a lawyer on TV or Motion Picture screens...


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