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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old April 11th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #16
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I am going to disagree a little with those who suggest hiring professional consultants (accountant and attorney) to handle this. If you are not comfortable reading and understanding information you might have no choice but to pay someone else. But there's a great deal of information available online from the IRS, etc. and common sense goes a long way in legal agreements.

In general reselling someone else's professional service is a bit challenging I think, but it can be done. The key is that both parties have to provide something really valuable to the process. Otherwise someone is getting paid for not really doing anything, and eventually the other person figures that out.

Marketing and sales is expensive however, and if you are doing that for him in a way that really helps bring in jobs he couldn't bring in on his own, you should have a legitimate situation where you both have value to offer.

I agree with your leaning about bringing him on as an employee not a contractor. There's some extra paperwork up front, but it's often more of the high road to take as far as taxes and liabilities go.

Mark
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Old April 11th, 2008, 02:01 PM   #17
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My understanding is that under U.S. copyright law all rights to any creative work belong to the creator unless they are created under a "work-for-hire" or "work-made-for-hire" agreement. Such an agreement must be explicit. Employing someone to do creative work does not automatically create a work for hire agreement.

This is a mind-numbingly complex area of the copyright law and you are best getting professional advice for your situation because it is complex and source of many, many potential problems

Here's a interesting video as the doctrine applies to music:

http://www.artistshousemusic.org/vid...ire+publishing
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Old April 11th, 2008, 03:38 PM   #18
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Mark -
The reason for recommending professional guidance is simple - there's at least as much MIS-information out there as accurate info. Even "professional" advice might vary quite a bit...

I agree that doing one's own "due diligence" is the best thing, but sometimes it's a time saver to let an expert step up to the plate. Serious research takes serious time.

The areas that the OP was addressing could result in endless litigation, bankruptcy or fairly severe administrative action by governmental entities if done wrong...

"Professional" advice is far cheaper in comparison, even if it doesn't 100%guarantee you're safe. Combine it with your own research and asking lots of questions and you're less likely to lose your business to a stupid mis-step.

Re-read the original post, and you'll see why professional advice was suggested - OP was a LONG way from understanding the issues.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 04:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wiley View Post
My understanding is that under U.S. copyright law all rights to any creative work belong to the creator unless they are created under a "work-for-hire" or "work-made-for-hire" agreement. Such an agreement must be explicit. Employing someone to do creative work does not automatically create a work for hire agreement.

As I understand it you are correct. "Work for hire" only applys automatically if the person doing the creative work is a regular "W2" employee and acting within the scope of their regular job duties. A news cameraman working full-time for a TV network does not own the copyright to his footage - his employer does - because that is job and he is paid a wage or salary subject to withholding, operates under the direct supervision and control of the employer, is subject to review, and all the other stuff that distinguishes an employee from a contractor. But a freelancer who is hired as a contractor on a story-by-story basis is NOT an employee in the same sense of the word and he owns the copyright to his footage unless it is agreed otherwise in writing and as I understand it the term 'work-for-hire' must be explicitly used. That's why most contracts hiring such a freelancer would, or should, contain a provision that the resulting work does, in fact, constitute a 'work-for-hire' with copyright assigned to the person doing the hiring.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 03:40 AM   #20
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to amend my earlier post:

Copyright normally resides with the creator or a work - photos, video, written pieces etc.

If someone pays you to go out and shoot a specific piece for them, copyright is often with them, but should be clarified in writing - as Peter and Steve have stated.

In the days of film - for stills photos at least - I was occasionally asked to photograph a subject, and then hand over the entire unprocessed film to the commissioner - I didn't even see the photos.

I worked briefly with a freelance camera-man who filmed some wonderful stuff of otters and other animals near where I live, and he had to hand over the whole lot to the company who had commissioned it - if it hadn't been digital, he wouldn't have seen the results for himself either. He wasn't allowed to copy any of it to watch later for his own pleasure.

Obviously these situations remove any risk that the results of the commissions could be used commercially by anyone without the permission of the person that commissioned them.
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