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


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Old August 29th, 2011, 06:12 AM   #16
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Re: Local TV Station has My footage on Website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
Not sure how it is in Australia but in the US it is actually the opposite of what Allan said. Even if your friend paid for the video, if there is nothing in writing to state otherwise, as the "author" you own the copyright to the asset. In order for you to give up those rights you either have to be an employee where making the video would be considered a part of your job, you have an agreement in writing that says the work was done as a "work for hire", or you sign over the copyrights in another instrument.
In the UK (& I suspect in Australia too as their system derives from British jurisprudence) a contract does not have to be written down to be valid. Whether this was a "work for hire" (a definition only under US law I believe) or the copyright was assigned it is perfectly possible for a verbal agreement to suffice. It is of course a lot more difficult to prove what the actual agreement was which is why writing down details is always a good idea whether it is a signed contract or not. A brief note confirming the verbal agreement would be enough.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 07:01 AM   #17
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Garrett got it right, must be written contract to pass copyright

Statutory Definition
Section 101 of the copyright law defines a “work made for hire” as
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, as
a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional
text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties
expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall
be considered a work made for hire. For the purpose of the foregoing sentence,
a “supplementary work” is a work prepared for a publication as a secondary
adjunct to a work by another author for the purpose of introducing,
concluding, illustrating, explaining, revising, commenting upon, or assisting
in the use of the other work, such as forewords, afterwords, pictorial illustrations,
maps, charts, tables, editorial notes, musical arrangements, answer
material for tests, bibliographies, appendixes, and indexes; and an “instructional
text” is a literary, pictorial, or graphic work prepared for publication
and intended to be used in systematic instructional activities.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 07:42 AM   #18
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Re: Local TV Station has My footage on Website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
In the UK (& I suspect in Australia too as their system derives from British jurisprudence) a contract does not have to be written down to be valid. Whether this was a "work for hire" (a definition only under US law I believe) or the copyright was assigned it is perfectly possible for a verbal agreement to suffice. It is of course a lot more difficult to prove what the actual agreement was which is why writing down details is always a good idea whether it is a signed contract or not. A brief note confirming the verbal agreement would be enough.
In general what you say is true of verbal contracts in North America as well ... they're generally valid and binding. HOWEVER, there are certain statutory exceptions to that general rule and one of them is assignment of copyrights where the copyright statute explictly states that transfers MUST be made via a written instrument. So before you actually count on a verbal agreement being sufficient to transfer copyright, you ought to check the actual letter of the law in your country, it might be an exception to the rule there as well.

Just as an aside, another case where verbal contracts are not valid or binding is in purchase contracts for real property.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 08:41 AM   #19
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Re: Local TV Station has My footage on Website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Rumsey View Post
I call the TV station myself, they say that some of their footage is mixed in…i say no there isn't. He says it's customary that they take footage from someone who provides it to them and put together commercials, and that i need to get with my "friend".

So….any thoughts?
Again, getting back to the original post made by Don. Don, what are you looking to gain from the TV station? You may have an opportunity to establish a valuable working relationship with the station, provided you speak personally with the right person. Is the dollar value of the footage worth more than the potential value of a good relationship with the station?

They already liked your footage enough to use it. Maybe they'd like to work with you in the future. Maybe you'd like to work with them. Maybe it's a simple misunderstanding, someone at the station not doing their job right. It's quite likely someone in authority at the station would be quite concerned about the impression, that they've ripped off your footage. They are concerned about their reputation. Any business needs to be. If it were me, I'd see if I could turn the problem into an opportunity.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 11:02 AM   #20
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Re: Local TV Station has My footage on Website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
In general what you say is true of verbal contracts in North America as well ... they're generally valid and binding. HOWEVER, there are certain statutory exceptions to that general rule and one of them is assignment of copyrights where the copyright statute explictly states that transfers MUST be made via a written instrument. So before you actually count on a verbal agreement being sufficient to transfer copyright, you ought to check the actual letter of the law in your country, it might be an exception to the rule there as well.
From a quick Google it appears that only the total transfer of copyright needs a document signed by the rights owner although the assignment of rights to use the work totally & exclusively which has the same effect does not[/QUOTE]
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Old August 29th, 2011, 01:41 PM   #21
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Re: Local TV Station has My footage on Website

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
From a quick Google it appears that only the total transfer of copyright needs a document signed by the rights owner although the assignment of rights to use the work totally & exclusively which has the same effect does not
[/QUOTE]

This seems like a small, nitpicking point but the law is like that, you cannot grant copyrights through an assignment without it being through a written instrument. With regards to Copyright law assignment is essentially selling your rights and after execution of the agreement you no longer hold any copyrights to the work. You could actually cannot verbally grant exclusive right without it being done through a written instrument either. The statute allows granting non-exclusive rights without it being in writing but not exclusive rights.

Roger has a good point in trying to figure a way to make this a win win situation. However, with the way a lot of the local cable operators are now, they will give away the production of your "commercial" to get you to buy the airtime. At least for several of the local businesses I've talked to, the local cable company is willing to send out a one or two man crew to film your commercial. These are usually in-house interns and from the ones I've seen they turn out pretty bad. But, in today's economy businesses are trying to stretch their dollars as far as they can so they usually go with the free production offer. It's worth a try though.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 01:48 PM   #22
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Re: Local TV Station has My footage on Website

It was interesting to read the "mandatory deposit" rule of copyrighted material. I wonder if this is an often overlooked rule ???

Section 407 of the Copyright Act (title 17, U.S. Code) subjects all works published
in the United States to a mandatory deposit requirement. The law states
that the “owner of copyright or of the exclusive right of publication” in a work
published in the United States must deposit the required number of copies in
the Copyright Office within three months of the date of publication. Publication
is defined in copyright law as the “distribution of copies or phonorecords
of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease,
or lending.” (See “Published Electronic Works Available Only Online” on page 2
for details about interim regulations governing mandatory deposit of these works.)
The mandatory deposit provision ensures that the Copyright Office is entitled
to receive copies of every copyrightable work published in the United States.
Section 407 states that the deposits are to be made “available to the Library of
Congress for its collections or for exchange or transfer to any other library.”
Send deposit copies to the address below or, to satisfy the mandatory deposit
requirement by applying for copyright registration, see “Copyright Registration
to Satisfy Mandatory Deposit Requirements” on page 2.

Now that I got your attention :)

Exemptions from the Deposit Requirement

Because many deposits are not suitable for addition to the
Library of Congress collections or for use in national library
programs, the Copyright Office has issued regulations that
exempt certain categories of works entirely from the mandatory
deposit requirements. These regulations also reduce
the required number of copies or phonorecords from two
to one for certain other categories. Currently, works that are
published only electronically and that have no physical counterparts
are exempted from the deposit requirements until the
Copyright Office issues a demand for deposit. (See “Published
Electronic Works Available Only Online” on page 2.) For further
information about these regulations, see www.copyright.
gov/title37/202. Click on 202.19.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #23
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Re: Local TV Station has My footage on Website

First off….

Thank you everyone for your most valuable input thus far. I've learned much in this little thread I started.

As an update so far. I have tried contacting my friend about the situation by phone to no avail…however he will answer texts! Ewwww…. The short of it is that he has written to me that he will contact the station to have it taken down from "thier samples" section. Which as of a few minutes ago it's still there. I don't suspect that he is really going to make the call.

Otherwise I was thinking of this solution which will go with Rogers suggestion. Turn this negative into a positive. I will have some actual time to visit the station tomorrow and to speak with someone. We'll see where that goes.

The other option since realistically i can not afford an attorney, (and I don't believe one will be appointed to me), that i would link the URL to my Facebook pages, and website…. with a blurb of, "Thank you, (local cable tv station), for recognizing the quality film making capabilities of , (my company), in utilizing the original film made for, (friends bar), in one of their more exciting commercials. A special thanks to them as well for posting it at the top of their samples commercials!"

Or something like that...
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Old August 30th, 2011, 07:21 AM   #24
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Re: Local TV Station has My footage on Website

Good luck Don. In the end, you'll have to decide how much time and energy you're willing to devote to the matter. There's a general lack of respect for the rights of intellectual property creators, and a devaluing of the creations themselves in our culture. A lot of it is due to old fashioned, inadvertent ignorance. Then there is the problem of ignorance by choice in order to avoid responsibility for wrong behavior. Finally, there is feigned ignorance from someone who is really out to cheat you. It's not always easy to determine which form of ignorance is causing the problem, and therefore, which approach to take in dealing with the problem, or whether to just drop it.

I have a hard time dropping problems if I become angry. However, as I've gotten older, I've learned to not let anger drive my decision making. Business being the way it is, it's important to make wise decisions.
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