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Old July 16th, 2012, 01:01 AM   #1
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Rights to the footage? Need some advice please.

Hello,

A company hires me as an independent contractor to complete film work, with the understanding that for clients out of my area, I will hire another filmmaker to do the work. We've done a handful and everything went well. I've been using my release for the filmmakers I hire, so I have the rights to the footage.

Now, they want me to start using their release forms to send to the filmmakers, including the ones who have already done the work.

They are making the case that in order for them to have the rights they need the filmmaker to sign their agreement. However, Is there a way where I can have the filmmakers release the rights to me as I've been doing and then I release the rights to the company?

I don't mind them having the rights to the footage, I would just like to keep myself as the liaison between them and the filmmakers, and keep all the contacts to myself.

Thank you
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Old July 16th, 2012, 02:07 AM   #2
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Re: Rights to the footage? Need some advice please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Riggs View Post
I don't mind them having the rights to the footage, I would just like to keep myself as the liaison between them and the filmmakers, and keep all the contacts to myself.
Unless the filmmakers you contracted with want to remain anonymous in order to protect their artistic reputations, then I see no reason to not forward the paperwork.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 10:21 AM   #3
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Re: Rights to the footage? Need some advice please.

Joe, you should speak to an IP lawyer for clarification but the first thing to do is determine who has the rights to the footage to start with. If you hired the other filmmaker and their work falls under Work For Hire, then you hold the rights to the footage. That would mean that you have to provide the rights for someone else to use it. Even if the person or company that originally shot the footage were to sign your clients release, in this case it would mean nothing as they do not have the right to grant the use to anyone else. If you do not hold the copyright on the original footage then your client is correct. At this point they would have to obtain the rights from the person or company that hold the rights.

The company you hired could of course give you rights to use the footage and if worded correctly they could grant you the rights to further transfer rights for your client to use it. That might get complicated so it would be better in that case for them to transfer the copyrights to you. Then you would have full right to do whatever you wished with the footage. Review the copyright laws here U.S. Copyright Office and again, I would consult a copyright attorney (not just any attorney, you want someone who specializes in intellectual property law). It could very well be worth the $200 or so it would cost.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 11:22 AM   #4
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Re: Rights to the footage? Need some advice please.

Thank you very much for your feedback.

Eric,

As they amass a list of filmmakers from around the country, I feel my position becomes less valuable. What's to stop them from using somebody else instead of me, especially when I handing them a list of qualified individuals on a silver platter?

Garrett,

When I hire the filmmaker, I give them a work for hire agreement that gives me the rights to the footage. Now I could stop using mine and use the one they provide but I'd rather not for the reasons outlined above, as well as I also feel it complicates things.
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