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Taking Care of Business
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Old January 17th, 2013, 07:35 AM   #1
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66% of bill paid...

Customers....urgh.

I did some filming for an events organiser. 6 videos of bands playing. She has been having money problems and I had to chase her up numerous times for the bill. She has now paid 66% of the bill and has yet to respond to my request to pay the remainder. I have not released the footage to her yet. She has nothing.

I dont have anything in my t&c that is really relevant to this situation. Where do I stand? What can I do?
If she is not forthcoming with the money I wonder if I am within my right to sell the videos to the bands or if I just write it off and release the videos myself (not using her logos, not promoting her etc). Although my obvious concern is that any of this actions will require me to refund her the 66%.


Any advice?
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Old January 17th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #2
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

Give her 66% of the videos, and move on for now. Don't do anything at all with the remaining videos to avoid further conflicts. She may end up paying for the remainder anyway.
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Old January 17th, 2013, 10:47 PM   #3
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

How charitable are you feeling, and how much are the videos worth? Perhaps you just give them to her on a good-faith promise of future repayment of the debt. Repaying a favor is a lot more important in most people's minds compared to paying a bill...

66% is better than nothing after all, and rather than destroying a relationship by going behind someone's back, simply require advance payment if you do any more gigs for her. I'm sure she understands as well as you do the situation - I doubt she enjoys the feeling.
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Old January 17th, 2013, 11:19 PM   #4
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Forsdyke View Post
Customers....urgh.

I did some filming for an events organiser. 6 videos of bands playing. She has been having money problems and I had to chase her up numerous times for the bill. She has now paid 66% of the bill and has yet to respond to my request to pay the remainder. I have not released the footage to her yet. She has nothing.

I dont have anything in my t&c that is really relevant to this situation. Where do I stand? What can I do?
If she is not forthcoming with the money I wonder if I am within my right to sell the videos to the bands or if I just write it off and release the videos myself (not using her logos, not promoting her etc). Although my obvious concern is that any of this actions will require me to refund her the 66%.


Any advice?
If you've accepted payment, then the video is hers, isn't it? Unless your T&C has bifurcated payment for work done vs payment for 'deliverables'.

If you're certain she is having money problems, there's nothing you can do to make her pay up. If she has paid 66% without having received anything, it might be a good idea to give her some space. Move on.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 03:13 AM   #5
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

Cheers guys, ill give it another week.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 09:21 AM   #6
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

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Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
If you've accepted payment, then the video is hers, isn't it? Unless your T&C has bifurcated payment for work done vs payment for 'deliverables'.

....
It's not that simple. Who "owns" the video, ie, who owns the copyright to the footage, depends on the employment status of the videographer. By default copyright of a work belongs the person creating it and in this case that would be Shaun. If Shaun is a de facto employee of the client (say, a staff cameraman working for a TV station) acting within the scope of his regular employment, then the employer is the owner of the copyright. But if - as is usually the case - he is an independent contractor who has been commissioned by a client to create the videos, then he owns the copyright unless there has been a written contract signed with the client explicitly stating that the commissioned work is a "work made for hire" and transferring copyright in writing over to the client. Absent a work-for-hire contract, what the client receives for the payment of the fee is a license to use the resulting video, not ownership of the video itself. Mere payment of the videographer's fee does not by itself automatically transfer ownership of the copyright to the client and copyright transfers MUST be in writing. Of course Shaun might not be able to use the videos for much either since he can't publish them or show them publicly without obtaining releases from everyone appearing in them and clearing copyright licensing on all the music performed.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 12:35 PM   #7
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

Try to regain contact with the client. Stay calm. It sounds like you at least recovered your expenses.

Maybe try to establish a payment plan i.e. $xxx.xx every two weeks, or month. Also consider offering a "discount" if paid in full by such and such date.

We've all had money problems at some point, so be patient. Keep us posted.

Jonathan
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Old January 21st, 2013, 02:12 PM   #8
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

Thanks for the additional replies.

Jonathan, I had already established a payment plan with her after she wasn't originally forthcoming. This involved having to chase her up several times.

Steve, I have it in my t&c that once the videos have been uploaded then the copyright is transferred to the client. That obviously doesnt apply to her yet although 1, I could definitely make that clause more concise and 2, i'm questioning if that is even wise/necessary.


For now I'm giving her a little distance although lets say she doesnt return my calls/email, then what happens? I assume I could send another email saying she will forfeit the footage in X weeks if payment isnt received and then I could put the videos out myself?

The videos are live performances (in a a student bar) with her event company logo at the start and end. I would obviously want to take those out.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 03:52 AM   #9
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

You can give her a deadline. If you hold copyright, as Steve has said above, then tell her you're going to exercise it after the deadline. If she wants it, she'll chase you. If she doesn't chase you, you have your answer.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 10:59 AM   #10
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

I'm not so sure you can just "give someone a deadline." This should all be written into the contract. You can't change the terms of the contract. A contract is agreed to by both parties. You can certainly renegotiate but both parties must agree.

In my contracts I specify that rights are transferred or license granted only after final payment is received.
You may also include when that payment is due whether it's a hard date or a set stage such as client approval or one revision. You may even put in the contract that revisions must be received within x days after edit is submitted for approval You can state payment terms such as net 5 or net 30 days, etc.

I have had contracts where the set stage had no time. Final payment was to be received with the submission for revisions. That took nearly 18 months for one client. Like you I had received two thirds payment to that point.

In your case there's a potentially interested 3rd party (the bands) which gives you and her an opportunity to renegotiate. If you feel the bands want the material released it's possible they may be willing to pay the final 1/3. They may be willing to do that if they are also granted the right to use the master. This may be the point of negotiation. Of course they may just be nice blokes and pay the final 1/3 because they feel she'll do the right thing and distribute the project.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 11:12 AM   #11
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
If you feel the bands want the material released it's possible they may be willing to pay the final 1/3. They may be willing to do that if they are also granted the right to use the master.
Your experience with bands must be different than mine... and I'm a retired (or just tired, one or the other...) musician.

Most musicians in the markets I have worked in are absolutely unwilling to cough up money for these sorts of things for any number of "reasons":

- it's MY intellectual property (the music)... why should I have to pay for it

- our contract included release of these videos as part of our compensation (ooooh... musicians with business acumen... I like these ones! I used to be one...)

- we could have had our girlfriends come down and shoot it better on their iPhones for free (yes... because everything your fans do is OBVIOUSLY better than working with pros...)

- hey man, when we make it big we'll remember you!

<tongue only SOMEWHAT planted in cheek>

I've been on both sides of the above discussion, including in my own band. I used to record everything we did live as a learning experience. The band wanted to release some of the material, I said no... it was for self-examination of our live show and the guitar player FREAKED OUT and said that I was holding HIS artistic creation hostage and this was obviously extortion... musicians are an interesting breed... I know... I am/was one.

Good luck to the OP.

If this was MY scenario? I'd back the media up on a hard drive and put it up on a shelf until the original contractee comes back with money. No alternate avenues of release, no pressure to come forward...

That isn't LEGAL advice, just what I would do.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 12:05 PM   #12
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

I guess my experience is radically different than yours Shaun. I've shot a lot of bands, hired specifically to do such and always paid because they hired me to begin with.

In this case someone else did the hiring and the bands may or may not care if the material is ever released. They might though, so it's worth asking especially when the event organizer already paid 2/3 the total cost. If the bands don't want it, so be it, but I wouldn't assume that. Ask and it might resolve the problem.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 12:20 PM   #13
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

Somewhat on topic...

Craig (in all seriousness... I'm not baiting or trolling... I'm curious...), is Craigslist active in your area? Are there REAMS of requests for videographers to come shoot for free or for credit for performing arts gigs there?

It's interesting to get a feel for how other markets work and the perception of our value as working pros.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 12:45 PM   #14
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

craigslist has plenty of "shoot my band for credit" ads in my area. I don't think either a professional videographer or a seriously ambitious band pursues business that way. There are bands who want professional work because they want quality marketing material. If I were hired by a third party to shoot an event I wouldn't assume the bands have a "craigslist" disposition. They may, they may not. It's easy enough to find out.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 01:21 PM   #15
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Re: 66% of bill paid...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
I don't think either a professional videographer or a seriously ambitious band pursues business that way.
Sadly, they do here. I'm not being facetious either. A VERY small percentage WILL go the full pro route, but at that point they are pretty much in the full A&R system. There are a large number of bands with full management companies that are being shot by folks found on Craigslist THE DAY OF the video shoot. Seriously.

Perhaps my markets are what have conditioned my responses herein. Hence my interest in your response.
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