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Old December 21st, 2008, 07:36 AM   #1
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Client requests "all rights"

I got a strange request from a client. They are very well informed and I have the feeling that they must work in the video/television industry. So, they email us with a long list of requests - all very doable, so no problem. Then the last item, they request copies of all the raw footage - and all rights. I don't really have any problem giving the copies of the raw.

But, signing over "all rights" makes wonder. Could this lead to any problems down the road. Normally, we really don't hear much from the clients much after delivery, unless they're sending us a referral. I proposed a compromise, that I would give them the rights to do anything they want with the video, but I'd like to keep rights to the footage for promotional purposes. Anyone see potential land mines here liability-wise, or am I just over thinking the whole thing?
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Old December 21st, 2008, 08:21 AM   #2
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I suspect you are right in that they are more savvy to the production process. As to why they would want with 'all the rights' to their own wedding video - One could speculate. Perhaps the intend to sell it to a reality show. Perhaps they intend to use the footage as examples of their own production capabilities. Perhaps they intend to use the footage inside another production of some sort, either fictional narrative or documentary style - who knows.

If you are okay with releasing to them the right to use your work in this way, then sure - give it to them. If you want to retain the right to use the footage in promotional materials, then make sure you define promotional in a broad context.

Ask for it, and then see how they respond.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 08:26 AM   #3
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if they want the rights, sell them the rights.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 09:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by William Smyth View Post
but I'd like to keep rights to the footage for promotional purposes.
If you sell them all the rights, that means that you will have none of the rights and you will not be able to use any of the footage for anything else. I personally don't like this so if someone wanted this from me, it would cost them a lot of money. But that's just me.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 10:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by William Smyth View Post
I got a strange request from a client. They are very well informed and I have the feeling that they must work in the video/television industry. So, they email us with a long list of requests - all very doable, so no problem. Then the last item, they request copies of all the raw footage - and all rights. I don't really have any problem giving the copies of the raw.

But, signing over "all rights" makes wonder. Could this lead to any problems down the road. Normally, we really don't hear much from the clients much after delivery, unless they're sending us a referral. I proposed a compromise, that I would give them the rights to do anything they want with the video, but I'd like to keep rights to the footage for promotional purposes. Anyone see potential land mines here liability-wise, or am I just over thinking the whole thing?
I suspect that the reason they want you to transfer all rights is not so much that they want to re-purpose the footage themselves but rather they want to prevent you from doing exactly what you said you'd like to retain the right to do - use the video in your own advertising and promotional material (or posting it on YouTube or selling it to the National Enquirer). If one or both of them were in the industry, as you say you suspect they might be, and especially if they're talent who makes their income from use of their likenesses in advertising, that might make perfect sense.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 10:30 AM   #6
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I suspect Steve has nailed it on this one.

With the corporate work I do I always state that I assign "Company X" the rights but I put a clause in the contract which specifies that my company "retains the right to use all or part of the material for publicity (e.g. on our own website) to showcase the high standard of work".... etc.

Sure, corporate and wedding (I assume its a wedding because of the section it's in - but the principle is the same whatever it is anyway) are very different markets but, as the guy above says (Giroud), if they want to exclude you from any further "use" then the've got to pay for that right in some way!
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Old December 21st, 2008, 11:42 AM   #7
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Hi,

I would certainly sell it to them for a reasonable fee. They probably want to make copies and not fee bad about it. Good on them.

Unless it's an all-nude affair, has some extraordinary celebrity attached, or there is big goof or news-making event that happens, nothing will be marketable of it to sell. The hullabaloo that folks make on their work gaining them profit is a lot of hot wind for the most part. For many functions, it is a profit center, but a wedding video the profit can easily be recouped in adding a small amount to the cost to the whole amount.

You won't be able to use the content without permission, anyway, so that's off the table.

So, why not sell the rights?

Mike
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Old December 21st, 2008, 12:05 PM   #8
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Maybe your client is someone very famous, and they don't want you putting up their wedding online.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 12:48 PM   #9
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I don't do weddings, but in the entertainment area where I work, I get roughly a 50/50 on those that want all rights and those that don't - and I set my fees to take this into account.

Most people who don't know, never give copyright any thought. These people obviously do understand it, and want to buy from you a package of edited material, and the original tapes - leaving you with nothing, but the fee. If you can agree a price, it's not really a big issue unless you really wanted the footage for some other purpose, when the people who are paying you are just getting a dvd and no rights at all for their money?
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Old December 21st, 2008, 02:43 PM   #10
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I think you've already got the "answer", but you should always have a clause in the contract allowing you to use the footage shot for personal/professional "promotion", broadly defined.

If someone understands copyright and wants the right to make their own DVD copies, they probably want to avoid the hassle of coming back to you or having to pay a "silly" fee for DVD copies... I'd have no problem supplying the origninal DVD artwork and a master, but I'd be concerned with the "QC", and would rather give them a great deal on however many copies they thought they might ever need in an up front package - I don't really care whether I burn 5, 10, or 100 - if I'm "in the groove" doing a project, it's just getting fair compensation for disk swapping and materials...

IMO wedding video doesn't have a big "back end" or residual potential (one of the crappy aspects of the "biz"), so why would you really care about anything other than promo rights?? Heck with the divorce rate nowdays, you're probably trying to get the product out before it's obsoleted by a Court filing anyway <wink>!

This does raise the aspect or whether we get paid anywhere near enough for a "one shot" custom product though - what good is ownership or rights to footage that you won't ever have a market for anyway - you have to make it on the "front end" in this biz, or not at all, not like your gonna be getting points on the blockbuster release of "Ben and Jens Wedding" (Ben Smith and Jen Jones of course!).
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 09:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
I think you've already got the "answer", but you should always have a clause in the contract allowing you to use the footage shot for personal/professional "promotion", broadly defined.
If you wanted to license the footage to a national show, then chances are, the national show will have its own waiver of likeness that they want signed by the people appearing on screen, so having your own waiver is just for your ability to use the footage in promos, trailers, web site clips, etc.

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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
IMO wedding video doesn't have a big "back end" or residual potential (one of the crappy aspects of the "biz"), so why would you really care about anything other than promo rights?? Heck with the divorce rate nowdays, you're probably trying to get the product out before it's obsoleted by a Court filing anyway <wink>!
I actually just licensed one of my wedding bloopers to NBC for one of their outrageous home video clip shows. I was pretty happy with the whole process. I will get a few hundred, and the couple will get a few hundred. I did have to track the couple down and pass on to them a bunch of waivers & W9s from NBC, but it will be worth the hassle to get a few hundred USD, and to see my clip on national TV! The couple were excited to have a chance to be on TV as well, heck they suggested I get their clip on AFV, or a similar show back 3 years ago when I gave them the finished product.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 10:20 AM   #12
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Actually, I really don't mind giving the client the rights to do whatever they want with the video. My guess is he either works in the industry or is a high-end amateur and may to have the opportunity down the road to re-cut the footage. Who knows may it will someday become part of some larger family video or whatever. I'm cool with that. My concern is that this particular client is interested in one of our largest packages with all the bells and whistles. I just to be able to use whatever I like on our website, in our demo and to send to potential new clients.

So, I'm thinking of adding a rider to our contract giving them the rights to our video, but retaining rights so we can use our footage for "promotional" purposes.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 10:44 AM   #13
 
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I would have no problem giving them all rights. Provided they are willing to pay for that level. Hollywood purchases still photos from photographers to use as "props" in a movie. They always want "all rights" and are willing to pay for that level of ownership. Agreeing to anything less than that, sets a precedent for all the indies out there trying to make a living. Don't give in.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 11:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by William Smyth View Post
Actually, I really don't mind giving the client the rights to do whatever they want with the video. My guess is he either works in the industry or is a high-end amateur and may to have the opportunity down the road to re-cut the footage. Who knows may it will someday become part of some larger family video or whatever. I'm cool with that. My concern is that this particular client is interested in one of our largest packages with all the bells and whistles. I just to be able to use whatever I like on our website, in our demo and to send to potential new clients.

So, I'm thinking of adding a rider to our contract giving them the rights to our video, but retaining rights so we can use our footage for "promotional" purposes.
I might include in your release a paragraph that expressly prohibits use of the footage as if it were the client's own footage. Essentially so they know they cannot turn around and say "look at the great footage _I_ shot" when in fact it was your own footage.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 02:28 PM   #15
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If you want to retain the right to use the footage in promotional materials, then make sure you define promotional in a broad context.

Ask for it, and then see how they respond.
You are talking about a model release.

Most people don't include the model release as part of the sales contract as that is a separate legal issue related to FA rights.

The client has a privacy right which is related to "right of publicity" aspects, the right to license the use of images/video or refuse to let someone use them for commercial purposes is all part of the model release and has nothing to do with copyright.

Essentially, a videographers copyright protection of the works has nothing to do with your "promotional" (actually commercial use to derive revenue) use of the works. You can't use the models images in a commercial works without the models express consent in the release.
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