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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old October 14th, 2009, 01:56 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by William Smyth View Post
Frankly, they can make as many dubs as they want, if they pass them out, I look at it as free advertising
'as free advertising' I generally find this acceptable, because though you do not know where the copies are going to, there is a good chance that others see your work and you may get business. This personally happened to me, the client asked for an extra 4 copies free of charge, and since then have had two weddings booked through this one client.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 12:23 PM   #17
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There isn't a "one size fits all" position on this issue. There is a gray area between the promotional value of "unauthorized extended distribution" of your work versus encroachment on potential extended revenue. If one aspect of this is ignored for the sake of the other, your interests may not be best served. For example, brides have friends who also get married. One of the most compelling motivations to do something (film your wedding) is the fact that others you know did it. You DO want your bride to share the video production you did with her friends because there is a good chance that it will lead to more business for you. If you get too carried away with protecting your "intellectual property", you may be stroking your ego at the expense of your wallet.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 02:49 PM   #18
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Here's one way of looking at it - you're not creating a mass market item where the "bootlegs" have "value" as standalone product - they are very client specific. SO, with that assumption, secondary redistribution really is "advertising" if your discs are set up to showcase your business/service.

I know that in the "old days" photographers tightly controlled their "product" (even today the "studios" try to do this...), making you buy each and every reprint/copy at a highly escalated price. IMO that's a dying business model in the digital age, but then again print shops and typesetters aren't as common as they used to be, though I still see the former once in a while...

As an example, I think about the "school pix" package that got sent home - rediculously overpriced photo packages and the "pictures" were horrible at best... my wife and I (not to mention the grandparents... heck even the KIDS!) have cameras and have PLENTY of high quality shots, the "generic school pix" wouldn't even make it past a first cut... We can shoot and print better quality any time we want to, and I venture that most families now have access to some fairly decent equipment.

Of course the ability to USE that equipment to best result is another matter, but note that the "school pix" were horrible, so no points for style there! I don't expect the average camera user to produce great results, but the information is out there for anyone who wants to up the quality bar...

When shooting weddings, you're really selling the SERVICE of creating high quality product that recreates memories "forever", for a very limited audience (thus why Stillmotion's "service" is worth a whole lot more than "Uncle Bob's Weddin' Video and Quick Lube service...").

While the "finished product" may be a deliverable DVD disc (or any of a number of other digital "containers"), what the client is buying is an "expert" shooter/camera operator/editor and whatever "professional" equipment that service provider brings to the table. In the end it's the ones and zeros on the disc that "count", but it's how they GET THERE that really matters and justifies the cost of the service. To me, by the time I've shot the footage, edited it down, authored the disc and burned a master/printed final disc/artwork, it's no big deal to stuff half a dozen (or more) discs through the burner/printer if they ask - I'll charge a bit, but commensurate with the time/cost, and it's negligible in comparison the the rest of the "project".

You have to remember that digital reproduction costs are negligible if one has even a reasonably recent computer... and that digital ANYTHING is pretty easy to copy (if you don't know how, ask a first grader...).

This of course is the nightmare of the IP creator/artist, thus why I was impressed that the OP had the client at least ASK about respecting the copyright, but IMO there are times to protect your IP (mass market appeal of your "content" - where you MUST agressively protect your interests), and other times where you benefit from "re-distribution" and reasonable licensing terms (where a few copies given to friends might mean more "live, one-time event" bookings later, and THAT is your interest!).

Hope that analysis will help - YMMV!
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Old October 17th, 2009, 08:00 AM   #19
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Have you asked them what their intentions are? I suspect nothing special. I bet they just assumed that because their photographer is doing it, video should do it.
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Old October 19th, 2009, 10:32 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by William Smyth View Post
We have a standard clause in our contract that states that we retain the copyrights to all video that we shoot. We have one client that has asked that we sign over the copyright to them, and that they would allow us to use the video for promotional purposes.

My first reaction, was, why not sign in over? If it's the difference between getting the gig and not getting the gig, I'm leaning toward signing over the rights. In the short time I've had the business, it really hasn't been an issue and really, the only reason we want to retain the rights is for marketing purposes. Anyone have any bad experiences about signing over their copyrights to a client?
No No, and No. They can buy the rights, but they won't like the price tag.
What happens if I push the 'Red' button?
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Old October 20th, 2009, 08:56 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Many years ago a photographer working for a local authority in California was taking snaps of a new township development or similar.
In the US, copyright belongs to the author unless he is working for hire. In that case the copyright belongs to whomever hired him. In either case, whoever owns the copyright can transfer it to anyone else.

The way it seems to work in practice, if you create something as an employee while working for your employer, it belongs to the employer. That was probably what happened in his case.

This is why the terms should be spelled out in the contract. Otherwise, a lawyer for the couple getting married would argue you were hired by them, and the copyright is theirs. And your lawyer would argue you were not their employee because they did not deduct your taxes or pay your Social Security. But the copyright law only says "work for hire", it does not state you must be their employee. The best thing is to spell it out in your contract, so there can be no reasonable arguments.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 07:24 AM   #22
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"In the US, copyright belongs to the author unless he is working for hire. In that case the copyright belongs to whomever hired him. In either case, whoever owns the copyright can transfer it to anyone else."

This is only true, if you're a full time permanent employee. If you're hired as a freelancer or contractor, the photographer/videographer retains all rights - unless the rights are given away in a signed contract.
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