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Old August 13th, 2012, 07:35 AM   #16
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Re: Can they sue you?

Hi Buba
As I said earlier it did not happened to me but to a friend videographer who uploaded their video without them knowing. He assumed that it will be OK by them. He never signed a contract with them but the moment they saw the video on You Tube they started threatening him that they are going to sue him. That is why I would like to know if they have grounds to sue him or not.

Stelios
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Old August 13th, 2012, 09:35 AM   #17
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Re: Can they sue you?

To my limited and non-lawyerly understanding, there are at least two questions at play here:

1. CAN they sue? That's the easy one and the answer is almost certainly yes. It is often said that anyone can sue anyone at any time for anything. All that is needed is the desire to do so, a willing attorney (and maybe not even that for small claims or with a knowledgeable enough complainant), and a judge unwilling to declare a case frivolous a priori. Not related to video, but there's a guy that goes around my local community (allegedly) provoking incidents with people so he can sue them. At last word, he had at least a couple dozen cases pending. So hey, short answer is yes.

2. Might they prevail? Probably not on copyright, since as already pointed out, the shooter does normally hold copyright. However, there can be other issues like commercial appropriation of likeness, or defamation if it is a bloopers type of clip that clearly is intended to embarrass them. If they show real harm from the unauthorized publication, they could potentially win a judgment.

Written contracts that address common issues like advertising use of footage, rights and limitations, and have arbitration clauses are a good thing.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #18
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Re: Can they sue you?

anyone can sue anybody for any reason, but you never can tell if it'll be successful, not a single lawyer will guarantee you positive outcome for any case, especially in case like this one;
but as I said, for potential clients one pissed off bride can outweigh all wonderful online samples,
last year, my friend (one of the best wedding photographers in Toronto) lost 25% of his business because of one very unhappy couple.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 01:34 PM   #19
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Re: Can they sue you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
Work for hire in the USA with independent contractors can only be established with a contract. You are not in the employment of the B&G and you can not be assumed to be in a work for hire situation.
Agreed. Work for hire is established with a contract. I generally work this way: I hand the DVD master over to a duplicating house and the customer directly purchases as many disks as they like from the duplicating house. The advantage is that I get paid only for my services and don't have to worry about sales tax. If you sell a DVD package, then you are essentially contracting with yourself to do the shooting needed for producing a DVD product. In this case, the couple pays sales tax on the entire package, and you retain the copyright by default. To avoid misunderstanding I suspect most videographers explicitly specify the details of who owns the copyright.

The current situation might be clarified by the following questions: Did you charge sales tax for the whole DVD package? Did you place a copyright notice on the DVD?

In either case, broadcasting a video on YouTube is quite different than private viewing with a prospective client. Well packaged promotional materials and a professional website are important. I think you should get a release from the bride and groom before uploading their video. Write a letter wishing them well and explaining that you would like to use their wedding trailer on your website because how great it turned out. Don't mention YouTube because you may want to use a different content delivery service later. Follow up with a call and get something in writing.

Last edited by Eric Olson; August 14th, 2012 at 01:10 AM.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 04:23 PM   #20
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Re: Can they sue you?

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Originally Posted by Eric Olson View Post
...Write a letter wishing them well and explaining that you would like to use their wedding trailer on your website because how great it turned out. Don't mention YouTube because you may want to use a different content delivery service later. Follow up with a call and get something in writing.
Eric this is a very good and clever idea. to get this though in writing it might be difficult here.

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Old August 13th, 2012, 05:07 PM   #21
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Re: Can they sue you?

Quick check of the US copyright law (link on Wikipedia under work for hire) says that specific criteria make an agreement a work for hire. Mainly that there must be a contract, it must say it is a work for hire and it must be signed by both parties. If any of those are missing, it's not a work for hire and the author retains the copyright.

Can they sue? As said, yes they can regardless of what was agreed upon. I always keep copyrights and any agreement says I can do whatever I want, whenever I want with my works. I don't actually need to say that since it's mine but at least I'm being up front.

Copyrights are a really big deal as there's so many different types of media and uses not dreamed about 20 years ago. The copyright holder holds all the chips but I'd still write as much as I can into an agreement so that there's no bad feelings.

That said, in the end, if they asked me to take something down and I didn't have a big stake in it then I'd take it down. Cheers
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Old August 14th, 2012, 11:13 AM   #22
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Re: Can they sue you?

Stelios is in CYPRUS, so I'm going to suspect that international and EU/local copyright laws are likely to apply, and probably little or nothing like US law. Legal principles tend to vary significantly by location...

In the US, anyone CAN sue, it's pretty fast and loose, and lots of "underemployed" attorneys out there...

As a practical matter, it appears that the local customs in Cyprus are a little more relaxed, and I'd suspect a few appologies for the misunderstanding and a take down of the video in question, and the matter would be over... as it should be in a social situation that isn't based on lawsuits at the drop of a hat. People make mistakes... in this case, the old saw "easier to ask forgiveness than permission" seems to apply... and maybe permission would have been BETTER?

Maybe the clients "can" sue, but whether there's any grounds for recovery or anything beyond "threats" is another matter. As pointed out, should the dispute "go public", there could be FAR more serious consequences, so better to "smooth things over" ASAP, and move on.

FWIW, I'm jealous that Stelios lives in a place where they do things the "old fachioned" way and don't "need" detailed contracts (that probably won't hold up, or will have to be defended to the last comma, once attorneys get involved anyway) - handshakes used to be good, I miss those days...
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Old August 14th, 2012, 03:27 PM   #23
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Re: Can they sue you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Stelios is in CYPRUS, so I'm going to suspect that international and EU/local copyright laws are likely to apply, and probably little or nothing like US law. Legal principles tend to vary significantly by location...

In the US, anyone CAN sue, it's pretty fast and loose, and lots of "underemployed" attorneys out there...

As a practical matter, it appears that the local customs in Cyprus are a little more relaxed, and I'd suspect a few appologies for the misunderstanding and a take down of the video in question, and the matter would be over... as it should be in a social situation that isn't based on lawsuits at the drop of a hat. People make mistakes... in this case, the old saw "easier to ask forgiveness than permission" seems to apply... and maybe permission would have been BETTER?

Maybe the clients "can" sue, but whether there's any grounds for recovery or anything beyond "threats" is another matter. As pointed out, should the dispute "go public", there could be FAR more serious consequences, so better to "smooth things over" ASAP, and move on.

FWIW, I'm jealous that Stelios lives in a place where they do things the "old fachioned" way and don't "need" detailed contracts (that probably won't hold up, or will have to be defended to the last comma, once attorneys get involved anyway) - handshakes used to be good, I miss those days...

Dave ABSOLUTELY agree with you in all what you have said.

Stelios
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