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Old November 8th, 2008, 11:21 PM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 125
Defending Videographer's Rights in Court

Hello everyone!

Over the past three months I completed three 2-minute videos for a
startup DJ company, who never paid a penny for my work, promising me
that when they will start getting paid for their gigs in night clubs
then they will pay me for each completed video.

Within these three months I shot 8 events for them, each one requiring
at least 4 hours of shooting.

They started pressuring me lately to deliver four more completed
videos within a week or so. Since they never paid for any of my work I
told them if they wanted speed they would have to pay $600 per
completed video with a week turnaround from the shoot day. This
escalated into a dispute and now I no longer want to deal with them.

I asked them kindly to remove these three videos I created from their
web site, myspace, youtube, and vimeo. They are refusing to do so
claiming that these videos belong to them. I offered to let them keep
them online if they would pay $300 per each video so we part our ways
peacefully. And now we are having a dispute over who owns these videos.

All of the agreements we made among us were verbal and never in writing.

On Monday I want to file a lawsuit in small claims court to have these
videos pulled of the web or for them to pay up. Has anyone in our
vlogging community ever dealt with a similar situation? If I were to
contact Youtube/Vimeo for video removal request, what do they ask for
to proof video ownership?

Should I also file for reimbursement for the time I spent shooting
these 8 events? Basically it comes to 32 hours of very hard work
running around in the clubs shooting small clips. I offered them these
source video files at $100 per each event, so they could use them by
hiring another editor, they refused. So I will gladly have to purge
them all. After the court, of course.

Also, there's no copyright mention in the end credits of all three
videos, the last two list my name as camera/editing. They're claiming
that their glamorous company provided exposure for my video skills. I
never wanted exposure by shooting and editing their videos. I even did
not put my name in the end credits of the first video, which proofs
that. They approached me for help, not the other way around.

This DJ company never invested into any of the video production
(props, special video preparation or anything). They just had a stable
(yes, stable, :) that's what it says in their recent press release) of
girls DJ for them, without paying them either by the way.

I have seen many of their graphic designers and photographers come and
go, which slowly started making sense to me that they just want to
parasite off other people's energy and skills.

I would truly appreciate any input you may have regarding this
situation or content ownership before I head out to court to fight for
my rights.

Thanks everyone!

Renat Zarbailov of
Renat Zarbailov is offline  
Old November 8th, 2008, 11:47 PM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 27,366
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Sorry, no one here on this forum is in any position to offer legal advice.

You really need to consult with an attorney *immediately* -- Good Luck,

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