Client wants to give another business authorship of video

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    • #96942
      AvatarSternicov
      Member

      Hi all, 

      Got a slightly messy legal situation here. I have a client who I produce product promo videos for. Under their contract, it states that the work is produced for them (and not for a third party). It additionally grants them all rights included in final product ownership and distribution, however it does not grant them the original copyright ownership of the work, the rights to make changes on behalf of others, or the rights to the footage used in any form outside of the final product of each video.

      This client would like to now give these videos to one of their distrubutors, which is fine. Promos are pretty useless unless they can be shared! The kicker is that they want to grant their distributor ownership rights to the videos, including allowing the distributor to claim authorship, and allowing them to place the distributor's media channel logo on the video at the start and end, with no further attribution to my company or theirs.

      Where this gets particularly messy, is that many of the videos include footage provided under agreements or paid licensing for the specific and exclusive use of the original client. I'm aware that at least one of these contributors would not agree to their footage being claimed by this particular distributor. 

      After a lengthy conversation about why they cannot do this, the client then went ahead and gave the videos to the distributor anyway, allowing them to claim the videos as their own, and they were made public. I then wrote to them, and after not hearing back for 24 hours, wrote to the distributor explaining that they do not have the rights to claim the footage featured in these videos, offering them several, mainly free, solutions for how they can use the videos without making claims of authorship, but asking that they remove them from their site until we had the legal issues figured out. They complied, but (rightfully) sent my email on to my client to verify with them. My client then emailed my business threatening to sue us for breaching our contract, and trying to extort their distributor (because one of the options I gave the distributor was a paid release to use the videos as their own – which was mainly to cover any third party licensing which would need to be paid again for a second party's use, or any work on my part to incorporate their branding).   

      I'd be very interested to know what my options are here. 

      Thanks

    • #278393
      AvatarJackWolcott
      Participant

      This is more than "slightly" messy. Get a lawer to resolve this. I doubt that you can do it yourself. Do not put anything more in writing — not letter, no text, etc., until your lawyer has looked at the contract.  The key to it all is what's in your contract and it sounds like it will require a professional to establish the limits of that.

      Good luck

    • #278395
      AvatarSternicov
      Member

      Thanks, I am seeking legal advice on this. 

      Any other advice out there? Could always use the knowledge of others in the business to hear their perpsectives.

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