Own my own raw footage?

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    • #83206

      Hi,  we've recently been in a situation where our production company did a recording of a meeting and interviews for a business client.  The understanding was that we would at least film the event, with possibly the opportunity to also edit this and possibly future work.  Unfortunately we didn't get a contract in place for this first event.  (I know, a real no-no) Well, when it was time for the client to review the footage, they claimed that they wanted to edit it themselves all along.  We know that wasn't the case because they were going to send other interviews to us to incorporate with ours.  So they were very upset when we kindly suggested that we would be glad to edit, however, if they had other obligations that would be fine and we would sell them the footage with full editing and use rights.  They have paid for the labor of shooting the event.  They do not want to pay for anything else.  Just want us to hand over the footage, saying we should have heard them when they said they wanted someone else to do it.  From here on the contract will be signed first, but what I'm wondering is, isn't it common for the videographer to sell edit and use rights to raw footage even after  filming was paid for?


      Thanks for any insight you can offer,





    • #211241

      You said, "The understanding was that we would at least film the event, with possibly the opportunity to also edit this and possibly future work." 


      If that were your testimony in court, there is a good chance you would lose. 


      The real problem is as you noted: you failed to get a signed contract specifically detailing your respective obligations. And, on top of that, you took on a client who knows how to dangle carrots without incurring obligation. The word "possibly" should never generate a work order.


      Since this lopsided relationship has gone south, it seems unlikely they will use your services again, and that may ultimately be a good thing. However, it still leaves you sitting on their footage and holding their money.


      If you fail to deliver that footage, the result could range from them speaking ill of you all the way to legal action.


      Perhaps you should consider delivering their unedited footage and putting out the smouldering flames.


      Then you can move on to acquiring more straightforward clients who will have no hesitation signing a detailed service agreement prior to the commencement of any work.



    • #211243

      Thanks for your comments.  We did give her the footage anyway.   We'll see how it turns out.  Appreciate your time.

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