The police gave my video to the news

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    • #50992

      yesterday morning I filmed on my digital video camera a woman stealing mail in tulsa oklahoma.  I began to follow the suspect and informed the police with my cell.  As the police arrived I told the police what I´ve seen and that I also filmed the crime.  I gave them a copy of the video for evidence and a statement of what I seen and did.  Tonight on the 6o´clock news on three channels  I seen my videos being played.  This was done without my consent. No written or oral video rights release  was made from myself.  My question on any experts out there is: Is this legal?  Don´t I have to give consent.  What about payment from the news for usage?


      Thanks for any help at all.

    • #204340
      Luis Maymi Lopez

      NOTE: I'm not a lawyer or legal advisor, the reply below is from my personal experience. You should not take this for granted and always consult a legitimate lawyer in this type of cases.


      From my understanding the police can use your video for evidence (such as in court), but to show it on TV without your consent could be a copyright infrigment. When you record a video it should automatically be copyright to it's creator and you as the creator decide what to do with it. What can you do in this case? Take the original raw footage (the one in the camera, tape or card) and go to the tv station with it. Explain the situation to them and they may give you some royalties. Like I mentioned before you should consult a lawyer to get some real legal advise in this case. 

    • #204341
      Jennifer O’Rourke

      Hi, UC Daman – I'm not an attorney, but I've covered this subject a lot and every state differs and within those states every county or region might have their own rules, but I do believe that if you gave them the footage it was theirs to do as they wish, unless you specifically requested otherwise.


      You have rights that are protected under the First Amendment, but if you voluntarily gave up the footage without any agreement to how it would be used, you might be out of luck.


      To get reimbursement after the fact is going to be difficult to do. Also, if the police gave that footage to the news stations to enlist viewers to help identify the woman, they also had the right to do so.

      What you can try to do is to ask the stations not to use the footage, but if one uses it, the others probably won't say, "sure, we'll pull it."


      You might have to file this under "lesson learned", unfortunately.


      This forums page has active members that deal with this issue a lot, you can follow up with them:


      Below are a few stories we've written on video producer's rights and citizen journalist's rights to shoot and share video recorded in public.


      Citizen Journalism:

      Producer's Rights:

      Recording in Public:

      When do You Need Release Forms:

      1st Amendment Rights:


      They might help you understand where you might go.


      Also, there's the Center For Social Media which covers codes and practices for Fair Use:


      Good luck – let us know your outcome. – Jennifer

    • #204342

      Was the thief apprehended and araigned? – or – Was your video being used as part of an ongoing investigation and was given to the TV news to see if anyone could identify the perp? I think the answers to these questons might determine whether there was copyright infringement.


      Rick Crampton

    • #204343

      Consult an attorney. Unless you are able to establish that your rights were infringed, don't bother further. By virtue of the fact that you created the video you hold the copyright, but the legal aspects of turning it over to the police and they, in turn, turning it over to Channel X news are a dog's breakfast and should be sorted out by an attorney.


      Good luck.





    • #204344

      When ever you "Give" footage away watermark it. "This footage owned and copyrighted by…" and add a contact number. I believe your SOL in this case.

    • #204350

      You mught have done something wrong to the police thus, he gave it to the news. You can aslo sue him for doing that.

    • #204363

      Thank you everyone for your comments.


      I read that it falls within the fair use part of copyrights.


      Because they were using only small parts of my video and because they were attempting to reach further victims and inform the public how to prevent it.


      I´m supposed to get a letter of appreciation or something like that so says the Tulsa Police Dept..

      Oh, well at least I was able to help my neighbors and maybe even others.  Why do I have to want more?  Things used to be different.   🙂


      Thanks again everyone, very much.

    • #204884

      Be nice.  Invoice ALL three stations that aired your footage and the City.  After 30 days, turn ALL three stations into collections for the invoices plus any associated expenses.  30 days later, place liens on all of the stations assets in lieu of payment.  This will get their legal departments attention.  Your County Court clerk can handle the paperwork.


      Treat the whole affair just like you would if you were a contractor who cleaned the station and was not paid.  You can't UNbroadcast the footage, but you can put a Lien on the station.


      TV no longer PAYS for footage, but you did not give them a release.  You are on very strong grounds.  If pursuing the TV stations does not work, bill the City Clerks office or what ever office in your city handles Public Information. 


      Throw enough paperwork at them AND a REASONABLE fee for the footage and you will get paid.

    • #204894

      [quote=ucdaman]6o´clock news on three channels  I seen my videos being played.  This was done without my consent. No written or oral video rights release  was made from myself.[/quote]


      Once you turned over to the police the video it became a public record.


      [quote]My question on any experts out there is: Is this legal?[/quote]




      [quote]Don´t I have to give consent.[/quote]


      Not once it is a public record.


      [quote]What about payment from the news for usage?[/quote]


      Good luck there, you see you now have two roadblocks to collections, first and foremost is the public record problem and the second is the video was probably not registered with the USCO prior to the alleged infringement, I have gone after a few infringements and trust me the first words you will hear from a Copyright attorneys mouth will be "did you register the work" and if the answer to that is a negative you may as well hang it up…


      Going forward should you find yourself in a similar situation a good practice would be think first and either allow the police to view the video on your recording device and if a copy is requested offer to provide a copy in a timely manner once you roll the video off of the device.


      Or do as we do and publish first then advise the PD of the video after the fact.


      Either way before providing them with the link for the video (not the video itself) and as already mentioned place a super as either a lower third clearly naming the source of the video and or place an upper third channel bug naming the source of the video, the reason for this is by uploading the video to say You-Tube with your watermarks intact you are on stronger grounds should a local station run the video without obtaining a license.


      And if you believe you have a breaking news must run video register it with the USCO immediately, you can do so at.



      [quote]Thanks for any help at all.[/quote]


      No problem and if you have any questions just ask, I am not an attorney I am just a working stiff videographer, but I have managed to collect from a few of the big ones such as FOX and MSNBC for alleged infringements so as they say, been there done that.



    • #204895

      [quote]Treat the whole affair just like you would if you were a contractor who cleaned the station and was not paid.[/quote]


      Minus a contract usually equals no payment.


      [quote]You can't UNbroadcast the footage, but you can put a Lien on the station.[/quote]


      One might on a good day get a lien on the corporation but on the station that’s California dreaming and never forget there are miles of difference between having a lien and collecting a dime.   


      [quote]TV no longer PAYS for footage [/quote]


      Totally incorrect, the normal fee for a first run license starts at $500 and can be negotiated up from there depending on how hot and exclusive the video is.  


      Been there done that…



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