Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Specialty Topics › Legal Issues › Own my own raw footage? › You said, “The understanding
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.