Intellectual Property

donp wrote on 3/28/2007, 7:02 AM
I did a DVD set last year of an event and sold the copies for a small profit. Part of this event was a concert. I made a deal with the lead musician to provide him a free copy of the DVD for the right to use his CD music for the slide show also on the DVD set. Now that he has seen the DVD he wants to remaster the part from the concert from my original tapes remake a cut for him to use down the road. He really likes the quality of the DVD etc. He want me to do the remaster. I know what to charge for editing etc. My main question is do I have property rights on the footage he wants to remaster and can I get a small royalty if he uses the remaster for a commercial venture? If so what should I ask for. this is new ground for me.


Tim Stannard wrote on 3/28/2007, 7:26 AM
Firstly - congratulations, it's nice for you to be in the position to have to ask this question.

Simply put, as the creator or the piece you have rights as to what is done with it. Similarly as a performer and composer, (and co-producer as he is co directing the remaster) he has rights over what it is used for. You can set a fee for use of the footage and he can set a fee for your use of the footage that includes him/his work. Basically the property is yours and his and one cannot move without agreement of the other.

You need to sit down together and discuss what both of you think is fair. The problem is getting a fair agreement covering every conceivable aspect of what may happen at a later date (I imagine the muso anticipated a fairly low quality and very limited circulation when he originally agreed to allowing you to use his music for a copy of the DVD) It seems very costly to fork out for lawyers at this stage on the basis that he *might* use it in future projects that *might* generate revenue, but that might be what you need to do to cover yourself.

There *may* be some sort of pro-forma agreement that you could both use for now. Perhaps an agreement which limits the number of copies he can sell to a few hundred, then if things really do take off, both parties have the option to re-negotiate.

As for how much - as much as you can get (which will no doubt be less than you think is fair and more than he thinks is fair) If you're charging him for post production then you should expect a lesser royalty.

Spot|DSE wrote on 3/28/2007, 7:26 AM
Unless you have a Work For Hire agreement, you own the rights to your footage. However, if your footage is of the band/him, then all you have the right to is the rights unless you've got a release from him.
In this case, if the band is the focus of your work and you don't have a release from them, you can't do much with it. If it's footage of them and contains their songs/audio, you can't do much with it.

If he pays you to edit it, it's a value to you because you're hired to edit, and you can charge a fee for shooting the band on top of the edit, but if they won't release you to do anything further with the footage than you've already done, you're most likely stuck.You own the tape. They own the contents of the tape, indirectly. The way you've presented the question, I see it as being no different than them hiring you to shoot, edit, delivery video of their band, except they're hiring you after the fact, not before. In that event, you're a work for hire, and have no IP rights.
In the case of "You shot them, had permission to use what you've got" but now they want more, they licensed you to do one thing. Ask if they'll share royalties with you or not. Personally, I would not want to. I'd just hand you money to edit, pay for the shots, and wave goodbye.
I'm not a lawyer but I play one on the internet.
donp wrote on 3/28/2007, 7:04 PM
Thanks Tim and Spot, I didn't have a "Work for Hire agreement" when I did the DVD that was my own idea and I got the State Park to agree for me to shoot and sell the DVD of the 25th anniversary event. The band was one part of the three day event.

Spot I think I'll take your suggestion on this. Unless he offers to me unsolisited I propably won't ask for anything above editing and reshooting if there is any.