1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Can I use Copyrighted video I shot?

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by camerashyvideo, Jul 3, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. camerashyvideo

    camerashyvideo Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am a freelance video producer in San Antonio, TX. I have shot and edited video for a production company in Oklahoma City, OK and I was wondering if I can use video I shot as a freelance contract laborer, that is copyrighted by the company I shot for.

    The footage is not being sold, or re-packaged. It is being used solely to advertise my services to OTHER clients.

    My question is, can I use this footage without permission to advertise my services? I know if I shot this footage as an employee, the answer would definitely be "no", but as a freelance shooter, can I use this footage?

    Thank you for any advice,
    CameraShy
     
  2. presutin

    presutin Moderator

    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    163
    Trophy Points:
    0

    The answer to your question is no. You will have to obtain permission to use the video regardless what your employment status is when you use it to promote your services.
     
  3. camerashyvideo

    camerashyvideo Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    thank you, your honor! I guess I will have to beg and plea for them to let me use it. I would assume a written agreement would be best in this situation?
     
  4. presutin

    presutin Moderator

    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    163
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Correct. Hey, good luck with your business!
     
  5. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,051
    Likes Received:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Presutin is probably correct although you should look at the agreement you signed. When I've done work I have tried to include a clause that I can make limited use to include within my portfolio and advertisement in certain ways. As you probably want recommendations that are good, perhaps best to obtain permission first too, even if it's just to maintain a good relationship. ;)
     
  6. camerashyvideo

    camerashyvideo Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thelawprofessor,
    I never signed an agreement with the company. I have been researching copyright law at copyright.gov. It states that if the work was done as an independent contractor, and not an employee or work-for-hire, the contractor owns the copyrights. Is this correct?

    I was responsible for shooting, editing, graphic design, and DVD creation.

    So the title of my thread "Copyrighted footage" was a little deceiving. I really don't know who the copyright legally belongs to. Is it me, as an independent contractor without a work-for-hire agreement, or the producer that hired me without an agreement?

    Thanks,
    CameraShy
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2008
  7. Selleck

    Selleck New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Odds are

    Odds are that it has been copyrighted by your previous employer if you did not do it your self. If you had a contract you could review that would tell you.
    Im sure though if you did the grunt of the work and left on good terms your previous employer should not have a problem with you using it. Just ask.
     
  8. camerashyvideo

    camerashyvideo Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks, but I have asked and they are not allowing me to use the video on my website. They are a production company that hires freelancers to actually do the production. I assume that they do not want their clients to know that they are not the actual creative drive behind their products. Which is no big deal to me, I just think I should be able to promote myself with the only work I have done over the last five years.

    This company was never my "employer". This was a "freelance-client" relationship. I am paid with a 1099-misc every year, and I was definitely not an employee.

    Here is what I am basing my question on, this is an excerpt from the Copyright laws found on the US Fed copyright laws information page. Copyright DOT gov.

    "Although the general rule is that the person who creates a work is the author of that work, there is an exception to that principle: the copyright law defines a category of works called “works made for hire.” If a work is “made for hire,” the employer, and not the employee, is considered the author. The employer may be a firm, an organization, or an individual."

    I am not a work for hire based on this next excerpt. I have never signed any agreement saying that I am a work for hire. Actually I have never sign anything with this client. Here is the excerpt defining what a "work for hire" is:

    "Such a work can be a work for hire only if BOTH of the following conditions are met: (1) it comes within one of the 9 categories listed in part 2 of the definition and (2) there is a written agreement between the parties specifying that the work is a work made for hire"

    Based on what I have read, I am the author, and I am not bound by any "work for hire" written agreement. I just want to know someone's interpretation of this laws found at copyright DOT gov.

    Thank you.
     

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.