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Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3409
Experience:  Experienced in intellectual property law
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We have a boutique advertising agency and have done a

Customer Question

We have a boutique advertising agency and have done a campaign producing videos for an agency that works with Ford Motor Co. We don't have a contract with them. It is on a job by job basis.
We just found out that they have submitted our work for a competition but they refuse to give us credit in the submission.
Also, they are asking for the raw footage of the whole campaign.
What are our options?
Please advise,
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 7 months ago.

Hello. While they have pad to use the work, they do not own the copyrights unless that was agreed upon. You should have an agreement in place, the fact that it is on a per-job basis does not affect that, there should still be at least an umbrella contract that covers all the jobs unless stated otherwise for a particular job. Not giving attribution is not a copyright violation, its more of a ethical/artist rights issue, and it may have been implied or expected that they would want to submit something in their own name rather than yours....if there was no oral or written agreement about attribution then it would come down to what is customary/expected in that industry, but there are not hard contractual or intellectual property laws for you to rely on here...i.e. its a toss up and you may lose on the issue, but the bot***** *****ne is that unless this issue is valuable you have to let it go because you would have to file a lawsuit and litigate to get the issue resolved by a Court (i.e. probably not worth the fight). You could have an attorney write a letter for you as a bluff to threaten legal action if they do not comply, but that's probably all you can do without a contract that you can point to that was breached.

Expert:  Alex Reese replied 7 months ago.

as for the request for raw footage, its just a matter of what was agreed upon...if you did not promise to provide it then there is no obligation to provide it

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your response.
So they are not committing any crime by submitting our material to a contest as if it were theirs? What if they win or get nominated?
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 7 months ago.

No, they will argue they paid for it and could use it in that manner (had a license)'s a gray area and does not violate any clear rules...its the type of thing that would be agreed upon between the parties

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
We do not have any type of agreement with them.
We see 2 issues: we told the agency, in writing, that we did not want them to use our material for this submission but they went ahead and did it anyway. Don't we have the right to determine how and when our material is used?
Secondly, and most importantly, our main concern now is about the raw footage that they are requesting. We have reason to believe that they will take it, cut us loose and get somebody else to edit more videos with that material. We had told them that we would give it to them, by e-mail, BEFORE this episode. Now we have second thoughts because they obviously don't care about our copyright. Can we refuse to give it to them, claiming that we changed our minds?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
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Expert:  Alex Reese replied 7 months ago.

Well the right to use the material in various ways must be determined ahead of time, and since there is no agreement and this is only an issue of attribution (not copyright), it falls in a gray area with no clear outcome. They paid for the material and are arguably allowed to use it in a reasonable manner for expected/customary uses etc. Again, you would have to look to industry standards or past dealings to argue one way or the other, but there is no clear legal grounds here. For the footage, nothing is forcing you to hand it over, you didn't say it was part of the agreement, so don't give it to them.

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