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  • Copyrighted material problem

    Posted by Chris Gomersall on August 13, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    I have worked for the in-house video department of a LARGE corporation (1 billion sales annually) for about six months and have discovered their disturbing habit of creating videos to motivate the sales force that use clips from movies and unlicensed music. After bringing this up to them they claim their attorneys said it was OK. Personally, I think they are just telling me what I want to hear to shut me up. Can they use clips from Hollywood films without permission? The FBI warning at the beginning would suggest not. Any thoughts? Whom should I consult to get the truth?

    Sofaking replied 16 years, 9 months ago 16 Members · 27 Replies
  • 27 Replies
  • Alex Huber

    August 13, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Yikes… that is soooooo illegal on soooooo many different levels that it’s not even funny.

    They need to consult an entertainment attoney — and no, not their in-house attorney or some random lawyer in the phone book… needs to be an entertainment attorney.

    A.

  • Bruce Bennett

    August 13, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Chris,

    I worked for about a same sized company (Fortune 700) for a few years that did exactly the same thing. Even though we made it perfectly clear to AVPs, VPs, Senior VPs, etc. that it was illegal, it didn’t seem to matter. So our philosophy was:

  • Emre Tufekci s.o.a.

    August 13, 2007 at 4:15 pm

  • Michael Hancock

    August 13, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    In addition, if that dreaded lawsuit ever comes from the music or film industry, who do you think will be the first one let go?

    You.

    You put it in there, and it won’t matter than you told them it was illegal and you didn’t want to. They’ll drop you like a stone and use your salary to settle out of court. Trust me, when it hits the fan your boss isn’t going to take a bullet for you.

    So what do you do? Well, you can flat out refuse to put it in there until they provide the papers that show you specifically have the rights to the music/film, but again–you’ll likely be canned before that happens because you’re not being a “team player”.

    Good luck. I’m not sure what to tell you.

    Michael

  • 13 Create COW Profile Image

    13

    August 13, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    [MHancock (promoboy)] “So what do you do? Well, you can flat out refuse to put it in there until they provide the papers that show you specifically have the rights to the music/film, but again–you’ll likely be canned before that happens because you’re not being a “team player”.”

    Firing someone for not breaking the low when you ask them to, thats a good reason, and one that will give them a nice lawsuit. So now they have two lawsuits to deal with, one for copyright violation and one for wrongful termination.

  • John Davidson

    August 13, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    Guys, that happens ALL the time. Companies big or small. My favorite? An unnamed network made a face Fox affiliate promo about the new deadly threat to your children…..trees. They used network logos and all.

    Have you guys ever watched an upfront for a network? They fill an auditorium, pump trailers for next years shows full of unlicensed music, and rake in billions in upcoming year ad sales.
    Every network does this. Nobody pays a dime.

    The unofficial rule of thumb is, if it airs, you pay. Might not be legal, but that’s the rule. Heck, we aired a spot this year promoting a new series and we referenced a very popular show with a similar audience but on another network. We got a call a few weeks later saying that HBO’s lawyers were demanding we remove the reference. My client network’s lawyers had approved it, so the absolute last thing they would do is come after the EDITOR of the spot. Another example of a suit was for a net that wanted a song for a spot but it was too expensive. The producer hired a company to produce a song that “sounds like” the song she wanted. Well, I guess it sounded a little too much like it because they got sued and it was nasty. Lawyers were subpoenaing emails, voicemails, etc., looking for evidence that the produced song was meant to be a ripoff. Again though, this was a spot that aired.

    Editors are the last people to get sued for copyright infringement. It never happens. Never.

    If you’re a predator, that might be different. Editor – no. Please, i’d love to hear an actual story where an editor got fired for a producer or lawyer’s mistake.

    John Davidson____ writer | producer | director____https://www.magicfeather.tv

  • Bruce Bennett

    August 14, 2007 at 2:28 am

    Emre,

    I appreciate your response. It is wrong to use copyrighted material for production. No ifs, ands or buts. I just don

  • Bruce Bennett

    August 14, 2007 at 2:51 am

    [John Davidson] “Please, i’d love to hear an actual story where an editor got fired for a producer or lawyer’s mistake.”

    Me too.

    It

  • Steve Wargo

    August 14, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    I say:

    1. Cover your butt with an e-mail to a superior stating your concern. Say that you “think” that there might be an issue. Stay away from “knowing” the law.

    2. Do your job as your superiors state.

    3. No one is going to come after YOU for copyright infringement but you don’t want anyone to be able to point the finger at you either.

    4. You could turn them in and collect the 10% reward.

    5. Keep your resume up to date.

    You’ve made your name and your concerns public on this forum. Google yourself and see what comes up. When I google myself, my COW posts are right there on page one. This is why a lot of people post here under assumed names.

    Steve Wargo
    Tempe, Arizona
    It’s a dry heat!

    Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
    5 Final Cut Pro systems
    Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck

  • John Baumchen

    August 14, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    I would be inclined to ask the company to give me a letter where they would indemnify me for any legal actions that might arise from their actions.

    Just because you work for a company, doesn’t mean you’re covered if someone finds out and decides to sue. You can’t break the law just because your boss tells you to. To really cover yourself, you need to report it, otherwise, you’re an accessory.

    “be seen, be heard, be remembered”

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