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Thread: Legal advice on showreel made but not wanted

  1. Default Legal advice on showreel made but not wanted

    Can anyone offer any advice on this situation.

    Awhile back I advertised to do a free showreel on I get to use the showreel to show off my editing skills & the person gets to use the showreel to gain work. The person sent me a VHS video of various of their TV work, they also emailed me loads of photos. I edited it altogether & upped the finished project to You Tube & on my web site.

    Initially they were really happy with the show reel, then after about 5 days they told me to take it off You Tube & my web site as they were quitting the business. I removed from You Tube but left on my site.

    They then got in touch with my ISP asking for it to be removed, and the ISP asked me to do so or they would.

    The person is telling me they own copyright off their pictures, as do the photographers who took the pictures as do BBC & Channel 5 for whom the clips were edited.

    I spent approx 30 hours editing this footage so have I completely wasted my time, was it all a rip off if this person never had the copyright to use. I still have every email relating to the matter but no signed contract.

    Anyone got any ideas? Cheers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Yup, they're right.

    They own the copyright to the material and can say where and when it can be used. If you have a signed contract (the signed bit is very important, e-mails don't count) which allows you to use the material on your website, then you're covered, providing that they have the right to give you permission. Anything less and you leave yourself open to a civil action which could cost you a lot of money.

    It sounds like they suddenly realised that they didn't have a legal right to allow you to use the BBC and Ch5 material, in which case I would remove the clips from your website pronto!

    You see now why we're so anti "working for free" on this site, it's fraught with dangers and yes, the bottom line is, your 30 hours work were for nothing.

    Oh, and beware of the hobby-lawyers who say that "it's alright to use material if..." I'm afraid that unless you have a written, signed release from the copyright owner, you leave yourself wide open to a court action.

  3. Default

    Thanks for that, I guess at least I've learnt that even working for free you can get burned...
    Never again without a contract.

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