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Old 12-28-04, 06:24 AM   #21
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Default more no than yes

A few summers ago a woman from NYC was in town taking pics of my show. She was quite intent on getting just the right angles, and so on, and seemed to know what she was doing, although she did disturb the show a little with all her moving around.

The next day she was back again, this time with a video camera. I somehow caught up with her after that show, mentioned that I had seen her the day before, and asked her what she intended to do with all the footage and snaps.

She finally admitted that she was filming a made-for-tv documentary and felt my show was perfect for it.

I asked her why didn't she ask for my permission, or offer me some kind of waiver to sign. She replied that since I was doing my show out in the open that she could do whatever she wanted with my image, no matter what I thought.

We argued the point quite a long time. But in the end all we could agree on was to exchange contact info.

About a month later I got a phone call from this woman, and from how she acted it was clear to me that either she was recording it (without saying so), or someone (like maybe her lawyer) was listening in. She tried over and over again to have me, at least verbally, give away my rights to all that material. I refused.

You see, what I had told her after the show was that, yes, she can take all the pics she wants... so long as it is only used for private, non-professional, non-money-making purposes. The moment she tries to earn anything at all from my work and my image she must include me in on the arrangement, period. There is nothing wrong in the fact that she works in her own self interest, even with my image -- unless of course she forgets to include my interest as well. Selling my image to the NYC television community would certainly qualify here, and no honest and professional producer/director is going to allow it without signed consent forms.

Furthermore, if the legality of it all were so vague as suggested by Circusnews, then why do cigarette or beer advertisers bother to pay 5 million dollars per celebrity, when all they have to do instead is shoot some discrete footage of them sampling their goods and go with that -- virtually cost free?

The difference between public domain and commercial domain going public, is that one relies on their image for their profession -- indeed, quite often IS their profession -- and retains the sole right to manipulate it any way they see fit, and automatically bars anyone else from profiting outside of their permission and control.

So, you make take all the public domain pics of Julia Roberts huffing away that you like. You may even post them on your blog. But the moment you try making any serious cash from them you should expect a call from her legal team.

Last edited by Chance; 12-28-04 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 12-28-04, 07:40 AM   #22
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The short answer is to avoid a lawsuit. The federal ruling I spoke about was made in NY.

Take a look at all the girls gone wild videos. They do not have releases for most of the people apearing on those tapes. The lawsuits are a cost of doing buisness for them, but most do not want the protracted legal battles, even if they know they will win. The cost of a 6 month trial is usually more than the footage is worth, especially when talking about a made-for-tv documentary whose budget is usually a lot less than $60,000 including post production.

I do not have a copy of the GGW ruling in front of me, but if I recall correctly the case was out of Florida, a state that does grant additional rights to a persons image. The gist of the ruling was that they should not have exposed themsilves in pubic f they did not want to be taped. The ruling also addressed the issue of payment - the girls suing were not entitled to any, as they did not have a contract.

Other cases to think about is poparatzi(sp?), shows like COPS, etc.

Don't confuse a lawyer saying "this is potentually too expensive" with "this is illegal"
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Old 12-28-04, 09:58 AM   #23
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Default point/counterpoint

Okay then, let's try it another way...

For example: Two different people video a Bruce Springsteen concert without permission -- one from inside a paid arena show, and another from a free concert given in Central Park. Copies of both videos are then offered for sale on the web. Which one is legal; which one not? According to your definition, the Central Park video is up for grabs. I say otherwise.

In the eyes of the law, there is an automatic exception when considering celebrities (or, as in the case of most buskers: wannabe celebrities): chiefly that a celeb is perceived as a commodity; that they are a brand unto themselves. Their name, visual image, perceived character (or lack thereof) are all smaller parts of the total package. And, as such, celebs are definitely allowed, exceptionally, to control this image above and beyond that of the average Joe or Suzi (or Bruce).

As for GGW, please look harder for a better example. Drunken teens acting out drunkenly in public does not afford much protection from intrusion. Courts could probably even be made to see and understand that at the moment of taping, those teens actually craved the attention, and competed to get even more. Mr Springsteen obviously craves the attention, but it's his branding and his job to do so. Big, big difference!!

As for COPS, et al, note how they always block a persons face, never reveal names or addresses, and always prominently announce that all suspects are innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law. Had the GGW videos done the same there never would have been a legal leg to stand on.

As for your linked article, let me point out two serious defects in your reasoning to include it:

Baer found the bootleg law was written by Congress in the spirit of copyright law, which protects writing for a specified period of time. But the judge said the bootleg law could not stand because it places no time limit on the ban.
Which only means that as soon as the law is re-written by legislature to be less than perpetual, it would then stand the legal test and remain in effect at any rate. No win for the opposing team, I'm afraid.

This ruling would seem to make it legal for partons to make video and audio recordings of live performances.
"Seem" is a VERY big word here. The whole question begs for further legal debate, which I am sure is under way even as we speak. Unfortunately, though, this link does nothing to support your side of this discussion. Again, once the law is re-written it will probably stand the next legal test unapposed.

I will close again with another rediculously obvious, self explanatory, example: Brad Pitt is photograhed holding a bottle of Budweiser while sitting on a public park bench. Can Anheiser-Busch buy the rights to this photo without consulting Pitt's legal team?

Last edited by Chance; 12-28-04 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 12-28-04, 09:03 PM   #24
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:::Responding to the original post:::
I would have done it while juggling or with a big crowd around me. I would have used it in like 4 places on my resume and made sure I got a copy of it for promo video.

:::Responding to Stitch's website:::
On your website choreography is spelled "coreography" which sticks out as an odd member of it's list. "Dance" might fit better. Video looks like you're fun and kinda creative, but it's slow paced. I met you in boston once.
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Old 12-29-04, 05:33 AM   #25
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I understand and agree with your prinicples here. But what happened was a negative exchange. You were talking about an half empty glass and she stormed off before you could mention the half full one.

"I would love to do it, it sounds great, I have to speak to my agent first though as he handles my TV and Radio work. I would be perfect.. look... That'll be $300 please."

I am appearing for free in a documentary in a couple of months, we filmed it a few months ago. I did however get expenses and I got some control over how I appeared. The whole spirit was cooperative and fun. I may not get anything from the appearence itself, but I got good stuff from the crew and the producer telling other people how good I am to have around in front of the camera and in front of an audience.

Yeah we used each other but we loved each other too.
If an artist can't even dream of happy ending what chance have the politicians got of making one?

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Old 12-29-04, 10:43 AM   #26
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1. Bruce Springsteen concert. The federal ruling was on exactly this. The federal court ruled the sale of these botlegs IS legal.

2. Image exception for celebrities. I am unaware of any states or federal law granting such rights. It is possible that you have confused the practice of big celebs trademarking their image, another legally questionable tactic for controling captured images, but outside the scope of this (If you are thinking of trademark, have you trade marked your image?) Could you clarify where this right you speak of suposedly comes from? Perhaps site the law?

3. As to the GGW, it is exactly on point. Tell me, why is it that you feel what YOU do in public is afforded more protection than what they did? Because it is your job? Doesn't cut it.

4. Cops. Cops now blocks faces because COPS is no longer a blockbuster show with a budget to defed the suits. it is cheeper to block out the faces than defend the suits. (Note: I recall a ruling a few years ago that hit COPS specifically for filming inside of a persons house after entering with the officer. In that case the court ruled that their was an expectation of privacy in the persons own home, and the camera man did not have the right to enter the home to film. However, no such expectation of privacy exists in public spaces)

4. Public Performance law being re-written by legislature. So far it has not been, nor have I come across any legislative drafts that would do so. I will also note that the referenced case put forth a multitude of legal issues with this law. Only one was ruled on, leaving bout a dozen other legal arguments that the legislature would also have to grapple with. I would not expect this to be dealt with any time soon, if ever.

5. Further legal debate is ongoing. Lawyers Weekly has done several really good articles on this since the story was done. I would encourage you to read them.

6. Anheiser-Busch / Brad Pit. Could they? I don't know. This is far more complex question, involving many sets of laws. First, product advertising is covered by a more restrictive set of laws (commonly known as comercial speach) than other forms of speach. For example, you can not knowingly lie in an advertisement. Such a photo could be construde as to imply Brad Pit endorces or regularly drinks bud, this is a claim they would have to be able to back up. With comercial speach you can not cause another party to encure liability. Public consumption of beer may well do this (hey, thats the bench in that their park. it's against the law to drink in the public park. Go arest him boys...). Brad Pit has trademarked his image, which adds to the complexity of it all.
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Old 12-30-04, 09:09 PM   #27
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Love About people bugging you to start 'righr now"

I noticed that at state fairs, when they have a booked magic show, they always have a sign with the name of the show and some info, and a sign "the next show will start at - and a painted clock with movable hands." In my own practice - when i have a professionally painted sign with my name and web-site on it - I get much more respect and money (I am a face-painter, and I work as street performer - or as a vendor, depending on the gig....) This way - if they take a picture of the whole thing - my name is on it too, this is the copywriight issue as well.

By the way, thank yall so much for all ya replies, I will prit it all and read very attentively after Sugarbowl, good reading on a Greyhound ride to the beach...

Happy New Year!
Peace yall!
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