October 12, 2014 at 6:08AM


Who owns your footage? What arrangement do you make with clients?

Based on advice I took when I started working professionally, I tell clients that they own everything I shoot for them. I retain the right to use anything from the final cut for portfolio/showreel pieces.

A photographer friend operates a strict licensing arrangement for all clients and they never get copyright on the images.

What is everyone else doing? Do you ever retain any ownership of footage (as a photographer might)? I tend not to do high-profile work, but I'd be interested to hear about different approaches to this. And to hear if there is anything like a standardised practice.

I'm thinking of promotional film work for clients, rather than issues around licensing/distribution of short films, etc.


This is an interesting topic. As a photographer I license my work and maintain copyright. As a filmmaker, the client gets all the rights.

I attempted to license a video job that an ad agency requested from me and they refused. It was not for broadcast and for internal purposes. I was doing it for way cheaper than a competitor but they wouldn't budge.

I've had more success with indy music videos, but they usually aren't familiar with rights.

But I still maintain the right to show my video work in my reel.

That's been my experience. I'd love to hear others.

October 20, 2014 at 11:21PM

Daniel Finley

We use the model similar to high end wedding photographers. Any commercial or whatever make - we own the rights to all the raw footage - the client owns the rights to the finished commercial and we have rights to use that as well but only for our own marketing purposes - and only after the spot had had its clearance - and opening air dates. If the client comes back for additional work - that too becomes his property in its finished form.

January 11, 2015 at 9:28PM


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