Legal Question in Entertainment Law in California

Copyright Infringement

I was the producer, director, and editor on a video created for a very

successful female models website. The video was created as a product

that this model could sell on her website as well as at personal

appearances. The model and her manager (husband) and I had not

signed any contracts etc relating to payment, royalties etc. The manager

was like ''letís see what the product might look like and then will talk

about what kind of payment etc.'' I said fine thinking that once they saw

the finished product they'd love it so much that I'd have better

bargaining power. Needless to say They have taken one of the rough

cuts I submitted to them for final approvals and our now distributing it

through there website and who knows where else. I have not heard from

them and they will not return my calls

Asked on 8/25/03, 8:36 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Kim Kirby Davis Dixon Kirby LLP

Re: Copyright Infringement

You have rights to this product even though you never signed an agreement. If you are trying to reach them and your calls are not being returned you have little choice but to go the next step. Sometimes just a letter from an attorney will help. However, not knowing all the circumstances surrounding your issue it is difficult for me to make a recommendation. In any event, any attorney would be happy to give you a free consult, including us.

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Answered on 8/25/03, 12:10 pm
H.M. Torrey The Law Offices of H.M. Torrey

Re: Copyright Infringement

from the facts given, you are entitled to recovery based on contractual, unjust enrichment, and/or tortious remedies for the blatantly willful illegal conduct of the persons you sent a sample to of your video work. if you would like a free case evaluation/consultation, please email me with your contact information promptly today. we will help you get justice.

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Answered on 8/25/03, 12:58 pm
Keith E. Cooper Keith E. Cooper, Esq.

Re: Copyright Infringement

Under copyright law, a creator owns his/her creation unless he/she did the work as an employee acting in his/her capacity of employment (i.e. if you are paid a weekly salary to write a television show, the show belongs to your employer) or if there was a written agreement stating the work was a "work for hire." Of course, in either instance the creator must actually be paid in order to be considered an employee.

You may be entitled to statutory damages and attorney's fees.

You should immediately contact a competent copyright litigator to discuss your case. (I no longer handle litigation, but do negotiate and review agreements.)

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Answered on 8/25/03, 6:21 pm

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