Building your Contract: Monique Johnson


Copyright, Trademark, and Intellectual Property for Filmmakers


Lesson Info

Building your Contract: Monique Johnson

Now we're going to talk. Tio, my friend monique johnson she's going to join us on video in just a moment? Hey, hey, rachel, you look fabulous. Thank you. Um, this is monique. Monique is a video og refer. She makes videos for a living. And so we're just going to talk a little bit about her business s and about some of the legal issues that maybe she's concerned about and just how she runs her business. So money can you start with just giving us sort of rundown of what you do in your business? What kind of services you sell? Tell us a little bit about yourself. Sure. So my businesses, m o media spelled very weirdly, but memo media and what I do primarily is create a marketing videos for various clients, either from corporate to even entrepreneurs in addition to providing video coaching services. So I feel that there's a large need for people who are not exactly sure how to have their personality come out on camera. So I definitely provide those types of services as well and primarily, I ...

do a lot of video production either where I'm doing it myself or I hire out other video og refers to help me out with that and that's primarily what I do. Yeah, awesome. All right, so you've identified a lot of potential legal issues there s so let's let's talk a little that's not a bad thing and you're going to get educated on howto how to cover your ass you know, in business so one thing you talked about is that you do some video coaching right? So that's intellectual property that sitting in your business you have that knowledge base of like how to help people appear on video s so that's one thing that you could protect and you could even create courses out of it you could write a book out of it so you know, one of the things we've been talking about today is how intellectual property is sort of an intangible asset that you can use in so many different context you know it's something that you could sell over and over again so you can sell your services one on one with a client and then you can also sell the course and, you know, sell the book as well you can put it in a lot of different formats so that's just one example of how that I pay is incredibly valuable in your business yes so the other thing that you talked about is creating films for your client so tell me how you go about doing that? What is that relationship usually look like? Sure, so normally it comes normally what I do is I set up a meeting and I try to find out, like, what the client needs are what it is that they want to portray or accomplished with having a video, and then I go back and put together a proposal, and we have a follow up meeting our follow call where I go over the proposal, I send it over, so see if there's any feedback in the adjustments, letting people know my rates, how much time it will take just different things in the process of actually doing the production process, and then I have a contract sent over, so either I'll meet them in person or like you stated, I think I heard you say about having a digital sign docked, sign something like that and then pretty much depending on what it is if I need a talent release form to be signed, a saw, a different kind of form for a vendor if we're going to a particular location, those type of things I had those sent over and signed before, actually go ahead and start the video production process. So here is an example of a star filmmaker, okay, this is exactly the process I want to see everybody do in their business. The key thing you said is you know, you take them to the process and tell them what this will look like and then as soon as you know that they want to work with you you send a contract to them yes, I love that you'd be surprised how many people just give this whole step and just say ok you know there's a verbal agreement and then there's all these pieces that are missing so awesome lovett star for you and then I also love that you said you always get a release is well s so that you have a release you know, from that clients you know that you're not gonna have any shoot with anybody appearing in front of your camera s oh that's awesome. So I want to talk a little bit about what's in your contract so when you do the contract with your client are you giving them the ownership rights of your footage or do you reserve those rights in the footage most times I give them the rights okay own that the footage uh there's very rare times where I say I'll hold on to it or give them a time period but other than that I primarily gave them the rights but I do ask them if I do want to use them for marketing materials or anything like that I make sure I have that stated in there okay, good, so you're preserving your right to use it in a marketing sense, which is great the other thing that we're talking about today and my recommendation is that you always reserve the copyright in the footage because you can always use that footage in other ways, you know? So I highly recommend that you reserve the right to the footage and instead you sell them a license so they have a license to use it in some limited sense if it's mostly is it mostly businesses that you work with or individuals like creating personal videos both okay? Yeah, okay, so in a in a personal setting right then you would give them a limited license to use it in a personal setting like maybe to use it at home with their family like you know I'm thinking of like a wedding video or some other personal context where they'd want to share it like for memory purposes and not necessarily for commercial purposes on dh then the other option is if you're dealing with a business client, then you would create a commercial license to use it in limited ways so make it so that they can use it for business development marketing purposes they can, you know, use it in whatever way they want in terms of displaying it or or showing it to whoever they want, but they can't create derivative works from it and then you maintain the copyright so that way you can use that footage in any way you want like one of the examples I gave was that you know, you can sell it to a stock footage company you could take those different shots that you create especially you know, if you're traveling around or if you're interesting places you could take a bunch of different footage and put it together in a certain way to create a new video. S o I always think it's a priority to reserve the rights of the intellectual property in your business okay, thanks yeah that's ok tio but everything else you're doing is awesome you're making sure that you can you know, use it in a business development and marketing sense you're getting your release is signed so you're killing it good job thank you. So I feel like in this day and age, especially with facebook I feel that facebook has like eleven hate relationship with youtube and right now they hate youtube so they're really developing their video player right it's you know in their algorithm, if you upload videos directly, you tend to get rank higher in your algorithm right over I tend to see a lot of people take someone else's footage and upload it as their own even if that person like water march their video all of that great stuff where I feel that a lot of people are stealing other people's content and it would be great so you know, if I know any tips are an actual process for approaching people to say, you know, you need to ask me before you do this or you know, at ask them nicely how to take it down from their profile or wherever it is that they're sharing yeah, awesome great question awesome so glad you asked that ok, so there is a step by step process that you can take to protect your work whether it's on facebook or any other context they're your videos and people shouldn't be using them in any way they want. Okay, so one thing is to number one sort of prevented is to make it clear where were you posted that, you know, mark it with your, you know, copyright with your name or the name of your business in the year, and make it obvious that this is your work? The other thing you can do with it is they hate you want a license or use this video in some way, you know, contact me at this address or send them to a link on your page that gives them information on how they can use your contact because there's a lot of stuff that you might create that you know, bloggers or other business owners would want to use tio, you know, use it on their block or just use it in a marketing context and you could license it out so why not turn people who are potential infringers to actual customers and get them to buy your stuff and stuff stealing it from you? So that's one thing I would say just to be preventative the next thing I would say is all right so there's a couple of steps you want to take a right and it sort of escalates from nice to not so nice so to start with nicely you might send them an email and say, hey, I owned the copyright to this video you are not you don't have a license to use it therefore you need to take it down immediately otherwise I will take legal steps okay something really simple there and a lot of people will say oh, I'm so sorry I didn't realize it and take it down ok then the next step would be teo send a dmca takedown notice to their host ok, so this is something you could totally do on your own not something you have to hire a lawyer for see it's really just writing a letter it has to be in a certain format but you'd write a letter to the host of whatever website it's appearing on and you could do this with facebook too because facebook is also required to comply with the the digital millennium copyright act okay, so you send it to them and say, hey, this video isn't fringing on my copyrights I'm the copyright holder and I want it taken down essentially is what the letter will say and you know, facebook and all other web host are required to comply with it by federal law so they will take it down immediately so you may even find out the person's whole website has taken down actually so it's really powerful, you know and it's also not something you have to hire a lawyer to dio um so that's one thing and then the next step might be getting them black listed on google there regularly stealing your stuff you know, ok, if you're not found on google, then you know you're almost invisible online, which is really an effective tool that's something that you just go to the their website, you know, if you kind of google it, you'll see there's a form is like a legal copyright infringer reform on google you fill it out and they look into it and they will actually take the website down um so that's that's another effective thing and then beyond that, then you want to get super aggressive if they're not doing what you say d'oh so then you can send a cease and desist letter from an attorney something like that would probably run you like eight hundred fifty dollars or a thousand dollars to an attorney to write this letter for you on dh that's, usually very effective because people don't want to get letters from attorneys on dh then obviously for, like a really agree just acted file a complaint in court, but you won't be able to do that unless you register the copyright so very, very important to register the copyright for your videos, okay? So only in the context where you've reserved the right so like if you've reserved ownership rights to the footage, then you want to register the copyright for it, and then you've got your copyright certificate and really can kick ass if someone steals your stuff, okay, thank you. S so we're going to talk about that actually, in the next segment, we're going to go into copyright registration and exactly how to do that for filmmakers. Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much unique for, you know, sharing a little bit about your business and great great question I'm sure all the filmmakers watching got a lot out of it. Yes, thank you so much for having me.

Class Description

It’s one thing to know terms like “copyright infringement” or “intellectual property” – understanding and applying those concepts as a filmmaker can be much more challenging. Join Rachel Rodgers to learn everything you need to know to become your own best advocate.

In this class, you’ll learn when and why you need signed releases. You’ll also learn how to create client service agreements that protect your best interests. Rachel will also help you troubleshoot common copyright infringement issues filmmakers often face. Documentary filmmaker Eric Proux will join the conversation to share his been-there-done-that expertise.

No matter what type of films you make, this class will give you the skills and confidence to both defend and profit from your unique creations.