Network wants to use a video that my boyfriend shot. How to negotiate?
November 3, 2014 1:20 PM   Subscribe

My partner has been contacted by one of the major TV networks who has asked to use some historical film footage that he shot. He is getting ready to call them back. What are the issues at play here? What questions should he be asking?

This film would be used in a prime-time newstainment type show. How do these sorts of deals usually go down? What is reasonable payment to ask/expect? How do we make sure he retains copyright? Are there limited use contracts we can ask for? Any guidance on this issue would be welcome! He needs to get in touch with them later today.
posted by kimdog to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Your boyfriend should lawyer up, and retain an attorney who specializes in dealing with the media.
posted by starbreaker at 1:24 PM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's a rate sheet from a film achive: to help you get an idea of the market rate.

There is also a link to their licensing agreement on that page. Read that over to get a general idea of where to start. It should state very clearly that the archival footage is for use in one program only and that it remains the property of the archive.

At least consult with an entertainment lawyer to look over the contract before you sign. Actually retaining them may not be necessary based on the scope of the agreement.
posted by ohisee at 1:36 PM on November 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I don't understand why you'd need a lawyer for this. It's a very simple licensing thing, of the type routinely handled by agents (that's what they are there for) and individuals. (I have one parent who is an entertainment lawyer and one who is an agent -- this falls much more under the agent parent's bailiwick.)

kimdog, he can just listen to what they want to tell him and then say "I am very open to licensing you this footage; can you email me your standard contract and let me have a look?" Essentially, you have no opening position so you might as well see what theirs is.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:38 PM on November 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

Best answer: You probably don't need a lawyer (unless it's a celebrity sex tape or something), but I would follow ohisee's link just to get a sense of what industry standard for these things involves.

FWIW when I've licensed things in the past, if the owner of the thing gets all dramatic about needing to consult their attorney, wanting a weird special contract that isn't our usual boilerplate deal*, and otherwise complicating matters -- especially if it's a tight turnaround -- we will typically decline the offer rather than put up with all that silliness. If your boyfriend actually wants to license this footage, he should be more inclined to work with the production and not be all weird about it. If he feels very strongly inclined to protect himself, he should feel free to decline and/or be prepared for them to decline.

Nthing basically everything DarlingBri said.

*In terms of rights, not in terms of money. Re payment, feel free to negotiate your ass off.
posted by Sara C. at 1:59 PM on November 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: This is all very helpful! Exactly the guidance we are looking for!
posted by kimdog at 2:19 PM on November 3, 2014

Response by poster: Update! My boyfriend had a very easy conversation with the producer, who was totally happy to do a one time use license, and my bf was very happy about the negotiated payment. I'll post details when everything is finalized. Thanks, again!
posted by kimdog at 4:53 PM on November 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

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