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The legal, fine detail aspects of producing corporate video always appear from time to time.

Here’s a selection of 15 common video legal Q&A that I get asked..

Please note: I’m a video producer not a lawyer and take no responsibility for my answers, and advise you to consult a legal professional before you act.

Nonetheless I’ve worked as a video producer for 26 years in the corporate field, and find the answers below to be mostly common sense.

1 – Who owns the copyright of the video?

The client normally owns the copyright, unless there are special conditions stating otherwise.”‹

2 – Are we able to release the video without the producer’s permission?

“‹A client can do what they like with the video. It’s their video”‹.

3 – When is the video “complete”?

“‹When the client approves and signs off the video as complete”‹

4 – What happens if we want to make changes or have snagging issues?

“‹At the final production stages, you’re shown a 1st Cut. This is normally a virtually completed video. But it gives you a chance to do snagging.

Snagging is usually minimal if all parties plan the production in great detail, and you sign off each key stage. So big changes should not anticipated late in the production.

5 – When do we get a full VAT invoice?

The client is part invoiced in stages as specified in the terms”‹ of business. You never get a single invoice, unless you make a specific request for this.


6 – What happens if a video comes in at less than the specified runtime? We need a minimum runtime.

“‹A client can have any runtime they you wish up to the specified maximum. The client sets these upper and lower limits as part of the contract, or the producer does this for them when putting the contract together.

7 – What if we don’t approve of the production docs?

“‹By production docs we mean the script, and the storyboard. These are developed in tandem with the client. Normally it’s a consultative approach. And when the client is happy with the script, then they sign it off as approved, Ditto the storyboard.”‹

Always work to a video production process that’s time proven and trustworthy.

8 – What if we don’t like the final video?

This doesn’t happen except in unusual circumstances, eg, new faces appear with widely different ideas,”‹ big company changes, sudden rebrands etc.

To reiterate, the producer will develop the work with you on a consultative basis, with key stage approvals – so “not liking the final video” should be an absurdity.

9 – Do the video professionals have qualifications?

Look at your video production team CVs and see for yourself.

10 – Do I need an NDA – a nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement?

“‹> NDAs are common and should be welcomed. Most producers will sign them.

11 – Who pays for the insurance for crews on site and equipment?

“‹Most video producers & their crews and equipment will be covered by a public liability insurance for some millions. Ask your producer to see their public liability insurance certificate.

12 – Will the video crew be on site for 8 hours? What if they are only on for 3?

“‹If the video crew can do their job in 3 hours then all to the good. But they’ll still charge you a day rate regardless. All video industry contractors are the same. 1/2 day rates can only be negotiated with long time period jobs, involving many onsite visits.”‹

13 – What provisions do the video producer have re insolvency? Can we get our money back if the production is not complete?

“‹A client will have the same insolvency problems as anyone else if the video producer goes bust.

If this worries you, look for a company with proven stability, eg, how much work do they have on their books? Have they been going 3 years? “‹ Who are their clients / references?

14 – What if my video producers fails to deliver? Can we get our deposit back?

“‹Unlikely. Most video deposits are specified as non-refundable in the terms of business in the contract.

15 – What are our termination rights?

“‹If a client wants to kill a project 1/2 way through then they can. In reality this rarely happens, and when it does it’s usually because of big changes on the client side – not the producer.

This may lead to some arrangement for any unpaid work outstanding.

If you want to find out more about us – Studio Rossiter – here’s some quick background

Final Note

The above legal Q&A are not authoritative, and I’m not a lawyer.

But hopefully they give you a fresh perspective for the common legal queries and issues that many corporate clients ask about their video production companies and projects.

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