There are probably people who would argue with me as far as the practice of licensing video being the norm in the world of video production, other than the licensing of stock motion footage. Perhaps that may be true in some business models and certainly true in older business models, but I can tell you that has not been my experience.
I should clarify that I do not position myself as a “hired gun”– meaning a camera operator who turns over their footage at the end of the day. I choose to assume the role of producer and maintain control over my intellectual property or the finished video product. I cannot do this in the traditional motion picture industry but that business model is changing due to technology and the influx of indie filmmakers who are making their own rules and bringing their films to market themselves. And for the most part – I can’t do this in high-end broadcast spots when working with a middleman – or ad agency where ultimately their end customer maintains all rights.
However, the demand for video has skyrocketed in recent years and with that has created a new client base who are using video in new ways and on new platforms. I am establishing my own set of rules accordingly. One of them is licensing the finished product just as I did my still images. I can only do that with video productions that I have produced and hold the copyright to.
Typically, I will separate the licensing of my still images from the video product as well as the creative fees. I may be shooting both mediums on the same job but I handle the licensing differently. I have found that video has a shorter shelf life so I am not as concerned about the duration of the license (length of time) as I am with still imagery. But I am concerned about it’s “reach” which these days is global – thanks to YouTube.
Another thing I do is I make sure that it is stated in my contract and/or estimate that the license for the entire video production does NOT include permissions and/or licenses to any still images that are made from frame grabs pulled out of the video footage. Putting this up front in the estimate has actually proved beneficial because if a client does anticipate the need for still images – they will hire me to create stills – rather than take them from frame grabs.
We are living at a time where just about everyone’s business models are changing. So, if someone tells you that licensing video isn’t the norm – outside of the stock motion footage business – think again. What is the norm these days? It may be the precedent we are setting now.