Copyrighting video and photos for PFCO work in progress

I am just starting out in the world of PFCO flying and am slowly getting to grips with most aspects of flying for commercial gain. One issue i need some help with is this:

I am making videos and taking pictures for clients. At some point in the progress I have to send them copies of works in progress for approval or guidance, before it becomes a paid product. How do I protect myself against an unscrupulous client using pics or video without paying for it?

I do already watermark my video footage, and I have started posting approval video footage on password protected vimeo pages which are locked against downloading.Is there some sort of copyright protection I can invoke or remind a client of as part of my taking on the work so that I don’t get ripped off in mid commission if someone were to get hold of my work and use it without working?

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Whacking great ‘SAMPLE’ watermarks diagonally across the middle from edge to edge :+1:t2:

You can make them opaque to a degree, so they can still see the footage for what it is, but there’s no way they can avoid the fact it’s a watermark!

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From a legal standpoint, I can’t advise.

I’ll guess “yes”, maybe just via Ts & Cs of the contract, but I’m sure someone here will know the answer :slight_smile:

I used to work in commercial photography many years ago. So a slightly FULL answer.
Legally you don’t have to copyright your work,
All your work is automatically copyrighted.
(There used to be a good many ‘so called’ copyright companies who would gladly charge for the service, avoid them, you don’t need them, they are just rip offs).
In order to identify your work, a watermark is advisable and all that’s really required apart from the contract.(more about that later)
It has a twofold effect, it is an identifier unique to yourself, and it shows the client that you are aware and protected under copyright law.
Now, apart from the watermark, the wording of a contract between you and client is essential to point out that any work you present to them belongs to you, until sold, and is subject to the law of copyright. This spells it out to them, so there is no ambiguity.
It would be a very very rare thing for a client to use your work without paying or permission.
A further thing to think about, and this needs careful thought,and to be spelled out in any contract.
Is the client buying the photos or video to use on say, a one off project, leaving you with the rights to use any photos in the future. OR, is the client going to buy your rights outright to use any photos or vids in any way they wish for as long as they hold those rights?
In the days of negatives, the client could buy the prints to use on a particular project or buy the negatives outright to use images on anything they wished, whenever they wanted. The price reflected the use accordingly.
Especially at pop concerts. I recall taking some quick snaps of some friendly girls I bumped into who called themselves ‘The Spice Girls’ They were unknown then and happily chatted & posed for a few impromptu photos near a marquee. I sold the negatives outright for a nice sum, but the marketing company made far far more out of the images,once they became famous putting the image on everything they could think of.


Thank you for this - very useful indeed!!!


Yep indeed. Cut and pasted into my notes for future reference . :+1: