General Question

dopeguru's avatar

Can I sue and win if someone uses my video footage?

Asked by dopeguru (1917points) February 25th, 2018

I just acted in a short film and now the director and actor have about 20 minutes of footage of me in my bra for a scene. Behind the scenes of this are another 30 minutes. I want to make sure that they do not use these footages for anything else. I’m worried of them selling it to stock footage companies (since it was green screen) and putting it online maybe years from now. Can I sue them if this happens? I did not sign anything.

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15 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Sue them now for “child porn”, since you are under eighteen!

janbb's avatar

^^ I don’t think she is.

Kardamom's avatar

If this was a legitimate film, I’m guessing that the film makers own all the footage and rights, unless you signed something saying that you would retain ownership and rights to any unused footage, which is unlikely.

You mentioned that you were in your bra, was this a porn movie? I forget if you are over 18.

dopeguru's avatar

@Kardamom So just because I’m acting in it, they can use my footage with anything they want? even for profit? im over 18

Kardamom's avatar

@dopeguru, if they are a legitimate film company, unless you signed something saying that you would retain rights to unused footage, then unfortunately yes. Even if they didn’t pay you.

Kardamom's avatar

If you were supposed to be paid, and you were not paid, you could sue for non payment.

What kinds of paperwork did you sign?

dopeguru's avatar

@Kardamom they aren’t, they’re just my friend and an editor who has the footage.

chyna's avatar

I’m guessing you should’ve thought about that before you let them film you in your bra.
They can use it for anything they want.

Kardamom's avatar

@Dopeguru, hmmmm. You probably still can’t sue for anything, because you verbally agreed to be filmed (for the owners of the film). Rather than if you were at a party and your friends posted compromising footage of you on FB or something like that.

Even though you were not paid, you agreed to be filmed (in your bra) so the film makers most likely retain all rights.

Even though you were not paid, you could probably check with an entertainment lawyer.

CWOTUS's avatar

If you never signed any kind of release for the filming (including, perhaps, a “blanket release” that may have been part of an entry to the production, class, or whatever is being created), then by most Western law (at least to the extent that I know, and I’m no lawyer, so this opinion may not be worth a great deal) any “recognizable” images of you can’t be used in a for-profit venture without your consent.

I’m not sure, but I think that also applies to works of art that will be viewed by the public. Keep in mind that this is “recognizable images”. If the filming was done in front of a green screen, as you note that it was, then the images can be processed in any number of ways in post-production (editing) of the film.

So, that’s the first part: without a release from you, you might have a case to sue for damages if recognizable images of you appear in the public.

However, here’s the other side of that: You can’t get blood from a stone. If this is a low-budget, art-house or class project then it’s more than likely that there will be zero profit generated. Also, you’d have to prove “damages” to yourself and reputation, so it will help if you become famous, for example, and someone then releases the film – because a film of you at your current age, pre-fame, that damages your reputation, brand or image at a later date, when you’re an aspiring film star, movie magnate, business person or politician – then there’s “the damage”. So that would be “the blood” in the metaphor above.

But if these guys are always and forever operating on a shoestring, making low-budget, zero-view YouTube videos (or even PornHub or other for-profit productions), if they make no money, then you’ll get none. You could receive “a judgment” worth millions (perhaps, if the damage to your brand is so bad), but with no ability to collect on it.

Make better choices in the future and be more aware of the producers’ intent and disposition of the footage. This is a learning opportunity for you.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Okay, are you assuming they will use this for bad? are you just paranoid? did they say they were going to send it to people? You consented to it. Changing your mind right after and saying you don’t want it used or whatnot might not always work. Talk to them about it. But since you consented not much might be able to be done.

dopeguru's avatar

@SergeantQueen I consented it for being used in the short film. but i dont trust the editor, and im paranoid he will use it for other stuff. he has this anonymous identity online and is homeless.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Then why did you consent to it in the first place if you don’t trust him? Honestly sounds like a you problem

Darth_Algar's avatar

You can try asking a lawyer, but I’m guessing your case isn’t really going to have legs. I’m not really sure what you expected when you agreed to be filmed, but if your concern is that they might use the footage for some other purpose then, well, you’re shit out of luck. You can’t really sue someone for something you think they might do.

chyna's avatar

@dopeguru How does a homeless man have equipment to video a film?

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