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Anyone know the (UK) law on sales of digital material? I've been robbed!


blessani
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Hi, I filmed an event recently and a company who participated wanted some footage. Under the assumption the company was going to pay in good faith (big mistake), I sent the materials (photographs and DV tape) to them, I also sourced some additional photographs for them and had to pay for them off another photographer.

My dillemma is that they now say they don't want the photos + video, but its too late as far as I'm concerned because its not like they can return it (mainly because they will have just copied it and used it anyway).

Does any know the laws on this, and how I can prosecute them, I plan on filing a small claims court order against them to collect the money, but I need to know the legalities on the issue before I bother. I don't really have a lawyer, but I will see if I can contact one for a bit of advise. In the mean time I was hoping you guys could be of assistance.

There must be a sales of goods act for digital material which stipulates this.

Help a friend out!

Ben

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I can prove that I filmed it (I have the equipment that encoded the tapes timestamps). But the difficulty is monitoring if the company is using the material or not without my consent - its almost impossible to say if they are using it or not.

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I think it's going to depend on how they end up using it, and to what extent one can consider the agreement between the two of you as a contract.

"Get back" the items, and get them to sign a contract that explicitly bars them from using said content. Then, when you find out they did end up using it anyway, you're in a FAR better position to confront them.

And you haven't been robbed. At best you robbed yourself. Nothing you've said so far comes across as malice from the part of the company. That you choose to distrust them is your, possibly meritless, choice.

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Best thing to do is copyright it yourself and then use it yourself. Then if they reproduce the material without your permission or license from you they can be charged there after. You should also always watermark samples you send to people in the event that they want to use it, you can then set up payment for unmarked and licensed copies of your materials. Its the same in the photo and art bussiness. NEver send originals, and never full high quality without disclaimers or watermarks on them.

If you have ever seen a screener copy of a movie you will notice they usually have a banner that says something like "property of such and such" at the bottom with "not for resale" or something along the lines of that. This way they would have to blur it out and it would ruin their copy for professional use and you could show your full clean copy in defense to their copyright infringment.

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If they didn't sign a contract they aren't obliged to pay for them if they give you the video and photos back and if they aren't actually reproducing what you sent them then there is no copyright infringement.

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but what if they don't send them?

If they don't return them I would imagine that it counts as purchasing your material.

In Canada you don't need a lawyer unless you sue for over $10 000, anything under $10 000 I would just recommend legal advice.

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