Monday, December 31, 2007

Free Stock Footage Is Not Yours

By Gail Nobles

Online, I see many free stock footage sites. Why do they say the footage is free? Free doesn’t always mean free. From my understanding of terms and use agreement, the footage is only free to use. That does not mean that you own the footage or video clip.

When I first went to these sites, I was so happy. I thought, “Oh boy! I don’t have to go out and video tape my own clips anymore!” But then, I thought about copyright while I was adding a clip into my work. Again I thought, “What if I want to sell my work and this part of the footage is not mine?” I began to ask questions. Sometimes the terms and agreement was not quite clear. Some companies never email you back when you ask questions. So I thought to myself, “I better not use the clips.”

Here is my advice. Trust nothing. People will tell you, yea, it’s okay to use this and that. They tell you that it’s okay, but they might come back and sue you later after you have made millions of dollars. I feel more comfortable with my own because then I know that it is mine.

The only thing that I know that might be totally free to use on the Internet is public domain content. This kind of content has no copyright or it’s copyright has expired.

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