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Rights of cinematographer

Had a debate with a Young DP who believes that he is entitled to a copy of the rushes of any film he shoots. Is there an argument to support this when it's not included in the DP's contract?

  • No such right exists either in law or ethics. Every project for which a cameraperson provides their service is unique. The default position is that the material belongs to the entity or person who commisioned and paid for it. Anything different to that ought to be clarified, ideally in writing, before the production starts.

    But the very notion of there being such rights, as the question suggests might exist, is in itself eyebrow raising. There's a lot of moral distortion about.

    2 months ago
  • Your DP is wrong. No such rights exist UNLESS it's agreed as part of the contract that they get them.
    Is your DP confusing themselves with The Producer? :-)

    2 months ago
  • Thanks for the replies. I think this mentality comes from self-shooting director-producers working in music videos and internet commercials. They deliver a finished product to the client and keep hold of everything else. When such self-shooters attempt to cross over into drama productions working as DP they can get confused about their relationship to the project and the producer. The real issue here is a DP who thinks he can publish footage of your film on his website without the producer's permission (he has signed a rights transfer agreement with the producer) simply because he shot the footage.

    2 months ago