The Intellectual Property Swindle

Imagine if you hired an electrician to build a sound/lighting system in your living room.

Now further imagine if once the electrician finished his work, he turned to you and before taking your cheque casually said:

“Hey, by the way, just wanted to make sure we have an understand… you are not allowed to turn on your lights between 7 – 9pm.”

“What?” you ask, confused, surely you had heard him wrong. This man just installed YOUR sound system in YOUR home and is now telling what you can and can’t do, perhaps it’s a… safety issue.

“Why not?” you ask.

“It’s all part of the contract,” he says to you handing you a piece of paper that you signed.

Standard procedure buddy

He’s not wrong. There in black and white it says:

“Upon installation of said sound system, the end user shall not use the designated sound or lighting system between the hours of 7 – 9pm. Failure to do so will incur a charge of $100 for every hour the light stays on.”

What the hell!!??

What if you’re having guests over and want to watch your holiday videos? 7 – 9pm is when most people have dinner, and now you have to eat in the dark!

Of course, if an electrician did this it would be ridiculous but video production companies do this all the time.

They’ll say “Here is a video, but here is how you can and can’t use it. You can use it on your website, but not on television and not in a presentation. You can burn it on DVD but only make a maximum of 500 copies.”

We all know companies have lots of ways to make extra money and this is just one of them.

But why am I telling you this? After all aren’t I part of a video production company? Surely it’s in my best interest to include a clause restricting you from keeping your rights to use the product.

If anything I should be making sure you know as little about this as possible.

Surely it would be in my best interest to keep this practice going.

Here’s the thing, I do things a little differently at Head Studios.

You ready for the crazy theory?

If you pay for work to be done, the work belongs to YOU!!

I don’t care if I’m part of a video production company, this just makes sense to me.

It doesn’t mean that now you’ve created a video you should be paying me every time you want to use it in a presentation, or on television. Go ahead and do what you like with it. Because I want you to be successful, because if you are chances are you’ll come back wanting more work done, perhaps advertise your video on YouTube or some high quality websites, perhaps help you build a sales pipe line and a bunch of other stuff or perhaps refer some other clients. Something about the theory of abundance comes to mind here (even if you’re not a new age guy look it up).

I believe it’s more important to focus on producing results for the client, rather than walling the client inside an ecosystem that he can’t control, trapping him in your services so even when something better comes along the client is trapped with you.

Sure there are some services like Apple for example that doesn’t allow users to make changes to their iPhones, but guess what, they do this so the client doesn’t screw something up, not because they’re trying to hark more money out of them.

This sort of reminds me when web designers were charging clients $5,000 for websites that they created from $35 WordPress templates. The jig lasted for a while but is slowly coming to an end. I guess you can make a lot of money from people’s ignorance.

Anyway this post is for next time you choose to engage a video production company:


The last thing you want is to advertise on television only to get a bill from the company that produced your video for an additional $10,000 (exaggeration, you get the idea) because you’ve used the video in a way that you weren’t supposed to.

Just like the lighting/sound system. You paid for it you should be able to use it however you want (that means having dinner with the lights on and watching movies with friends whenever you feel like it).


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