Contract (Caught on Tape)

break.jpgAs regular readers know, two of my videos were placed on without my consent. To its credit, Break quickly fixed the attribution, and offered to pay me $400. The contract was fairly restrictive so I decided to forgo the money. Some of you were begging me to expose the event, but I decided to keep quiet.

Then I saw this video of someone accusing of not paying, and Break placed it on its homepage to prove otherwise. That’s when I decided to take this phone call from Break about the $400.

Caught on tape… the shocking details of the $400 Break contract. And here it is on YouTube in case the Break folks decide they don’t like it.

DISCLAIMER: Feb. 20, 2007.

The good folks from Break contacted me about this because they thought I was really ticked. Let me clarify two important things. They didn’t steal my videos. They were posted by a user and somehow listed under someone else’s name. Obviously if Break made a habit of ripping videos and putting them under user accounts, they’d be smart enough to use their own aliases (instead of the name of someone who would obviously catch them). Secondly, the price is decent. $400 is more than you’ll make on most sites, and you get huge exposure since Break homepage videos get more views than almost any other site. I actually decided against the contract because I don’t have release forms for the two videos that appeared. Hard to get release forms for people you prank at a mall.

Despite the disclaimer I somehow fear I’ve been featured for the last time on Break! πŸ™

24 Replies to “ Contract (Caught on Tape)”

  1. $1.80….my ad revenue since june 2006,and looks like in not even getting paid for that:”Please note that cannot send payments for revenues that have been generated but have not been received by It looks like we haven’t sent you any payments yet.”(and probably never will!)

  2. I think you made the right decision turning down their contract.

    In my pure speculation, I’m positive there were more evil twists throughout than would be beneficial to you in the long run. The industry is far too immature to trust any company trying to pioneer designs for mass consumer payment in one-time ‘settlement’ sums.

    A more fair deal than the one I’m imagining would include an offer to pay you for a whole package of your videos, and your agreement to some exclusivity on their site for only some time. A lot can happen in a year. Hell, even a few months … This almost sounds like the situation of selling your house and letting the buyer tell you what it’s worth instead of getting an appraisal from a qualified real estate agent.

    It’s technically us, the public, who now determines the worth of ‘new media’ content, which is partly what makes YouTube so exhilarating. But I’m starting to feel the iron gates come down on this in a way that’s hard to explain.

    I know what users YouTube would like me to get into. Their signature videos have been on homepage rotation for 6 months now. Just by default, then, the site can practically control popularity (because this plan seems to be effective). And that kind of power is very attractive to … those already in power or who desperately want to be, and are willing to change everything for it — and can because we’re a whole world trying to organize ourselves.

    Ok, I totally went off on a tangent. I just hope this continues to be fun for you, and you don’t undersell yourself. Cause what does $400 really buy you? Diapers.

  3. yea a contract where they would own the rights to your name is never a good idea. Oh and what Marquisdejolie said (said)!

  4. The video was clearly a joke – hence the outtakes at the end…

    Off camera, did they actually try to convince you to sign a contract handing over your rights to your videos and use of your name, or are you just having a little fun?

  5. We did have a line about first-born son. But as they say in director commentaries “we had to remove it to keep the pacing.” Truth is they do have strict requirements.
    -Indemnify Break of any liability (standard)
    -Assign all of my rights to Break (somewhat standard)
    -Warrant that I have rights of content (standard)
    -You must submit any additional video to Break first before submitting it to other sites (ridiculous)
    -You guarantee that you have permission of all parties (hard to do in most cases- I don’t have release forms for the people at the mall)

  6. The name thing (not allowed to use Nalts on other sites) was a joke. But I do believe that you’re giving Break exclusive rights. That means you can’t sell it to anyone else. That’s a deal breaker for me unless there’s more money.

  7. This video seriously cracked me up. Oh, and re: my comment, I’m not that good, Kevin, I just have a good memory, and read a comment where you said who you collaborated with. πŸ™‚

    Someone needs to track down Deathwish808, and send him a link to this video. Something tells me that he’d enjoy it.

  8. “-You guarantee that you have permission of all parties (hard to do in most cases- I don’t have release forms for the people at the mall)”

    There are a bunch of technicalities on this one. The mall is not considered a public place, but they would be fool hearty to sue, since every mall has a camera shop, some sort of fashion event, not to mention a santa. I’m sure there’s a court ruling on this somewhere. Sounds like a lot of butt covering to me, and not yours.

    “You must submit any additional video to Break first before submitting it to other sites (ridiculous)”
    “The name thing…”

    Time for an agent and a good lawyer.

  9. Four hundred bucks huh? Laughable. And, as is noted above, it’s pretty hard to crack YouTube now. It’s all been done and it’s all been sung. Unless you got in early. Whadyagodda do now to break through – neck yourself online? It’s like Digg – you tried posting something there? Forgetaboutit – the early birds have established their roosts and the pecking order is set in concrete. I’m seriously thinking of giving up on it all and going off surfing. YouBoob have had 650,000 views of my rubbish and I haven’t seen a cent. And not even a thankyou either. And those pricks are wallowing in the dosh. Leaves a very nasty taste in my mouth – if you know what I mean.

  10. My guess is that permission from other parties will become more prevalent. Image rights should be treated like copyrights.

    You signing a contract doesn’t release Break’s liability. You don’t have the right to indemnify them on behalf of a third party who may complain. They may be able to claim that you were the first one responsible, but they still broadcast the image. This is similar to what Napster’s argument was “We didn’t steal anything – our users did – and they accepted an agreement saying it wasn’t our responsibility.” We all know how successful that argument was.

    Nalts – let’s test it. I’ll shoot a video of you, post it on break and sign away your rights. Any lawyers out there interested in some pro-bono, Web2.0 litigation work?

  11. “You don’t have the right to indemnify them on behalf of a third party who may complain”

    That’s right. My UCC commercial law class is starting to come back to me now. Heeeeeeeeeey, these uploading sites are looking Nixoner and Agnewer the more I look at them.

  12. There were so many mentions of fake restrictions that were filmed that were not put in the video!

    I think Nalts should do a “corrected version” to account for the fact that Break has clarified some of the issues.

    Also, the reason I haven’t signed a contract like that is because I lose all rights to the video. I’m kind of partial to my work, and in many cases, I can’t sign contracts like that because of release forms or previous agreements.

  13. there’s that little tricky business with the music. How is that going to be handled?

    Excepting money for ad clicking vs selling your work.

    tricky tricky business

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