I would like to make a video where I teach something. My friend has a video camera and is willing to record me. Who would own the video?

I ask because I plan on uploading it to some sort of streaming service (or personal website) and would like to choose the correct license on there. Maybe I'm over thinking this but if I'm not the owner then technically I wouldn't have the right to grant a license?

2 Answers 2


In the OP scenario, and in the US, the performer has the rights to the performance, and the cameraman has the rights to the capture of that performance. So it would be best to contract that either he buys rights to your performance, or you buy rights to his capture.

Lets argue you were singing also, then the song writer would have rights to the words, and the music writer would have rights to the music. Every creator of content has rights, but they can be waived, or licensed or transferred.

Of course it is easier to agree that your friend transfers all rights to you.

Aside: I had a pro photographer friend who was on an outing with me, and asked to borrow my camera to capture a photo. I agreed, but on the condition that I would have all rights. Keeping track of who shot what image would get so burdensome.

  • "...or you buy rights to his capture" regarding the terminology, is "capture" the right word? Or should contract say "video" or "recording"?
    – user20887
    Jan 24, 2020 at 9:10
  • You could call it video, but as an imaging scientist I worked with video, film images, sequences of still images, modified vector differences, and other types of imagery. I also use capture because that is where the creativity is exercised...in the capture of the event. Could be imagery, sound, sub sonic vibration, smell or whatever. And there is creative work there, not just set up a phone on a tripod and press the record button. If the OP wanted that, he could set it up himself, and not have to worry about who had what rights.
    – mongo
    Jan 24, 2020 at 17:30

Unless you hire your friend cameraman, he will own the copyright.

So sign a contract with him: you give him $1, he disclaims and/or grants all the copyright to you. Make sure this is actually in writing because, otherwise, presumption of no intention to create legal relations applies as you are friends.

  • 7
    On the other hand, in the U.S. at least, there is a recognition of "performer's rights". The camera person might own the copyright but without a release from the performers, they might be very limited in how they could exploit it. Jan 23, 2020 at 5:12
  • Do you have an example to such a contract that would give the performer the rights? I tried searching but all of the ones I found grant the camera person the rights (which makes me wonder if by default it is the performer who has the rights).
    – user20887
    Jan 23, 2020 at 8:50
  • @user20887 No I don't. You've got the idea from this answer, now you should get a lawyer to get rid of any doubts and draft a contract.
    – Greendrake
    Jan 23, 2020 at 9:11
  • @user20887 Look up "Model Contracts" and other similar documents related to this. Models will often commission their own photos for a portfolio and these releases are common (be it a shared use, where the photographer can use model photos to advertise his photography and models can use the photos for their own self promotion. It's similar enough and common enough that you can find copies. Technically, you don't need a $ figure... you just need consent to use and distribution rights.
    – hszmv
    Jan 23, 2020 at 19:34
  • Alternatively offer to "hire him" and give him a cut of the income in exchange for waiving rights to the use of the footage. Most companies that produce some kind of copyrightable material have agreements with employees that the company owns any work created for them while under employ.
    – hszmv
    Jan 23, 2020 at 19:36

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