Wal-Mart Execs Behaving Badly: Who Owns the Videos?
By Tim Armstrong, Derek Bambauer, and William McGeveran.
Paul Caron brought an interesting piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal to my attention: Candid Camera: Trove of Videos Vexes Wal-Mart. The story: about 30 years ago, Wal-Mart hired a small video production firm to record meetings of Wal-Mart’s executives, as well as speeches, shareholder meetings, sales presentations, and the like. The video recording outfit kept all its tapes, never overwriting them with new material. As a result, over the years the firm accumulated a massive library of video recordings documenting life inside Wal-Mart ? including some footage of executives saying and doing things they surely later wished hadn’t been recorded.
Two years ago, the retail giant and the video recording firm parted ways. Now, to Wal-Mart’s understandable chagrin, the video firm has offered to open its archives ? for a fee ? to all sorts of people who take a rather dim view of Wal-Mart: plaintiffs’ lawyers, labor organizations, documentary filmmakers, and the like, many of whom have already paid substantial amounts for damning clips from the video firm’s archives.
From the article:
Wal-Mart isn’t pleased. “It’s difficult to understand how the company could now sell to third parties the material we paid it to produce on our behalf,” says a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. “Needless to say, we did not pay Flagler Productions to tape internal meetings with this aftermarket in mind.” She adds that the company is “reviewing our legal options.”
Let’s review those legal options along with them, shall we?
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