I’m addicted to watching viral motovlog videos as they appear on the net.
I’m lucky enough (or is it unlucky enough?) to have never been in the situation where my Dashcam or Helmetcam have ever recorded a really nasty incident – be it a fight, crash or road rage. But I’ve sometimes thought what should I do if I did record something? Contact the news papers or TV news station? Just post to Youtube and sit back? Submit it to one of those online viral video sites? Post it with annoying screen overlays saying “do not use without permission”?
I found an interesting article on Reddit which answered all my questions:
A heads up to fellow Roadcammers. If you capture something interesting/dramatic/newsworthy on your dashcam, you’ll probably be getting requests from various people wanting to use your video. The only reason this is happening is because your video is worth money, and they’re hoping you’ll just give it to them for free so that they can profit from it. Brokers may also contact you.
- Monetize your Youtube channel now (enable Adsense), beforehand! You will want to do this ASAP so that it will be ready if you catch something that ends up going viral. You can’t claim Adsense revenue retroactively – if your video gets 20 million views and isn’t monetized beforehand, you won’t earn any revenue.
- Don’t let other channels use your video for free. You’re only being asked because the other channel owners make money from reposting videos and compilations on their channel. You will see zero benefit from these.
- Don’t give video away to TV networks. They will gladly pay for something newsworthy. Again, you will see no benefit from a credit line.
- You will not see any traffic or any benefit at all from a “credit” line. People tend to be lazy online, that is, virtually no one ever searches for an original video. They will always re-share the one that’s in their Facebook/Twitter/Reddit feed.
- The nicer compilation channels will ask you permission to take your video, but there are many shady channel owners that will just steal it outright. You have the right to file a DMCA takedown with Youtube to have the stolen copy removed, even if it is part of a compilation. “Fair use” is always claimed by these channel operators, but it is not. This is a complex topic that I won’t go into here, but you can Google it. I recommend viewing the four criteria the Copyright Office uses as guidelines for fair use.
- Any other copy of your video on the internet WILL take views away from your original. Consider this before letting anyone use or repost your video anywhere, Facebook included. It can and will go viral instead of your original copy, taking views, subscribers and real money away from you (if your channel is monetized). See the Smarter Every Day video on Freebooting for a good overview of this point.
- Brokers can be a good thing, they have contacts with TV/media buyers and handle all billing/negotiating on your behalf. Make sure your broker is paying you a percentage of all gross sales, NEVER accept a flat fee for a video.
- Do at least an occasional search for unauthorized copies of your video, and issue DMCA takedowns. If you don’t keep this in check every so often, the thieves will be taking a big chunk of your views.
In the end, what you decide to do with your video is up to you, even giving it away if you so choose. Just know that when you’re being asked, it’s because you have something of value that others want to profit from. You should see that benefit rather than someone else.
Source: I’ve been a freelance news cameraman since 2003, regularly sell to TV networks and have a Youtube channel with videos that occasionally go viral.