Production Company news South Africa

Rights and clearances - How to cut through the red tape for use of those special shots

Clearances are a vital part of the creative production process involving special third-party elements such as stock footage - ensuring that a piece of work can be used without infringing on the rights of others. Knowing where to find that special shot of a sporting, celebrity or famous figure and then negotiating the necessary rights, can be a daunting task. But with the help of international stock footage company, Greatstock, obtaining clearances from rights holders for the commercial use of their images and footage, is stress-free.

Head researcher at Greatstock, Nikki Griffiths, says, "Even though we offer a great selection of premium stock motion content from our own collection and those of our international affiliates, many clients specifically request content that is not regular stock. This includes content from high-profile sporting and entertainment fixtures, shots from well-known feature films, and the use of content featuring famous personalities - all of which need rights and clearances before they can be safely used."

Rights and clearances - How to cut through the red tape for use of those special shots

Greatstock recently assisted cellular giant, MTN, in getting the all-clear on a pan - African project that required specific shots from a Disney feature film and the European Space Agency.

"Another recent project was a Kia TV commercial which consisted almost entirely of quirky shots from social media sites such as YouTube. Multiple producers of diverse video content had to be traced, and rights negotiated to ensure legitimate usage by the client," adds Griffiths.

Sharp negotiating skills and great connections

Clearances obtained by Greatstock give clients assurance that they can use the footage and imagery without any concerns. The company also has experience dealing with the estates of deceased personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi and Ray Charles and many others.

"Agencies and content producers don't realise that a lot of restricted footage requires multi-level clearances. For example, a shot of a sporting personality will often need permission from the featured person, his club or governing body, and the rights-holder for the event concerned. Greatstock has long-standing relationships with sporting bodies such as the Olympic Committee, the Confederation of African Football, the Rugby World Cup, FIFA, UEFA and many more, allowing for efficient and reliable clearances of prime visual," explains Griffiths.

Music is another area that poses unique rights-clearance challenges. "A piece of music can have multiple stakeholders whose permission is required prior to commercial use. Greatstock can assist with negotiating the best possible prices from artists and musical properties," concludes Griffiths.

For more information about Greatstock and its services, or to begin searching its quality range of editorial, creative and feature images and motion imagery, visit

Images, Motion, Services sums up our complementary raft of services - aimed primarily at professionals in the fields of advertising, design, publishing, production and broadcasting. Our expertise and hands-on experience in these fields have been the foundation of our enterprise for more than two decades.
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