Dear Wal-Mart Executives: You're On Candid Camera... And There's A Big Market For Those Videos

from the oops dept

Allen Funt, the creator of the famed Candid Camera TV show eventually donated the archives of the show to Cornell University, where it could be used for psychology research -- and to entertain the nearly 2,000 students in each year's psych 101 class. Now another long running set of "candid" videos is getting released, but not for academic purposes. A small company named Flagler Productions has, since the 1970s, filmed Wal-Mart's internal meetings for archival purposes. Wal-Mart was, effectively, Flagler's only client (it had a few others, but Wal-Mart represented 95% of the company's business). In 2006, Wal-Mart fired Flagler, basically taking away nearly all of its revenue. Rather than shut down or find new clients, Flagler realized it possessed an asset and started selling access to the behind-the-scenes videos of Wal-Mart executive meetings. Apparently it's been of tremendous interest to folks involved in all sorts of lawsuits against Wal-Mart -- especially for the clips showing execs mocking women (for a sexual discrimination case).

Of course, some might immediately question whether or not Flagler owns the rights to these videos, but no contract was signed between the parties and no transfer of rights was made -- and copyright law basically says whoever recorded it owns the copyright. Of course, the simplest solution would be for Wal-Mart to pay Flagler for the rights -- but it would appear there's something of a gap between asking prices. Wal-Mart has offered $500,000. Flagler wants $145 million. Apparently Flagler realized the best way to bridge the gap was to start selling access to the videos. Wal-Mart hasn't started any legal proceedings (it's probably trying to figure out if it has any case at all), but in quite the understatement, noted: "Needless to say, we did not pay Flagler Productions to tape internal meetings with this aftermarket in mind." Indeed.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 3:35pm

    This is an old story. Just look up irony in the dictionary

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 3:39pm

    Yikes

    I don't know if it's illegal, but it's pretty sneaky and underhanded. Obviously, Flagler has given up on the idea of ever doing business with anyone ever again...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 4:19pm

      Re: Yikes

      I find it funny how you call this sneaky and underhanded.

      1. Selling at below cost to remove competition = Underhanded.
      2. Using your dominant position to force manufacturers to sell to you for less reguardless of material costs = Underhanded.
      3. Siding against American companies in favor of your friends in China = Underhanded.

      Certainly, it may not be a nice thing to do, but neither was anything in the above list. The article didn't say why they fired him, but since it is walmart, it was probably just a whim.

      What you call "underhanded", I call "just desserts". And it couldn't have been served to a better group of people.

       

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        vince, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 6:44pm

        Re: Re: Yikes

        your an idiot, keep shopping your mom and pops, let themm gouge you with their pricing and limit your selection

         

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          ZeTron, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 7:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Yikes

          Limit selection? lol, comedy that was. You'RE funny.

          Don't you realize that just because a Wal-Mart store is huge, it doest mean you have a wider selection of a particular type of product (well, maybe you do have a larger selection of inferior chines products). Wal-Mart is a one stop stop for a variety of items, across the mom&pop retail spectrum. That doesn't mean a more diverse item selection. When a Wal-Mart comes into town and forces a closure of a mom&pop store, or a local/regional chain store; Wal-Mart is *removing/eliminating* diversity. You're only option left is what China, I mean, Wal-Mart sells. If you don't like that item you're SOL, unless you drive countless miles to another town or buy the item online.

          These videos may have captured some highly damaging information. More than just execs mocking women, but also how they drive prices down, or are cutthroat with gaining arm twisting "acceptance" for an invasion into a new town

           

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      Triatomic Tortoise, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 7:42pm

      Re: Yikes

      I believe that company will soon be in legal trouble. They most likely had some kind of confidentiality agreement with Walmart and it is sheer imprudence to do what they are doing. The management probably has lost all senses.

      Many people in this board has commented about a lot of negatives against Walmart. Those allegations against Walmart has nothing to do with what this company is doing with Walmart video recordings. And above all, I do not believe Walmart is an evil corporation. Because, they are playing by the capitalist economic principles. The investors are always watching over their stock prices.

      Mom & pop concept is old and inefficient. People who are supporting that structure are by and large living in the stone ages completely oblivious to today's flat world economy and global competition. Blame on China as much as you want, but once China start pulling their money out of the American system, you will start pulling your hairs out as well. Good luck until then.

       

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        Nana, May 10th, 2008 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re: Yikes

        It was over 30 years ago, and it was a handshake between Mike Flagler and Sam Walton. It may not be smart business now, but it counted back then.

         

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      Nana, May 10th, 2008 @ 11:47am

      Re: Yikes

      Why would they (do further business), they are being inundated with offers for the tapes. Underhanded, is working for a company for 30 years with no complaints and after large overhead investment being dropped with no notice. There are always two sides to a coin.

       

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    Anon, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 4:08pm

    Wal-Mart is a front for the Communist Peoples Republic of China.

     

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    Jake, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 5:46pm

    My personal feelings towards Wal-Mart notwithstanding, I'd suggest that if they're looking for any kind of legal redress, they might try filing a complaint of blackmail.

     

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    Cynic, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 6:03pm

    IANAL but I suspect they could defend themselves against a blackmail (actually I think you mean extortion) charge by just releasing ALL the material into the public domain. Perhaps that possibility has Walmart treading lightly, but it's just a thought.

     

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    ZeTron, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 6:22pm

    This is the second best news I've head all day!

     

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    Rich Loomis, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 6:35pm

    Sure is a Lot of Free Loader Looking for a hand out!

    Isn't it funny that the Unions can't beat the largest retailer into summission and going union but a no good scum bag can take pictures and claim that he is the owner of the rights of the films and then can sell to the corrupt in the United States for a large fee for which Wal-Mart can't defend it'srights as a company. But they still offered to pay blood money but the scum want millions. I would like to know what makes this person worthy. Oh I forgot the scumbags in our courts are looking for a pay check also so they let it be. What a way for us honest folks to have to put up with.

     

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      ZeTron, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 6:42pm

      Re: Sure is a Lot of Free Loader Looking for a hand out!

      Nice try, you communist loving troll. But I was able to see through your thin red veil.

       

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      Alimas, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 6:07am

      Re: Sure is a Lot of Free Loader Looking for a hand out!

      Wow, your comment is almost as funny in its massive amounts of Fail as Wal-Mart is in the blog above.

       

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    ERv, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 7:06pm

    what goes around comes around

    where were the bigshot Wal Mart lawyers on this one....

     

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    who knows, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 7:27pm

    Wal-Mart

    Didn't Hillarey Clinton sit on the board of directors
    for Wal_Marts legal team?
    I wonder what would come of these videos during election time?

     

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    DCX2, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 7:46pm

    No wrong = nothing to worry about?

     

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    DCX2, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 7:49pm

    If you didn't do anything wrong

    ...then you have nothing to worry about.

    Right?

    (sorry for doublepost, accidental enter)

     

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    Lord Goth, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 8:12pm

    Flagger hooray

    Way to go Flagger! A few years ago I would have had a much different response, but when you give your time, service and loyalty to a company and then they let you go and leave you (and family) high and dry...well then I would have to say that this is justice. Yes I know that laying people off is just part of doing business, in the same respect what Flagger did is also just part of doing business even if it was an underhanded tactic.

     

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    damien, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 8:46pm

    About time

    Well, good for the photography company.
    Free Loader??...Hand out??....Wtf?... THAT is called business

    Rich Loomis your a fucking idiot
    O and ignorant to boot

    I dont think that the lawyers have much of a case on this the way the copyright laws sit...

    500k? that is cheap, too cheap.
    145 million is a cheap fair price, for what could be contained on the videos.
    Think about how many lawsuits there are and have been against walmart,
    How much would they be worth if walmart lost them?
    What will happen when this get to be in the public domain?

    HA HA Walmart
    reap what you sow, so pay up

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 9:46pm

    Capitalism at its best, kudos to flagler in their innovation and thinking outside the square. Every exec at Walmart would be trying to cover their butts and realizing that both hands are not enough. I'd really like to see what is going on in their board rooms now.

    I'm off to youtube to find one of these vids :)

    Shagger Green lasers rulz

     

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    Wolfy, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 9:47pm

    I'm a freelance videographer. Typically, the client receives a copy of my work. I keep the master copy. Until lawyers get involved, that is...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 10:20pm

    Mocking women in sexual harasment suits?

    Daymn... That IS fucking evil. here *I* was thinking Wal-mart was just a free-market company with no good or evil, but.... wow... That's fucking evil

     

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    Rekrul, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 11:48pm

    If WalMart didn't have a contract saying that they owned the rights to the videos in question, then the company has every right to sell them.

    As for the people defending WalMart; I uess you never saw the undercover reports where they sent people to Chinese sweat shops where there were children as young as 9-10 making clothes and asked them "Can we get the same kind of deal as WalMart?" and were told "Sure!". When the tape was played for a WalMart executive, he just sat there with a shocked look on his face and then walked out of the interview.

    One of the WalMart stores that was used in its TV ads to show how dedicated they are to the community and how happy the employees are, was closed not long after the commercial was filmed and all the employees fired.

    Because of its family image, WalMart will only sell movies and music that it approves of. That's their right you say. Yes it is, but they don't just refuse to carry certain CDs/DVDs, they use their large market position to force the music & movie studios to produce edited versions that they can sell. Any time you buy an R-Rated DVD at WalMart, you can never be sure that you're getting an uncensored copy.

     

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    oops, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 2:29am

    I certainly hope that Flagler makes copies of these tapes and ships them to a safe-haven country. If walmart files suit and manages to win, Flagler can say the copies were stolen, then hop on a plane and fly to someplace like Darfur and auction the stuff off on ebay.

     

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    oops oops, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 2:31am

    Once they're in the public domain, it doesn't much matter what legal position walmart has on them.

    I'd love to see the exec meeting where they plotted to knowingly hire illegals in many of their stores. LET THE TRUTH COME OUT!

     

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    Shoots for a living (profile), Apr 11th, 2008 @ 6:20am

    Uh, no

    When somebody PAYS you to shoot something, it is called "Work for Hire" and the person/entity paying for the production owns all rights to it. Physical possession of the tapes means nothing.

    Mall-Wart will crush these guys. End of story.

     

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      RationalGuy, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 10:11am

      Re: Uh, no

      Guess you've never been married and PAID a photographer / videographer to commemorate the event.

      Don't you go letting those pesky FACTS get in the way. ;)

       

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      paul fletcher, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 1:32pm

      wrong - bar room lawyer

      Unless your contract specifically says you are operating as a photographer for hire (and these guys had no such contract) then you retain copyright to all created work. He was a contractor working on other issues and there was no contract regarding the taping - therefore it all belongs to him.

      Why else do you think they made him an offer? they know he owns the copyright and are trying to get with paying as little as possible.

       

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      Marsha Hendershot, Apr 21st, 2008 @ 8:27pm

      Re: Uh, no

      NO...they won't..knowing, Wal-Mart as I do...their running
      scared right about now...$500.000 is pocket change to them..

      But $145 million is another story...Flagger Productions has them by the BALLS.....Mike Flagger has a story of a Life Time...setting right in his lap..getting the GOODS or should I say FOREIGN GOODS on Wal-Mart is PRICELESS...No amount of money...could EVER BE ENOUGH for WHAT I HAD TO ENDURE....And I hope Mr.Flagger will NOT let Wal-Mart get their way..for a change...They need to be exposed for the TRUE COMPANY that they are...Folks..just for a moment..

      This Texas Blue Eyes are Watching you Wal-Mart
      What! was the one thing we ALL heard for many years...

      .....Guaranteed Lowest Prices Anywhere....
      Next To "Made in the U.S.A."
      {And I am Not so sure about that anymore either}
      That is called Brain Washing..
      And we feel for it....Hook,Line and Sinker..

      And Now..who's turn is it to turn the tables on them...US

      I want everyone to see them for the SCUM BAGS they are...

      If..you truly want to get back at them..don't ever step foot back into a Wal-Mart store..And..Just sit back and watch them Squirm..you will see PANIC!! and FEAR!! like never before...and believe me when, I say...
      You Will see Grown Men Cry...
      For They Will Have Just LOST ALL THEIR WAL-MART STOCKS.

      And,I am talking MILLIONS of STOCKS..
      Which Means Millions of DOLLARS..That's the ONE Thing
      They DEPEND ON..Other Company's and People and there own
      employees own stock,if don't die first,that is your
      retirement...NO Sales..No Profit..No Stocks..

      How Do I Know This..When they were busted for not promoting
      Women for Asst. Manager's and Manager's positions, I didn't
      have a choice..I was going into the training program..
      And..that is all we heard....Stocks,Stocks,Stocks,Stocks...

      For without Stocks..
      they will go down to "O" zero...
      If you don't have any sales.
      Would you??? Invest YOUR Money with them...

      I Don't Think So...

      Anyway..think about it...
      I haven't been back to Wal- Mart sense I left..in 1991..
      And..found I don't need there Cheap Foreign Cramp

      I have Alternative ways...I support our Local Business
      and get what I need Cheaper than at Wal-Mart..

      Anyway..I could go on an on........

      I Have Stared My Own website if anyone is interested
      go to Meetup.com do your little password thing..
      Type in Boycott Wal-Mart..my ZIP CODE is 77320 and
      I will be listed as
      Huntsville,TX and America Boycott Wal-Mart..
      log on if you like Commits and Views are always
      (welcome just keep it clean)

      Flagger Productions...Thank You, for helping all the women
      of Wal-Wart..but,we need to remember some male employees
      where treated badly too..

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2008 @ 9:01am

      Re: Uh, no

      It's only considered "works made for hire" if there is a written contract stating so. No contract. Works belong to the production company.

       

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    Krash, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 7:23pm

    Mal Wart

    I have a friend who has been to MalWarts executive headquarters and every time he goes there he says they are holding hands with satan.
    Maybe if they look hard enough they will find satan sitting at the head of the table with a gavel in his hand.

     

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    Also Experienced, Apr 12th, 2008 @ 5:51am

    Oh please "shoots for a living" ... when I've done work for hire, I've signed a work for hire *agreement*. Why do people keep spouting off without reading the article carefully? There was never an agreement, so they own the copyright and own the tapes. As RationalGuy states, this is very commonly discovered by brides and grooms who realize belatedly that they don't own the rights to their own wedding video.

     

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    Nana, May 10th, 2008 @ 11:43am

    I have personal knowledge that your quoted $145K asking price is far from fact. Maybe these tapes will shine Wal-Marts true colors?

     

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    Jan Allison, Jul 2nd, 2009 @ 7:13pm

    wal mart's sell out of the obama's health care program

    Wal mart has sold out to obama's socialistic health care program and we will not stand for it. Wal mart is supposed to be American backed not communist backed. We will not support you in this way!~!~ Either rescind your endorsement or we will fight against you. The all-mighty dollar will win!!!

     

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    Aries, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    I worked in two years in a company but i have nothing interest with their common suffics. Laser pointer Green lasers, red lasers, blue lasers & powerful laser pointer.

     

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    chloeelvis (profile), May 19th, 2010 @ 1:29am

    nice

    your post is really very interesting. Wal mart is quite popular in my resisdant,and i spend my spare time on playing with green laser pointer from http://www.cnilaserpointer.com/

     

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    Alana, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 12:11am

    Re: Aries

    It is a waste of time to do nasty jobs without any interests. Doing things with big interest will make you fall in love with it and do your best. I would always relax myself with an astronomy series green laser pointer in my spare time.

     

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    Stella Mian, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 1:01am

    The majority of my community would like to choose wal-mart,and it is really a nice place for shopping and relaxing, most adults would like to pointing a laser pointer while going shopping there. It is pretty nice way of relax.

     

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    identicon
    Stella Mian, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 1:02am

    The majority of my community would like to choose wal-mart,and it is really a nice place for shopping and relaxing, most adults would like to pointing a laser pointer while going shopping there. It is pretty nice way of relax.

     

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    identicon
    Laser Pointer, Jul 12th, 2011 @ 12:32am

    Lasers

    Awesome! I think?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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