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.

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Companies: wal-mart

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Comments on “Dear Wal-Mart Executives: You're On Candid Camera… And There's A Big Market For Those Videos”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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.

ZeTron says:

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

Triatomic Tortoise says:

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.

Rich Loomis says:

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.

Lord Goth says:

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.

damien says:

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

Rekrul says:

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.

paul fletcher (user link) says:

Re: 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.

Marsha Hendershot says:

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… 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 will see PANIC!! and FEAR!! like never before…and believe me when, I say…
You Will see Grown Men Cry…

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 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 do your little password thing..
Type in Boycott 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..

Also Experienced says:

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.

Jan Allison says:

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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