Wal-Mart video archive

The WSJ today reported that a small video production company that for years recorded internal meetings and events on Wal-Mart‘s behalf. Having been dumped by its main customer, it has now decided to offer up the content to anyone who wants to have access. Provided they pay of course. It’s apparently a treasure trove for historians and lawyers suing the company. For example one lawyer has paid $15000 to secure copies of video clips on the chance they may be useful in future cases. Wal-Mart not surprisingly is unhappy about this and is considering legal action. The maker of the tapes started working with Wal-Mart in the 1970s and claims he had no contract meaning he owns the content. It made me wonder if this will cause firms to quickly review their contracts to check whether the notes taken by PR staff in meetings become their legal property. We all know that clients tell PR staff information they need to do their jobs that they wouldn’t like to see in places like the WSJ. If there is no contract or the contract is poorly written, who knows where that information will end up in time.