Selling Video Footage to Media, Legal or Illegal and How Much


Does anyone know how much do you get for selling newsworthy footage to the media (eg channel 9 )

I understand it will be depend on the footage, just an approx

I am thinking of career change if the money is good

Is it illegal to sell the footage that you obtain from your own video camera,
phone, dashcam or security camera?



  • +7

    Put a price on it and see how you go.. Career change or location change (jail)

  • +3

    It's not illegal to sell, provided the filming itself was legal. Selling footage happens regularly. I wouldn't go withholding footage of an incident under police investigation though :p It was interesting watching various media organisations trying to get the first twitter image from the Flinders St incident. I think that guy should be paid given papers profit from his work.

    • Hi

      So if the person happens to be at the venue when the event happen and sell the footage to the media for exclusivity

      Is it illegal?
      If not, how much is the reward?

      As you mentioned the media will try to get exclusive footage from twitter anyway

      • Just my guess, but the security footage of the Flinders St incident as an exclusive might have commanded $10-20k if brokered correctly. Other people's guesses are welcome.

        If you have something, I would probably try the most shameless agent there is, Max Markson.

  • +2

    Like spiderman

    The person who commits the crime gets the best photos

    But will the law allow it?

  • Let me provide Some examples?

    1. Your dashcam recorded car accident, is it illegal to sell to media?

    2. You happens to be at the park just minding your own business and see someone famous (politician, sportsman, entertainer, etc) kissing another person other than his/ her partner. Is it illegal to take a picture and sell it to media.

    3. You are at the beach and see someone famous and took their picture, is it illegal?

    4. You witness a public servants doing something wrong, you recorded and sell it to the media, is it illegal?

    How much do you think the rewards are since the paper / media will make huge profit from your footage especially if you sell it exclusively to one media organisation only?

    Has anyone ever done it

    As I mention before, I am thinking of careers change if the reward is good

    • This is something you should ask a lawyer about.

      • +7

        But scrimshaw he's asking us, Australia's foremost bargains website!

      • +2

        I realise to get a legally actionable piece of advice, asking a lawyer is necessary, but for people anything like me - "thought bubble" hey, I'm pretty good at that, I wonder if pursuing it is a good idea?" leads to a simple Internet post to ask the combined mind of people prepared to answer with their thoughts or opinions for free, and in minutes.
        If my thought bubble was dumb, people tell me very quickly, saving me time and money.
        If my thought bubble might be clever, most of the responses are, "well, nobody does that, and I can think of ways it might come unstuck unless you are careful". That second message is the Internet's way of telling you that you might be onto something.

        • Some examples:
          - what if I made an app to let private drivers act like taxis?
          - what if I made a website to let people rent out rooms?
          - what if I gave away email accounts?
          - what if I cut people out of the transaction and let customers choose their (any financial service) directly on the web?

    • +6

      I am thinking of careers change if the reward is good

      There's not that much need for Paparazzi in Australia. Wrong country to consider a career change.

      • Are you serious??!!

        • Yep, for sure…

    • +2

      I met a paparazzi photographer that said he'd climb balconies to get a shot.

      He looked like someone that had been released from prison after serving time for a lesser conviction. Always had a straight face and greasy af.

    • Better question
      Are you ruining someone's life?
      Have they done something to deserve it?
      Can you live with the moral and ethical consequences of what occurs afterwards, presuming that you have such a code where those things are of value?

  • -1

    So your dashcam recorded the bowling smash in Melbourne ?

  • if you catch something dodgy and try to sell it don't be surprised to be accused of attempted blackmail. Great way to suppress footage especially if anything to do with someone rich , famous or government.

    • +2


  • +3

    The ABC recently ran a story related to this (though not so much the selling part) 'Filming an emergency on your phone or camera? Know your rights before you press record'

  • +3

    I have had a couple of times where I have seen the aftermath of an accident or a fight n the street, I just cannot bring myself to film (even though I am guilty of watching some of the footage of other personal phone recordings).

    I figure some poor guy could be dying, don't be that guy to film it.

  • the longer you hold onto it the more likely chance there is of someone providing the footage free of charge

    i was involved in an accident years ago and the only footage was from a security cam outside the building near the carpark entrance.

    i had been smoking with the security guard when a taxi mounted the kerb and nearly killed us crashing into the building next door.

    when the news crew rocked up he just gave them a copy of the footage no charge.

    the question is how much is the footage worth to you?

  • +1

    Ozbargain pay eneloop!

  • +1

    Where I live it is a chore for the media to come out and film stuff, an hour plus on the road.
    There is a local guy who listens to the scanner (although I think it is encrypted these days?) and monitors twitter, and turns up at car crashes, major police operations etc. to take some pics and video.
    I see his by line often enough to guess it is worth his time to bother, but I guess not nearly enough to make a job of it.

    The major media have people on salary to image predictable stuff (parliament, court cases, celebrities) so they can be despatched to cover a nearby happening pretty quickly.
    You could likely get there quicker if you were focussed, but then you need to have something more valuable than what they could get for no extra ("free") sending their own person who arrived a bit later, or some other angle.

    There is no shortage of footage of deadly car smash clean up footage on the news already.

    Legally, you can film and sell anything you want in a public space, you only begin to have issues if you infringe somebody's expectation of privacy (filming through their bathroom window from across the road or something). Even then it is not cut and dried if you can argue they were 'in public'.

  • +2

    Watch Nightcrawler for motivation.

    • Was gonna suggest that. Link for OP's convenience: Night Crawler (2014)

      • Me too. This is how it works in US. Should be somewhat similar here. Enter the darkside.

  • As long as you have both feet on public property you can film just about whatever you want.
    It doesn't matter if its a crime incident, royalty, celebrity, etc.
    However, once you try and sell that picture/audio/video it becomes a commercial transaction, so some things are protected.
    Crime scenes are not.
    Bear in mind that some areas to which the public are admitted, even if free of charge, are still private.
    Car parks, shopping centres and private streets, (not repairable at public expense), are the obvious ones.
    Contrary to common belief, most photographers and journalists are not salaried; they earn money by selling stories and pictures, so there is a lot of competition out there.

  • Merged from What Are My Rights When Obtaining Dashcam Footage?

    Lets say you accidentally or on purpose obtain a footage in public place (dashcam in your car, you happens to be at the right place and right time, etc). The footage is YOURS from your device so there is no question of copyright.

    Are you able to sell the footage to the media in Australia without getting into trouble with the law


    1. Politician or celebrity doing something naughty but not illegal such as Fench kiss someone that is not their spouse.

    2. Politicians or celebrities doing something questionable but might not be illegal like poo in public park or spanking their kids.

    3. Politicians or celebrities doing something illegal like thrown a rubbish from car window or hire a prostitute

    4. My dashcam show a police tackling a shoplifter, the police didn't do anything wrong. Can I sell the footage

    Or a different scenario

    1. You happens to be at the back of the getaway car that just rob a bank, you called the police and follow the geteway car from distance while your dashcam record everything. Can you sell the footage later to the media?

    Feel free to add more examples :)

    Why am I asking this question?

    Bored and need a back up plan to make money in case I lost my job if Australia have Covid 2nd or 3rd waves.

    • Isn't that what they do in the states? That's why they follow celebrities non stop?

      Not sure here though. We don't have as much freedom, more implied…

    • There are actually people who make a living out of it. Nightcrawler is a pretty good movie about it.

    • I searched "paparazzi legal australia" - this one might cover the "acts" you are thinking of TLTR

      You can summarise it for us :)

    • Pooling in the park is illegal isn't it?

      • +1

        If it's in a swimming pool then no

        • I was trying to type pooing, auto corrected lol

    • Sell the footage of Pete Evans to New Idea and call yourself a journalist like Assange.
      (Not legal advice).

    • In public where there is no expectation of privacy, have at it. You might get a badly worded and an ill researched cease and desist letter from Solution Law, so be wary…

      And hiring a prostitute is illegal? What state as we talking here? Are they an independent sex worker or part of a pimp’s collection? Has money or services been exchanged?

      • Pimp's collection, let's use Hugh Grant as example

        • Hugh Grant was the pimp? Or being pimped out? Pretty sure that the procurement of said prostitute is not illegal, but the “pimping” of a prostitute in some states is illegal.

          So, while the celebrity may be doing something some may view as immoral by hiring the prostitute (and even that is debateable, for example, are they married?) I don’t think it is illegal for someone to “hire” a prostitute in most states of Australia. (Happy for someone to provide legislation saying otherwise… make for a fun read…)

            • @Siasia: Are you asking about what is legal in the USA or Australia?

              In example (3) you state that if you see “a politician or celebrity doing something illegal… such as hiring a prostitute”. In Australia, it is not illegal to procure the services of a sex worker. While your opinion of it may be based on a moral standpoint, that does not automatically make it illegal. Salacious and tabloid worthy, perhaps, police interest, probably not.

              Your Hugh Grant example is invalid, because his crime was not committed in Australia. So, your example (3) is a bad example. Better examples would have been something like “getting into a car, blind drunk, driving 50m and crashing into parked cars and driving off” or “ physically abusing staff by throwing telephones around”.

              Your “littering” example would have little to no interest to tabloid news papers, it might garner the same response from police. A small fine at most. Hardly front page news, unless it’s the head of the EPA or an environment minister.

    • +1

      need a back up plan to make money in case I lost my job

      Instead of wasting your time asking nonsense questions, which rely on random opportune events, you might be better giving serious thought to your back up plan.

      • +1

        Surprised to hear OP has a job; four posts in one day asking nonsense questions …

        • Day Off for 2 days and bored.

    • I don't think you should follow the bank robbers as if they they crash and die you may get charged with something a'la the bloke who pursued teens that stole his car.

  • I sold footage of a massive factory fire to 9News. I took about 15 minutes of video and uploaded to my google drive and gave them the link.

    I actually gave them a small 15 second snippet first with a large text watermark saying "SAMPLE VIDEO. NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION " in big letters incase they tried to steal it.

    I made a $1000 and they only used like 5 seconds of it lol.

    The first time I talked to 7News they were like nah, we good. So I tried 9News and they were like noice.

    There were like 50 other people filming but looks like I was the only one who sold it though. You gotta be quick, The fire happened around 2PM and I had it ready for the news dudes so they could put it in the 6pm news.

    • How did you initiate the transaction? Send footage and then hope they honour the invoice you send or did you wait for payment first? Did you contact them via Facebook or other means?

      • Sent them a message with my request, said I have a sample clip.

        Once they were interested, I sent them the sample watermarked clip. They took like 10 minutes to double check with the boss. Then they agreed to buy the footage and asked me to upload files to a cloud storage and share the link.

        It was all in written communication so no on the phone. Payment took like 2 weeks.

        I think I contacted the dude through Whatsapp lol.