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Czech man who shot the Hillary Clinton fainting video will make more than $100,000 from licensing

If you want to show the 20-second clip, you need to pay Storyful, News Corp’s viral video agency.

Zdenek Gazda via Twitter
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

The jarring video of Hillary Clinton being carried into a van is the story of the week.

It is also a moneymaker for Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch’s News Corp owns Storyful, a company that sources and distributes user-generated video, and Storyful is representing Zdenek Gazda, the man who shot the footage Sunday morning.

Gazda’s video is freely available on Twitter, where it has been retweeted more than 37,000 times. Anyone can embed the video, like we’ve done above, for free.

But Storyful has been charging news organizations that want to use the video in broadcasts or other packages thousands of dollars for usage rights.

Since Sunday, Storyful has been able to charge “a couple hundred thousand” for the rights to the 20-second clip, says Storyful CEO Rahul Chopra. That money will be split between Storyful and Gazda, with Gazda getting the majority, he says.

Repping individual content creators isn’t the core of Storyful’s business. The 150-person group makes most of its money by selling content clearing and acquisition services to news companies, and by helping advertisers and brands source material as well. News Corp bought Storyful for $25 million in 2013.

But the dash to find Gazda and start turning his video into money is a good test case for Storyful’s agency business.

A glance at Gazda’s timeline shows that he was immediately contacted by news organizations asking for permission to show his video, which he initially granted freely. At one point he even published his phone number in response to a request for permission.

Within a couple hours, though, Gazda was inundated with requests and was no longer answering his phone.

Chopra says Storyful was able to contact him by finding his brother, who lives in the Czech Republic, and who organized a Skype call with himself, his brother and Storyful.

Storyful immediately began contacting TV networks and news publishers who had been using the video, and negotiating fees.

Those fees vary depending on the size of the publisher, the way they want to use the video, and the amount of time they want to use it; Chopra says that in some cases publishers have agreed to pay “tens of thousands” of dollars for the footage.

Some have also said that they don’t have to pay a penny for the rights, arguing that display of the video falls under the “fair use” doctrine in U.S. Copyright law. But Chopra says he has won those debates so far, citing “precedent upon precedent.”

But while the video could be a life-changer for Gazda, and a nice payday for Storyful, Chopra says it’s unlikely to be the company’s biggest video of the year: “There are viral videos of a cat or a dog, doing something, that are probably more valuable.”

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