PDA

View Full Version : wedding + copyrighted music = ???



FatBird19
01-04-2006, 02:25 AM
I think it's pretty obvious that anyone you create a wedding, reception, barmitzfa(sp?), etc video for is going to want to use copyrighted music in the final DVD (unless of course they're scene emo folk and they'd prefer that you use a local band's stuff...unlikely).

So what do major wedding and event videographers do about this?
Do they pay for the music? Is there some license they get to permit this? Does the RIAA just not care that much(about as likely to happen as using local bands for a wedding video)?

eh?

Joe Kras
01-04-2006, 04:10 PM
***Disclaimer*** I don't do weddings.

Your only legal recourse is to use non-copyrighted music. This can be music you perform, original music by local groups, music you create electronically with programs such as Acid and GarageBand, or with a program such as Soundtrack Pro.

You can also buy music from music libraries, which can get a little pricey for a small project.

The one thing you can't afford to do (unless you're doing Bill Gates' wedding) is to buy the rights to popular music. It just costs too much. Just owning the music gives you no right to use it in a commercial production.

Supposedly there have been prosecutions of those who produce wedding videos, but not a lot of them.

So do you feel lucky? Personally, it's not worth it to me.

Prodigi
01-04-2006, 04:29 PM
The way my lawyer told me to protect myself is, get the music from the client. Basically if they want a certain song on their wedding video they must provide the CD for you, and legally own it. Or you could purchase it for them and charge them the cost of the CD, give them the receipt of course. If it's legally purchased by the client, they are legally entitled to make as many copies as they want for their own personal pleasure. Now if they want to give out copies of their DVD’s to their family and friends, then it becomes their problem.

Joe Kras
01-04-2006, 05:01 PM
Was that your personal lawyer, or an entertainment lawyer? Because I've seen articles on the web from those that work with this that say that that specific maneuver does NOT protect you.

They can make as many copies as THEY want, to be used for non-commercial use. YOU cannot use that music in a commercial manner (including giving it right back to them).

The law sucks. But that's the law.

FatBird19
01-04-2006, 07:14 PM
Yes it's the law, and the law sucks. :angry:


Do you think this guy's statements in this article are legitimately true?:
http://3d-album.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6706&sid=87598aaafe92e3282bf48814bbe46816

Joe Kras
01-04-2006, 08:03 PM
Here is an older article (from 2003) that discusses this:

http://tinyurl.com/bud94

I don't know if his statements are true or not. But I don't have the wherewithall to fight a legal battle with any of the big boys, and don't have the desire to bet the house (literally) on each video I make.

Prodigi
01-05-2006, 12:34 AM
Hey Joe, your link didn't work. It required that I enter a login and password.

Anyways, The info I got was from my business lawyer, but I spoke with an entertainment lawyer tonight and he agreed that it is perfectly legal to use copyrighted material for personal use on wedding videos as long as the so called "Client" provided it. This is not considered a commercial use of the material, it is a home use which is legal. You're not charging anymore money to the client for the use of copyright material, and their not making any profit from it either.

Here's a quote from the link fatbird19 left:
http://3d-album.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6706&sid=87598aaafe92e3282bf48814bbe46816

"On the other hand, there are many who believe that certain provisions of the Act may mean that music used for individual “home use,” as opposed to use for commercial distribution, does not constitute infringement. For example, Section 107 (paragraph 1) of the Copyright Act says “...the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified...is not an infringement of copyright.” The Act states that several factors are used to determine “fair use.” One is “the purpose and character of the use,” another factor cited is “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work” (Section 107 paragraph 2). Other related matters may come into play here as well, specifically the “Betamax decision” of the late '70s which “legalized” taping of copyrighted works for home use".

My thought is that as long as there is no money being made on the use of the song there is no legal conflict. You're not selling the music to the client, you're selling the service. They're the ones that wanted the song in the first place. Plus if they own the music (CD) they has every right to make as many copies as they want, as long as they don't make a profit from it.

Here's a question: Does a DJ have the right to play copyrighted material at a club even though they don't own the rights? I think so, they're providing a service, not a product.

dr_stupid
01-05-2006, 08:27 AM
My understanding is that it is not just an issue of owning the music. If your client bought a CD and you made a copy of that CD and gave it back to them, fine. That's legal. But what you are really doing is taking the music and putting it along side a video production. Which, in the techno-jargon of the copyright world, is called "syncing" the music. You have taken what the artist created and the record company recorded and released, and you have changed it by syncing it to visual images. This requires a sync license, and there is no way around it, no matter who owns the recording.

At least that's my understanding, but I'm not a lawyer. Got most of my info from this nice article by Douglas Spotted Eagle:
http://www.digitalproducer.com/2004/02_feb/features/02_09/copyright_caveats.htm

galt
01-05-2006, 08:49 AM
Getting paid for the music has nothing to do with it. If your argument stood up, then Napster file-sharing would have been okay because no one was selling anything. And while you can make a copy for personal use, as soon as you change it in form (synching it) you are stealing someones work. There are hundreds of threads here on this discussion, do a search. I am not going to repeat them yet again.

Prodigi
01-05-2006, 10:00 AM
Thanks for the link Dr. Stupid, very informative!

Tainted
01-05-2006, 10:13 AM
I think if you shot the video, owned the music, synced it yourself, only used it for personal use, and never released it publically or commercially, you might be covered under fair use. BUT the minute any of those variables change, I think you have problems. In the case of wedding videos, the music was synced and the final product was sold, so I think you'd be hard-pressed to win that lawsuit if it ever got that far regarless of who "owned" the music CD that was ripped.

Joe Kras
01-05-2006, 11:42 AM
Here are some quotes from the article (written by Jay Rose on the DV.com forum after talking with an entertainment attorney, Kevin Koloff):
----------------------------------------------------------------------

...As Koloff explains, "A copyright is actually a bundle of rights. When you create a piece of music, you have the right to publish it and sell copies, or get paid when anyone performs it in public. But you also have the exclusive right to make changes to it, derive another work from it, and decide who else can derive works from it. Guess what: If you write a song and Joe Blow uses it in his movie, TV spot, or arguably even his wedding video, Joe's film is now a derivative work and needs your permission." What's involved is called a synchronization right because the producer has locked images (or voices--it also applies to audio-only recordings) in a fixed relationship with the music. If you use a song without a sync license, it's a copyright infringement.Infringement isn't a criminal act; you won't go to jail for it. But the copyright owner can sue for a lot of money, even if you remove the song on request. Good intentions or carelessness aren't a defense, either.

... A story in the DV.com Forums some months ago told of a New York-area videographer who used a pop song in a wedding video. When the happy couple showed the video to a neighbor, an employee of one of the intellectual property conglomerates, the neighbor ratted on them. The song's owners demanded an exorbitant fee, and the videographer had no choice but to close his business.



Unfair!
But what about fair use? Can't a bride make a home movie using any CD she paid for? It's a complicated question. Copyright law defines factors that contribute to fair use, including:- Is the derivative work done for profit?- Does the use deprive the copyright owner of potential profit?- Will this use benefit the public? This includes scholarly criticism and news reporting, if it's about the work being used (you can play a few bars of a Bob Dylan song to illustrate his switch from acoustic to electric, but you can't use his Like a Rolling Stone in a documentary about rockslides). It also includes parody and satire. Thankfully, the law considers these good for the nation.


...Do you feel lucky? Legal advice Web site Nolo.com puts it this way, "A use that takes money out of anybody's pocket probably isn't a fair use."And the bride's home movie? According to Koloff, there are two different legal perspectives. If she edited the movie her-self, it's fair use. But if she hired someone else to make it, she's buying a video--a commercial product, even though it's custom made--and that's likely to be seen as an infringement.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

All of the above is basically what a lot of others are saying. Sure, you MIGHT get away with it. But "syncing" the music to your video is illegal, and can cost you big time.

Raitan
10-03-2006, 08:03 PM
if you are looking for relatively copyright free music, go to www.freeplaymusic.com....
they are great

NewYorkLion
10-18-2006, 09:59 AM
regardless of copyright laws and weather or not using big-name music in a wedding video is legal. It seems to me that it is the standard. I dont do weddings, but i kow guys that do and they all use copyrighted stuff. I really doubt anyone is going to be prosecuted for this, especially since the dvds arent for resale. Now, if one of your clients has tommy matolla going to his wedding, that might be different, but still, it is highly unlikely anything would happen.

On top of all that, wedding videos are lame enough as it is, imagine if you had to use stock tunes? uuuuggghhh

SomewhereinLA
10-18-2006, 10:46 AM
You could ask a dozen lawyers and get a dozen different answers, one need not only to understand the law (what's written) but also the intent of the law, which is a much more of a gray area. One need to use it's best judgment and some common sense. I am not a wedding videographer, but if I was, I might ask my clients to sign some sort of release form for the music. I doubt that any record labels would be stupid enough to sue a wedding videographer though, it would be very bad P.R. and a possibly a dangerous precedent if the videographer won.

FlintMI
10-18-2006, 12:11 PM
regardless of copyright laws and weather or not using big-name music in a wedding video is legal. It seems to me that it is the standard. I dont do weddings, but i kow guys that do and they all use copyrighted stuff. I really doubt anyone is going to be prosecuted for this, especially since the dvds arent for resale. Now, if one of your clients has tommy matolla going to his wedding, that might be different, but still, it is highly unlikely anything would happen.

yep, he's right.

on top of all that, wedding videos are lame enough as it is, imagine if you had to use stock tunes? uuuuggghhh
the RIAA is worried about AllofMP3 and Kazaa, not "Joe's Wedding Videos and Tires, Burton Michigan"

BenB
11-01-2006, 02:18 PM
Having done a lot of time in the wedding and event videography field, and still teaching seminars to that bunch, no one has ever been even hinted at being prosecuted for using copyrighted music.

Partly due to the lack of interest the RIAA and other groups have towards it. Partly due to the gray area the copyright laws posses about this specific type of use.

Basically, if the client asks you to use music, and gives it to you on CD, you can use it, for the same reasons you don't need release forms when shooting the footage.

A wedding (graduation, dance review, etc) is a PRIVATE AFFAIR. It is not open to the general public, it is an invitation only event, thus private, not public. So any production hired by the parties responsible for the event is a private affair between them and the videographer.

The videos will not be sold to the public. If you do a graduation and the parents are offered to buy it, that's still private, as you're selling to those invited. In event videography, you sell the service, not a physical product, in a legally private transaction, for a legally private event. Even though the delivery of the results of that service are on a DVD, it's still the sale of a service, not a physical product.

Been through three copyright lawyers with this, WEVA, 4EVER Group, etc. I'm a professional composer, also, and have sued someone for stealing my music many years ago. It's an issue I'm very familiar with.

pranic
11-08-2006, 11:33 AM
It becomes difficult to track down the parties responsible for licensing content when dealing with signed artists. I've had really good luck with contacting bands directly after listening and searching for the right music at garageband.com. They tend to be pretty fair, and for a full-length production tend to do a sync/master use license for $200-$500.

vocare
12-04-2006, 05:14 PM
For internet streaming music . I heard that 30 sec is fine
is that true?

Joe Kras
12-21-2006, 08:49 PM
For internet streaming music . I heard that 30 sec is fine
is that true?

No. It's not.

moonlitnite
12-21-2006, 10:52 PM
The guy who claims the "30 second rule" (that it's okay to use copyrighted music on the internet) was the same smooth talking teenager that was begging for 30 seconds of luving in the backseat of his car - "you can trust me, darling..."

But then again, may that same teenager now works for the RIAA! Either way, those oral contracts aren't worth the paper they're (not) written on...

Regards, Michael

Noel Evans
12-23-2006, 06:01 PM
The other issue you face is recording the music being played at the wedding, for example the first waltz etc. Usually I would lay the original track over the top and clean it up. But even without doing that you are still recording music protected by copyright.

Then theres the other question. A standard CD isnt authorised for public performance, essentially if you were to follow the letter of the law, the bride and groom could not play the music they want at the wedding.

Your choice to use it or not, but I do. Now for a wedding demo reel, something used to attract clients (a commercial purpose), I certainly wouldnt use music that I havent obtained rights to.

vocare
01-22-2007, 07:21 AM
The other issue you face is recording the music being played at the wedding, for example the first waltz etc. Usually I would lay the original track over the top and clean it up. But even without doing that you are still recording music protected by copyright.

Then theres the other question. A standard CD isnt authorised for public performance, essentially if you were to follow the letter of the law, the bride and groom could not play the music they want at the wedding.

Your choice to use it or not, but I do. Now for a wedding demo reel, something used to attract clients (a commercial purpose), I certainly wouldnt use music that I havent obtained rights to.

any recommendation if i want to buy royality music in dvd ?

Ming
01-22-2007, 08:22 AM
Sodomy is illegal. Marajuana is illegal. Speeding is illegal. Drunk driving is illegal. Urinating outdoors is illegal. Not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign is illegal. Syncronizing copyrighted without a sync license is illegal. I'm not saying it's okay to break the law because other people do- but at any given moment..

The big problem with doing it is that if you ever make a ton of money (I know- utterly ridiculous concept, but if..) your name or your company's name on that
media is kind of a smoking gun.

We now return you to sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

frmain
01-26-2007, 12:42 AM
Basically, if the client asks you to use music, and gives it to you on CD, you can use it, for the same reasons you don't need release forms when shooting the footage.


This is so wrong for so many reasons....it's as illegal as burning off legally purchased mp3s onto a CD or onto an MP3 player. While people may not get chased for doing it, it's still illegal. A personal music CD is purchased for personal use only and only one copy may exist. I have no idea what lawyers you use but they must be smoking something....

Just because you don't get caught it doesn't make it legal. First of all you have to obtain a license for syncing the music up to the footage. You buy a license depending on how many copies of the DVD you'll make, so say you charge the couple for 2 DVDs you'll have to buy the license to sync the music onto those 2 DVDs. This license usually won't give you the right to stream it online (a difficult to get and expensive license) nor create more copies of the DVD. And if you want to show that DVD in public (for example an expo) you have to apply to get performance rights, the same as any bar or club. And it's illegal for the couple to rip the DVD and re-distribute it to friends and family, even if they're not profiting.

And D.Js have to apply for performance rights too and if they don't they're either hoping to get very lucky or they haven't been to see an expert on copyright law (and yes, copyright lawyers have a very very difficult job and a regular lawyer just won't cut it).

Holy Harry
01-26-2007, 01:06 AM
For what it's worth... In Ireland you can buy a licence which covers you for 20 weddings. It costs about €200. It's a pain in the a## though. It covers you for songwriting copywrite only, you need to get another freaking licence to cover recording copywrite, so that's about €400 in total. Plus theres a mountain of paperwork, plus you are required to allow an inspector go through your work if he wants to make sure everything is tickety-boo. I'm happy enough to pay for the music.. it's the bull that comes with it I don't get...

:violin:

Am I ranting?

I'm ranting, amn't I. Damn it.

Damn it...

AshG
01-31-2007, 11:50 PM
It is not a gray area, it is illegal to use copyrighted music. You could argue otherwise but if prosecuted, you would lose.

That said, the wedding video copyright nazi's are usually paranoid hacks. Unless you are doing HUGE weddings and selling multiple copies, nobody would ever care. Not the labels, not the artists...not the publishers. I am NOT a wedding guy but have done weddings for 3 well-known musicians/celebrities...all had copyrighted music in their final edits...




ash =o)

Greypawn Films
01-14-2008, 03:42 PM
If my clients want copyrighted music in their DVD I have them sign a waiver in the contract excepting full responsibility.

And anyhow,

If all this silliness was true...The very act of filming a couple dancing to music being played at the event would be "Syncing". Thereby making wedding videography an illegal trade...

Poppycock!

Barry_Green
01-14-2008, 04:28 PM
Having them sign something "accepting all responsibility" is fine and dandy, but that doesn't necessarily make it legal. You can sign a contract with MTV where MTV contracts you to drive 90mph through a school zone, but when the cop stops you, do you think he's going to give the ticket to MTV? You, as driver, will get the ticket.

Best to just stick to the music available from Zoom, where you can get legitimate licenses to copyrighted songs for very little cash. Check out http://www.weva.com/cgi-bin/newsreader.pl?storyid=3636&type=i

krazywake
01-14-2008, 04:36 PM
If my clients want copyrighted music in their DVD I have them sign a waiver in the contract excepting full responsibility.

And anyhow,

If all this silliness was true...The very act of filming a couple dancing to music being played at the event would be "Syncing". Thereby making wedding videography an illegal trade...

Poppycock!

Is this a legitimate way of clearing yourself from any/all music copyright liability when rendering video services for a client? I mean are we supposed to just turn away clients who want a particular song in their wedding video that we can't obtain rights to and let the next Joe Shmoe who's willing to risk it get the gig?

Barry_Green
01-14-2008, 04:44 PM
Is this a legitimate way of clearing yourself from any/all music copyright liability when rendering video services for a client?
Of course not.


I mean are we supposed to just turn away clients who want a particular song in their wedding video that we can't obtain rights to and let the next Joe Shmoe who's willing to risk it get the gig?
Well, that's the question. You can cheat and run the risk of getting caught, people do it every day. That was the basis of music downloading and Napster, too -- until the RIAA started suing.

Or, you can go to Zoom and get the songs legitimately, properly licensed, with no drawbacks other than it cost you maybe $2 or $3 to license it.

Noel Evans
01-14-2008, 04:52 PM
And then, a corporate client of mine wanted a particular track on a presentation video created to deliver to their branches. Now I suggested an alternative as to not inflict on copyright and at that point I was told 'well their previous video producer did it so if I couldnt.... ' .

krazywake
01-14-2008, 05:01 PM
And then, a corporate client of mine wanted a particular track on a presentation video created to deliver to their branches. Now I suggested an alternative as to not inflict on copyright and at that point I was told 'well their previous video producer did it so if I couldnt.... ' .

Yeah, that's basically what I'm getting at and wondering. I'm just getting into this field and am very curious as to know the best methods of risk assessment and protecting yourself (and your business). It just seems like a slippery slope :-/

Zoom looks/sounds like a good service (I just registered after reading this thread). Up until now most my stuff has been for website use and I've been able to find cheap videoblog type licensing for some obscure, yet still semi-decent tracks for only a few bucks ea. from websites like rumblefish.com and soundclick.com

moonlitnite
01-14-2008, 05:16 PM
Hi all,

To rekindle the imaginary "30 second rule", check out this ongoing post (http://dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=116304&page=4) discussing MC Hammer's www.dancejam.com (http://www.dancejam.com) plans.

And as far as Zoom's great plans go, it's been 18 months and they still haven't left the launchpad with the caliber of music we'd use in commercial productions. Maybe someday, but don't hold your breath gettting them to sign up major labels.

Warm Regards, Michael

Steve House
01-15-2008, 04:21 AM
Is this a legitimate way of clearing yourself from any/all music copyright liability when rendering video services for a client? I mean are we supposed to just turn away clients who want a particular song in their wedding video that we can't obtain rights to and let the next Joe Shmoe who's willing to risk it get the gig?

Will it work to keep yourself in the clear? Not as far as I know. Any contract to perform an illegal act is void on its face and you can not contract away your personal culpability for violating the law. You can see examples almost every day on the TV judges shows where some idiot comes into court suing for the return of money they gave the defendent to buy drugs for them after the promised product wasn't delivered or some such nonesense.

The ethical dilemma you pose is certainly a difficult one - the RIGHT thing to do, IMHO, is absolutely clear and that's to risk losing clients instead of violating the rights of fellow hard-working professionals. Of course that's easy for me to say since my livelyhood doesn't depend on weddings. But you're absolutely right - there's always someone who out there who just doesn't care about the law who'll step in to fill the demand and they'll get a portion of your business. The only real solution will be when WEVA and similar professional organizations stop looking the other way and start to establish real sanctions with real teeth against the violators - such as enforcing a rule that no member who is shown to use copyright music in their client's videos without proper licensing would be permitted to enter any organization sponsored competition or award show, any sponsored bridal show, or use the organization's name and logo on any promotional materials. The only way to stop it is for wedding professionals who care about legality to band together and get the scofflaws either to change their ways or drum them out of the business. And a likely fringe benefit of such a movement would be that the music industry itself would begin to see the wedding industry as the legitimate media professionals they are and more importantly, a potential source of revenue, rather than thinking of them as a bunch of pirates, and so be more amenable to the introduction of reasonable cost, limited use licensing such as our friends in Australia enjoy.

Greypawn Films
01-15-2008, 08:58 AM
Well I appreciate the link to Zoom. It will be an excellent resource for expo events, but I agree with Moonlitnite that clients are not going to be impressed with synthesized music. They want the songs that have meaning in their relationship, for example a song that they danced to at Prom or maybe a song that was playing on the radio when he proposed. These songs hold a significant emotional attachment to people.

When I quote someone a price for a wedding video, I am not adding a monetary value based on the fact that I am going to use top 40 songs. I record the music that is played at the event through the camera. That music is typically played by a DJ who has some sort of user license for those songs. I am now interested in whether or not I am covered under that license to record that music through my camera for the purpose of documenting an event? Otherwise my options are:

A) Charge the client millions of dollars to use copy written music

B) Cover all the footage that has copy written music with royalty free synth music that has no significant emotional value to my client.

I don't mean to be smarmy but IMHO the laws should take note on the private and very personnel aspect by which these videos are made. No one sells tickets to viewings of a their wedding!

Steve House
01-15-2008, 10:16 AM
...
When I quote someone a price for a wedding video, I am not adding a monetary value based on the fact that I am going to use top 40 songs. I record the music that is played at the event through the camera. That music is typically played by a DJ who has some sort of user license for those songs. I am now interested in whether or not I am covered under that license to record that music through my camera for the purpose of documenting an event?
...

I don't mean to be smarmy but IMHO the laws should take note on the private and very personnel aspect by which these videos are made. No one sells tickets to viewings of a their wedding!

I am not a lawyer but it is my understanding based on conversations with people who are IP and entertainment lawyers that you are NOT covered under any license the DJ may have (assuming ha has them, as he should). Playing the music in the venue is a performance license akin to playing a record on the radio and the DJ or the venue pays per use performance royalties through an agency such as BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, etc. But using that music as a soundtrack syncronized to images requires a sync license to use the song itself and probably a master use license as well to use the specific recording of the music that is your "master." The fact that your specific copy was made by re-recording it from a playback during a performance doesn't change that. Bits and pieces of music overheard in the background as you interview someone - so-called 'incidental use' - may get a pass, I'm told courts have ruled both ways on that situation, but if you shoot the couple's first dance and record the DJ playback of the music as the accompanying soundtrack you're infinging if you use it without licensing the song from the publisher and the recording itself from the record label that owns it.

As far as the idea of someone suggested of having the couple purchase the CD and when you put it into the video you're just facilitating their making a personal copy for their own use, Kinko's found out with printed matter that argument doesn't hold water. Someone brings you a copyrighted work they've purchased and you charge them a fee to copy it for them and sell them the copy - and the fact that you're charging them for the video means you're charging them a fee for the entire product, including the soundtrack - has been held to be just as infringing as if you bought the disk yourself and made multiple copies to sell under the counter at the corner convenience store.

Greypawn Films
01-15-2008, 11:17 AM
So are you suggesting that wedding videos not include audio from the event should there be music in the background? I am guessing that you don't do this as a profession, am I correct?

Or are you implying that all wedding videos should be free of charge so as not to step on the toes of major labels?

If fair use states that copywritten material may be used for educational or informative purposes without infringing on the copywrite itself, then are we assuming that the teachers are working for free? Do cameramen for news agencies break the law when they create a news story that deals with, say the history of rock and roll, because they are paid as well?

I understand the difference between making an independent film using loads of music from labels illegally and then mass distributing the film worldwide.

I don't understand documenting someone’s private event and adding music to the video that they will watch in the privacy of their home. If anything I consider my pay as compensation for the time I spent working on the video.

I know it doesn't do any good arguing this. I just can't really see myself as being a criminal, only because I don't see how it can financially affect a singer/songwriter. If they are singing a love song that inspires love, and they want to go as far as to sue that couple, then they quite frankly don't belong in an artistic career! I really enjoy doing wedding videos, because you are creating a family heirloom that is going to be treasured for generations, and that brings me a great deal of satisfaction. If bringing that happiness to a couple is criminal, I'll take my chances!

moonlitnite
01-15-2008, 11:55 AM
Hello colleagues,

While not my intention, I suppose this may add fuel to the fire. Discussion of facts, alleged facts, opinion and ideas help us all. I certainly am not trying to endore illegal activities nor am I trying to be critical of others who make valid points. Okay, off we go...

It seems we can segment folks into three groups:

1. Those who argue on behalf of the laws (likely not working event videographers)
2. Those who work in the trade and follow pervasive industry practices, 99.999% of which are overlooked by watchdog organizations
3. Those in the trade and follow the letter of the law to their own financial demise

Certainly wedding videographers would love it if they could obtain music right to more songs than Michelle Feathersone's two songs (http://www.redbeardmusic.com/zen-site/index.php) ($30 annual subscription) at ReadBeardMusic. However, it's difficult to imagine a wedding videographer is going to overlay "elevator music" at the reception and do voice-overs at the event. As previously mentioned, the Zoom business model was a great business concept, having a business negotiate reasonable T&Cs with major labels on behalf of event videographers. But unfortunately, it seems to have been naive trying to get business arrangement with major labels.

BTW, we should not forget that almost all the church music at the ceremony is copyrighted, too (I invite you to check out the music songbooks in the pews)! So just because the music isn't under the umbrella of BMI, ASCAP, or the SESAC, certainly doesn't mean the videographer is not in violation of copyright laws. So recording audio during most of the ceremony is also a no-no for those adhering to the letter of the law.

Possible workarounds?

- Insist the B&G use original music with live performers
- Have the videographer provide royalty free music for the ceremony
- Use royalty free music in post, doing voice-overs for B&G, officiant, readers, etc

IMHO, none of this sounds very practical. Nor does it to those in the trade. That's why when you go to the thousands of event videographer websites and view their demos, you hear copyrighted music. And that's why when you see WEVA and 4Ever Group contestant entries and winners, they use copyrighted music.

Please don't take this as my endorsement of copyright infringement. I own thousands of dollars of royalty free music and add to my library every month. And yes, it would be great if the United States had laws as in other countries that provided us a workable arrangement to use copyrighted music. But until that happens, it seems those in the trade follow their industry practices to make a living.

BTW, neither the BMI, ASCAP, nor SESAC seem interested in taking action against conscientious videographers working with a handful of clients in his/her trade. Some would also argue that BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC are concerned with the outcome of the trial that might be remanded to a higher court, leading to changes in the laws similar to other countries. Certainly the courts would be intrigued why BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC have not agressively asserted their rights against videographers for all these years.

I welcome others to share their perspectives, feedback and especially workable event videographer arrangements that adhere to copyright laws. Fortunately, I do not depend on this domain for a living wage but am on a PVA board and always appreciate fresh ideas to share with my colleagues.

Warm Regards, Michael

Steve House
01-15-2008, 12:24 PM
So are you suggesting that wedding videos not include audio from the event should there be music in the background? I am guessing that you don't do this as a profession, am I correct?

Or are you implying that all wedding videos should be free of charge so as not to step on the toes of major labels?

If fair use states that copywritten material may be used for educational or informative purposes without infringing on the copywrite itself, then are we assuming that the teachers are working for free? Do cameramen for news agencies break the law when they create a news story that deals with, say the history of rock and roll, because they are paid as well?

I understand the difference between making an independent film using loads of music from labels illegally and then mass distributing the film worldwide.

I don't understand documenting someone’s private event and adding music to the video that they will watch in the privacy of their home. If anything I consider my pay as compensation for the time I spent working on the video.

I know it doesn't do any good arguing this. I just can't really see myself as being a criminal, only because I don't see how it can financially affect a singer/songwriter. If they are singing a love song that inspires love, and they want to go as far as to sue that couple, then they quite frankly don't belong in an artistic career! I really enjoy doing wedding videos, because you are creating a family heirloom that is going to be treasured for generations, and that brings me a great deal of satisfaction. If bringing that happiness to a couple is criminal, I'll take my chances!

No, I don't shoot weddings and I have great respect for the artistry of some who do. Nor am I implying they should be done for free - but actually in terms of whether a copyright is infinged it doesn't matter anyway if you charge for the copy or not - it's just as illegal to make copies to give away free as it is to make copies for sale. That's one of the cruxes of the whole Napster file-sharing broohaha.

I'm not saying your position is morally wrong but it is illegal - the law is the law and it is unambiguous in this area. You may feel copying music into a production you sell to a client for their private, personal enjoyment shouldn't be illegal but, perhaps unfortunately, it is. I would certainly agree that the law makes things difficult for the small retail videographer and could stand revision. You need to let your conscience be your guide as to whether you feel any obligation to obey laws you personally disagree with, find inconvenient, or think are unfair to you. Personally I think being law-abiding and fair to your fellow professionals trumps being a good businessman and satisfying your clients but that's just me and probably explains why I don't want to deal directly with the general public. The law has to mean more than just what you do when you think you might get caught. But I have to ask - how would you feel if you shot a wedding that turned out so beautiful that an account rep at an ad agency who happened to see it asked the couple if they could use some of the footage you shot in a commercial spot for the wedding dress manufacturer that they were going to run on national network TV, even offering to pay THEM to use it but leaving you out of the loop? Would you feel slighted or cheated if they did that? Isn't that precisely what you do when you use copyrighted material without proper license from and compensation to the owners of the property? What's good for the goose and all that....

Steve House
01-15-2008, 12:35 PM
....

BTW, neither the BMI, ASCAP, nor SESAC seem interested in taking action against conscientious videographers working with a handful of clients in his/her trade. Some would also argue that BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC are concerned with the outcome of the trial that might be remanded to a higher court, leading to changes in the laws similar to other countries. Certainly the courts would be intrigued why BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC have not agressively asserted their rights against videographers for all these years.

I welcome others to share their perspectives, feedback and especially workable event videographer arrangements that adhere to copyright laws. Fortunately, I do not depend on this domain for a living wage but am on a PVA board and always appreciate fresh ideas to share with my colleagues.

Warm Regards, Michael

The performance rights organizations like ASCAP, etc, don't deal with sync licensing anyway. Harry Fox used to but they pulled back from it for some reason a while back and handed it back to the publishers.

I'm told that one of the reasons we don't hear about many suits against wedding and event videographers is that many are resolved at the cease-and-desist letter stage and those that go farther are usually accompanied by non-disclosure agreements or court orders. But I'm told by people who should be in a position to know that it is far from a rare occurance that a wedding/event videographer is nabbed for infringment and in those cases that go to court the videographer virtually never wins.

ESTEBEVERDE
01-15-2008, 03:14 PM
Steve.

Are you talking about Canada or the U.S?

Can you substantiate this with some type of professional reference that has been published?

ESTEBEVERDE
01-15-2008, 03:22 PM
Of course not.


Well, that's the question. You can cheat and run the risk of getting caught, people do it every day. That was the basis of music downloading and Napster, too -- until the RIAA started suing.

Or, you can go to Zoom and get the songs legitimately, properly licensed, with no drawbacks other than it cost you maybe $2 or $3 to license it.


The chances of getting sued by the RIAA are astronomically low. According to their own numbers it is much more likely you will win the lottery.

Plus... I don't know of any cases where someone has been sued for downloading. I only know of cases where individuals have been sued for sharing files. (Perhaps there is a case or two or even hundreds. I just have never heard of any.)


But, here's the thing.

If you are making a commercial product for someone and you can license a song for $2, $3, $4, or even $5 why in the world wouldn't you do it?

Beyond what is purported to be a sure fire way to comply with copyrights, isn't it just basic common courtesy and respect to a fellow artist to kick the copyright owner his fair dues?

Thanks for the zoom tip!

Greypawn Films
01-15-2008, 03:32 PM
If you are making a commercial product for someone and you can license a song for $2, $3, $4, or even $5 why in the world wouldn't you do it?



What song are you buying for $5. Are you talking about royalty free music or top 40?

If you are talking about top 40 music, post a link because I don't have any problems paying the artist five times what I would pay iTunes, if it meant that I could use it for someones wedding!

Steve House
01-15-2008, 03:43 PM
Steve.

Are you talking about Canada or the U.S?

Can you substantiate this with some type of professional reference that has been published?

The general principles I was discussing apply equally to the US and Canada AFAIK as our copyright laws are quite similar. There are differences, of course, such as materials produced by the government with taxpayer funding in the US are in the public domain while in Canada it is copyright by the Crown and cannot be reproduced without permission. As I said before, my information comes from general information sources and personal conversations online with several IP lawyers. You seem to demand citations from published professional sources as if only people who have access to law libraries are entitled to contribute to the conversation or may actually be able to contribute correct information. As I said, I have been TOLD by people who would presumably know that lawsuits against retail videographers are not uncommon - can I prove it with professional citations? No. Does that mean it's untrue? No. Were they lieing to me for their own purposes? Perhaps, but not very likely, there certainly would be no motive for them to do so. I can only discuss based on the best information I have at hand - if it's incorrect I'd love to be corrected. I'm not interested in winning an argument, only in learning the truth.

ESTEBEVERDE
01-15-2008, 04:14 PM
Steve... you can relax.

I am asking if you have citations because without them it is just a conversation.

I have 100% faith that you have heard these things form IP lawyers or other experts and that you find them reliable.

I do contend that the law is the law and doesn't function on hear say nor does it function on anecdotes.

And, for the record, I was merely asking about your sources so I could do some research as I am interested in this topic merely out of curiosity.

As to the law library.... the internet is replete with virtually every law known to man so it is many many times more powerful than a law library.

Virtually all legal research is done online these days.

Books simply do not keep up with the speed of the law.

ESTEBEVERDE
01-15-2008, 04:18 PM
What song are you buying for $5. Are you talking about royalty free music or top 40?

If you are talking about top 40 music, post a link because I don't have any problems paying the artist five times what I would pay iTunes, if it meant that I could use it for someones wedding!



...

Or, you can go to Zoom and get the songs legitimately, properly licensed, with no drawbacks other than it cost you maybe $2 or $3 to license it.


Of course, you could also just buy a used copy of the disc or singe and use that as it is itself a license. Same with digital music. The use then very well might fall under fair use if you deliver the used C.D. or downloaded file with the wedding video.

Interesting legal issue.

P.S. I am not sure that this is something that has been done successfully or not. It's just an idea at this point.

moonlitnite
01-16-2008, 02:19 AM
moonlitnite ...BTW, neither the BMI, ASCAP, nor SESAC seem interested in taking action against conscientious videographers working with a handful of clients in his/her trade...

The performance rights organizations like ASCAP, etc, don't deal with sync licensing anyway. Harry Fox used to but they pulled back from it for some reason a while back and handed it back to the publishers.

I'm told that one of the reasons we don't hear about many suits against wedding and event videographers is that many are resolved at the cease-and-desist letter stage and those that go farther are usually accompanied by non-disclosure agreements or court orders. But I'm told by people who should be in a position to know that it is far from a rare occurance that a wedding/event videographer is nabbed for infringment and in those cases that go to court the videographer virtually never wins.

Hi Steve,

1. But it's organizations like ASCAP and BMI that protect their client's legal rights, not Harry Fox. Please let us know if/when Harry Fox engages their lawyers for copyright infringements.

2. Cease-and-desist and non-disclosures against event videographers??? Perhaps those at WEVA, 4Ever Group, dvinfo.net, VideoUniversity.com, trade magazines, etc, are out of the loop - this is definitely breaking news!!! Any supporting information will be very helpful - please share your substantive details...

OTOH, at any hour of any day the watchdog groups could easily do an internet search of all the PVAs, follow the links of the members, view their online wedding videos and keep dozens of their lawyers busy for a "month of Sundays." If you have doubts, please search for "professional videographer association" and see for yourself.

Steve, either I'm way off base or your colleagues giving you citable information are quite suspect. BTW, one of my favorite sayings in "the only thing better than being right is knowing when I'm wrong" so I'd really appreciate critical feedback if I'm somehow out of the loop.

Warm Regards, Michael

Steve House
01-16-2008, 02:52 AM
Hi Steve,

1. But it's organizations like ASCAP and BMI that protect their client's legal rights, not Harry Fox. Please let us know if/when Harry Fox engages their lawyers for copyright infringements.

...

ASCAP et al are performance rights clearance organizations. They're the ones you pay royalties to if you play someone's record on the air or in your bar or dentist office and they distribute them in turn to the publisher, artist, etc, but they don't touch recording and syncronization rights.

Harry Fox, OTOH, is a clearance organization that serves the same function but for mechanical rights, the license to use the lyrics and music in a recording you are making ... if you want your cover band to record "Eleanor Rigby" on its "Tribute to the Beatles" debut album, Harry Fox is the folks you go to to get the license. Up until about 5 years ago they're also the clearance house where you would have gone to license the song for use in a film but now you have to negotiate directly with the publisher for a sync license to use the song itself plus the label that owns the specific recording you want to use for the master rights if you don't want to record your own version for the film. If you want to use the Beatles recording of "Eleanor Rigby" you must obtain a sync license for the music and lyrics plus a master license for their specific recording.

As to whether they sic the lawyers on folks, see http://harryfox.com/public/publisherServicesAntiPiracy.jsp

ESTEBEVERDE
01-16-2008, 10:44 AM
Right... well in my mind.... if a professional videographer uses someone else's copyrighted work to score a video they are producing that can constitute copyright infringement. (If an individual uses this work for their personal videos it most certainly is not copyright infringement in any way.)

I am sure that there are indeed means to license these songs and the more and more I think about it, simply buying a licensed copy of the work in question and including that to the client would cover the licensing issue as the use then would almost certainly be Fair Use.

Furthermore, Steve, just because an industry group cries infringement does not in the least make it so.

The people decide what is infringement though the legislative and to a lessor degree the executive and judicial.

It's quite clear that copyright is broken but the good news is the wave of use by everyday citizens is forcing it to change into something more manageable and equitable.

ESTEBEVERDE
01-16-2008, 10:49 AM
Here's an example of an insane copyright squatter (http://ric06379.tripod.com/id6.html).

The cool part will be when he is crushed and bankrupted and barred from any further actions.

Our system is not perfect but it eventually works.

moonlitnite
01-16-2008, 11:45 AM
ASCAP et al are performance rights clearance organizations. They're the ones you pay royalties to if you play someone's record on the air or in your bar or dentist office and they distribute them in turn to the publisher, artist, etc, but they don't touch recording and syncronization rights.

Harry Fox, OTOH, is a clearance organization that serves the same function but for mechanical rights, the license to use the lyrics and music in a recording you are making ... if you want your cover band to record "Eleanor Rigby" on its "Tribute to the Beatles" debut album, Harry Fox is the folks you go to to get the license. Up until about 5 years ago they're also the clearance house where you would have gone to license the song for use in a film but now you have to negotiate directly with the publisher for a sync license to use the song itself plus the label that owns the specific recording you want to use for the master rights if you don't want to record your own version for the film. If you want to use the Beatles recording of "Eleanor Rigby" you must obtain a sync license for the music and lyrics plus a master license for their specific recording.

As to whether they sic the lawyers on folks, see http://harryfox.com/public/publisherServicesAntiPiracy.jsp

Steve,

Yes, we're in agreement that those who seek agreement deal with HFA. But for those who infringe on copyrights, it's groups like BMI, SESAC and ASCAP who vigorously protect the artist's rights in civil court (http://www.intellectualpropertylawblog.com/archives/copyrights-ascap-lawsuit-seeks-to-classify-music-downloads-as-public-performances.html) under Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Section 106. Here's a typical example of the watchdogs at work (http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/58778.php) and you can certain google lawsuit and the respective organizations to clear up this point.

At any rate, sorry we're getting side-tracked from the main point of the thread. On that note and returning to the original post, I'm eagerly awaiting more definitive details from others regarding:

1. Today's industry practices of videographers

2. Legal action taken against videographers

3. Workable ideas and out-of-the-box resolution to the unworkable present method of operation

Thanks, Michael

Jeff Schaap
02-29-2008, 09:38 AM
Of course, you could also just buy a used copy of the disc or singe and use that as it is itself a license. Same with digital music. The use then very well might fall under fair use if you deliver the used C.D. or downloaded file with the wedding video.

Interesting legal issue.

P.S. I am not sure that this is something that has been done successfully or not. It's just an idea at this point.

Sadly, it wouldn't be legal and isn't a viable work-around. Buying a CD does not give you master use or sync licensing. It give you a license to play the CD in a private setting and that's it. You need a sync license to obtain permission from the copyright owner to sync his work with your visuals. You would also need a master use license because you are providing the client with a copy of the master recording (within the video you created) and you have to be licensed to reproduce the master in that way.

If you gave them JUST a video (with no audio) and the original CD you bought and let them play them together live... the video from a DVD player and the CD from a CD player then that might be legal... as long as it wasn't a public venue. But, that of course is ridiculous scenario.

ESTEBEVERDE
03-01-2008, 12:16 PM
I'm not so sure you are correct.

This is not for a theatrical or public performance but for private use.

I can certainly take as many videos and sync as many songs as I want for my private use (to show friends and family).

I think the only question is can you hire someone to do that for you?

I would say if they have a copy of the CD and it goes with the new work yes.

But, if you have examples where the law has explicitly has held this is illegal, then I would love to read them.

Thanks for your post.