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Thread: Using copyrighted music for commercial productions

  1. #1
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    Default Using copyrighted music for commercial productions

    It's an interesting discussion - desrves it's own thread.

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    Just about any use of a piece of music that goes beyond you listening to it in a locked room at night under the bed covers is likely to be in breach of something - for me that shows how silly all this has got.

    The whole idea of 'rights' was meant to protect the rights of an artist to profit from thier work - unfortunately rights are traded like a commodity so the rights usually end up protacting Sony, or mgm and so on. I think thay are still managing to pay thier bills...

    I feel no guilt at limewiring like a madman most weeks. Last week I purchased 3 dvds - one 'the krays', I watched a torrant of last week. No torrent - no purchase. The industry needs to wake up and get a grp and embrae the new world - home taping didnt kill music, betamax didnt kill hollywood, and the internet doesnt mean the end of the world....

    Having said all that anyone who uses stolen (and I use the term advisidly) music is a fool to use it commercialy. In the unlikely circumstance that a rights holder sued (and this happens) your customer you would look a bit silly and probably never work again....

    The clincher for me is that poular music is a cultural artifact and as such becomes a posession of that culture - once that happens no amunt of legislation will stop people sharing - thay always have and they always will.

    Artists, rights holders and record companys are beginning to see the light and adapt to the new world, slowly.

    Personally I am flattered if people sample from my work but if they dont give me a credit I am likely to despatch assasins.

  3. #3

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    I just want to add one more thing to this topic and maybe get some feedback.

    I work for individuals and a couple of production companies in town.
    I have one condition, they must provide me with everything they want on the DVD.
    When the job is delivered to me the box contains, photos or Photo CDs, Music with a list of what songs they want for each chapter (8 chapters total, 3 are the ceremony so no extra music there), video on minidv tape which I capture.

    I edit the video, create a couple of slideshows/montages, add the supplied music, create a DVD face graphic and a DVD Case insert graphic and provide them with 5 copies of the completed DVD. This is 90% of my work and I don't have anything to do with selecting or purchasing the music. My contract states that I am not responsible for any content on the DVD, music or graphics, supplied by the customer.

    I suppose this is a kind of 'Don't ask, Don't tell' kind of attitude but if I don't do it someone else will. I truly don't feel I am responsible for the content when it is provided for me and I am instructed what to do with it.

    In the event that I provide material, usually only for relatives, friends or non profits, and not for profit on my part, I guess I will just take the chance. What is the penalty for distribution of 5 copies that include maybe 60% of a song, most of the time I don't even use the complete song. I do get lots of royalty free music from muvipix.com and that helps with most of my projects where not enough music is supplied by the customer.

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    I understand that you (and not your client) are responsible for ensuring the relevant royalties are paid.

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    Correct I am afraid that will not work, just because they supply it, is nether here or there you actually copied it.

    If it is for Wedding or private function the licence's are very cheap now and not the hassle of not purchasing, look at the IOV | Institute of Videography site on the costs and how to obtain the right license's, MCPS - 17per wedding (5 copies) 4 for the PPL per DVD, so not really worth not doing. All can be purchased on line.
    Last edited by Z Cheema; 01-23-2008 at 10:08 PM.

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    And those charges are simply passed on to the client.

  7. #7

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    Bringing up a long dead thread, I realize:

    This has become a concern to me now that I'm actually beginning to do paid work more frequently. Using copyrighted music still seems like my only option - here in the states, there simply are no affordable alternatives to licensing music. Sure, I can use royalty free or amateur music, but most of it is rubbish, and what music I can find that isn't awful can only go so far when every other video service will provide whatever music the client requests.

    It's a shame that there isn't a way to get an affordable license. I'd love to do things the legal and "ethical" way, but it just isn't an option.

  8. #8
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    Legal and ehtical is the only option for a professional.

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    A brief post about copyright law which should be of interest to any videographer.

    If you go to Glastonbury and film a band with your mobile to send to your parents, you're infringing copyright law. If you use a camcorder to film a free concert in Hyde Park to show your siblings, you're infringing copyright law, if you film a choir in a church to show your friends, you're infringing copyright law. If you edit any music, to which you don't own the copyright, to pictures you are infringing copyright law.

    The ONLY time you're 100% safe is if (a) you own the copyright or (b) you have written, signed permission to use the material in a specified way. It's that simple.

    You can get licences to use the material from various institutions including the IOV (Institute of Videography) the PRS or various other organisations by paying a small fee. It's your decision as to whether you're going to pay this fee for a video which is only going to be seen by a few friends or just use the material and hope that you won't get caught. If you're working in any way professionally, only a fool would illegally use material.

    Ignore any half-legal phrases such as "not for payment" or "for domestic use only" they're just urban myths. Copyright law is one of those subjects which tends to bring out all sorts of half-remembered rumours, often being confused with using excerpts from written publications which has nothing to do with music rights. This doesn't mean that you're going to get your door kicked down and raided for copyright infrigement but be aware that it's a bit like speeding... everyone does it, very few get caught, but those who do end up paying a fine.


    I'm sorry if I'm being a bit blunt but this subject comes up a lot, usually followed by heaps of wrong advice. To make things absolutely clear, here's a quote from the actual legislation...

    It is an offence to perform any of the following acts without the consent of the owner:

    Copy the work.
    Rent, lend or issue copies of the work to the public.
    Perform, broadcast or show the work in public.
    Adapt the work.


    Fair dealing is a term used to describe acts which are permitted to a certain degree without infringing the work, these acts are:

    Private and research study purposes.
    Performance, copies or lending for educational purposes.
    Criticism and news reporting.
    Incidental inclusion.
    Copies and lending by librarians.
    Acts for the purposes of royal commissions, statutory enquiries, judicial proceedings and parliamentary purposes.
    Recording of broadcasts for the purposes of listening to or viewing at a more convenient time, this is known as time shifting.
    Producing a back up copy for personal use of a computer program.
    Playing sound recording for a non profit making organisation, club or society.
    (Profit making organisations and individuals should obtain a license from the Performing Rights Society.)

    Urban myths...
    Please note that a private person may PLAY music but not USE the music. So editing the music into a video is NOT covered by the last paragraph. It means that you can play the CD in your living room or at a private party providing that it's not a commercial venture in any way. The term "Incidental inclusion" covers the interview made with a transistor radio accidentally playing a song in the background. If it can be proved that the music is deliberately included in the video, then you're breaking copyright legislation.

    The legislation can be downloaded and read at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/cdpact1988.pdf if you really have a long, boring weekend with nothing to do...


    For those in the UK who video church weddings, can I recommend: http://www.wvrl.co.uk/ who will sell you, online, a licence to record in the church.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 07-11-2008 at 03:30 PM.

  10. #10
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    Nicely put, Guru. About as succinct as you can get when it comes to copyright (and I even learnt something - I didn't realise times-shifting was now legal.

    Note to Moderators - I suggest this post becomes a sticky.
    Tim

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