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Thread: Question about copyrighted material & also video tools

  1. #1

    Default Question about copyrighted material & also video tools

    Hello,

    I am definately new to the business of video editing and I have two general and rather broad questions for y'all, but I hope you can help me out.

    I am editing material from a movie to make a "fan" trailer, but one thing I've always wondered is "What is the best/correct way to edit footage from copyrighted material"? Now of course all the fine print will tell you to ask permission for making such videos but in many circumstances it doesn't seem practical or advantageous to actually call a mega-distributer like MGM to bother them with something so "trivial". At the same time I have seen many other such fan videos on YouTube and elsewhere for the same movie which I am dealing with, and I assume that they didn't bother with such formalities.

    I have however seen many of the videos display & give credits at the end of their videos about the source material, such as the movie/video title and also any song they may have mixed with it. Is such "credit giving" sufficient to satisfy any "encroachment" concerns for video footage? I mean, c'mon, I'm not trying to steal or illegally proliferate the video I'm just trying to make a video, which for all intents and purposes is promotional and will probably help the producers. At any rate any advice would be much appreciated from you more seasoned video editors out there.

    As for the second question I was wondering what some of the better video editing tools are out there that are commonly used. I am currently using the extremely handy & easy to use "Nero Vision" software from the newly released Nero 8 software package. I think it's a good place to start but if I ever get more serious into video editing and need something with a little more versatility where should I look? I know one candidate which I have heard of is Quicktime Pro, but I'm not sure how it compares to Nero. Aside from that I really don't know of any other video editors. A list of such editors would be appreciated, and help me along my way to being a more competent video editor.

    Cheers!

    ~Josh
    Last edited by cybershark5886; 08-08-2008 at 05:22 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by cybershark5886 View Post
    Hello,

    "What is the best/correct way to edit footage from copyrighted material"? Now of course all the fine print will tell you to ask permission for making such videos but in many circumstances it doesn't seem practical or advantageous to actually call a mega-distributer like MGM to bother them with something so "trivial".
    It's illegal without the permission of the copyright holders. End of story.

    See the excellent summary http://www.videoforums.co.uk/wedding...ographers.html which is about music but the same principles apply.

    The fact that your production is amateur is irrelevant. Crediting the source does not have any effect.

    And MGM probably won't bother with something so trivial, but they might. You could cross the road blindfold thousands of times without being knocked down, but it doesn't mean next time you won't.

    If you publish on YouTube or such you're much more likely to get busted than if you make something for yourself, family & friends to watch on one DVD. Incidentally you'd be contravening YouTube's T&Cs as well.
    Tim

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    It's illegal without the permission of the copyright holders. End of story.

    See the excellent summary http://www.videoforums.co.uk/wedding...ographers.html which is about music but the same principles apply.

    The fact that your production is amateur is irrelevant. Crediting the source does not have any effect.

    And MGM probably won't bother with something so trivial, but they might. You could cross the road blindfold thousands of times without being knocked down, but it doesn't mean next time you won't.

    If you publish on YouTube or such you're much more likely to get busted than if you make something for yourself, family & friends to watch on one DVD. Incidentally you'd be contravening YouTube's T&Cs as well.
    Ok, well perhaps you can give me some practical advice from your experience. Have you ever worked on a project for which you acquired permission for editing footage? If so could you give me some idea as to the procedure you took to go about it? For the record I have e-mailed the producers of the movie and asked them for permission to do so and am awaiting a reply.

    Also I of course cannot know the circumstances behind it, but what gave me the idea for making a movie trailer was another fan video posted online, and the producer/actor in question who made and preformed in the movie thought it was great and creative and saved it to his favorites. That's what got me wondering about it, because it didn't seem that he was upset that the movie was made. But perhaps that too is irrelevant.

    Either way I guess I'll just try to play it safe till I get some more answers or a reply back from the producers.

    And aside from all that can you recommend any video editors as I asked above, and perhaps tell me any practical differences between Nero Vision and QuickTime Pro (if you are familiar with them)?

    Thanks,

    Josh
    Last edited by cybershark5886; 08-08-2008 at 06:49 PM.

  4. #4

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    Also today I have been doing a lot of research on this copyright issue and it seems that there is an ongoing controversy over what is to be considered "Fair Use" and what is to be considered infringement. Just look up on google "Fair Use and Fan Videos" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

    In your opinion where is the line drawn in "Fair Use"? Fair Use in my opinion is used to prevent censorship abuse, but it's always the debate about where that line is drawn. What are your thoughts on the matter?

    Thanks for your time.

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    It's good that you're taking this seriously as ignorance of the law is not a defence. If you or I choose to use copyright material without the owners consent that is up to us.
    You asked a question and I responded as factually as I could.

    You have now asked my opinion. My opinion is not in the slightest bit relevant. "Tim on the internet said it would be OK" is an even worse defence than "A bloke down the pub told me".

    One area where I will express opinion though is that going down the route of trying to justify your usage of other peoples copyright material on the basis of "Fair Use" is only ever going to make one group of people happy - the lawyers.

    You also asked about what I've done myself.
    I've only worked on one film where I've used footage shot by others. That was footage shot by other members of my video club and as they'd sumbitted the film specifically for others to edit, permission was given.
    But mostly, my films are made up of what I've shot.
    As regards music, I use royalty free music (there's plenty available for free download) and stuff generated by packages such as SmartSound and Cinescore.
    If I ever used copyright material on a fun film for family/friends only, I wouldn't mention it here and I wouldn't put it on YouTube

    On the other side, people on this forum have generally moved beyond the bundled software such as Nero Vision and into the realms of consumer level products such as Pinnacle Studio, Ulead Movie Studio, Adobe Premiere Elements, Sony Vegas Movie Studio (all sub 100UKP) or their professional big brothers.

    Pinnacle always used to be thought of as one of the more user friendly interfaces but suffered terrible problems with reliability a couple of years ago - dunno how reliable it is now.

    I've been exclusively Vegas for a while now and so can't comment on recent versions of anything else.

    Both Vegas Movie Studio and Premiere Elemnts are available as fully functioning 30 day trials(as probably are others) But all take an investment in time before you can guage whether or not you like the package.
    Tim

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    It's good that you're taking this seriously as ignorance of the law is not a defence. If you or I choose to use copyright material without the owners consent that is up to us.
    You asked a question and I responded as factually as I could.
    Well I try to take things seriously when they should be, that's why I posted the question here in the first place.

    You have now asked my opinion. My opinion is not in the slightest bit relevant. "Tim on the internet said it would be OK" is an even worse defence than "A bloke down the pub told me".

    One area where I will express opinion though is that going down the route of trying to justify your usage of other peoples copyright material on the basis of "Fair Use" is only ever going to make one group of people happy - the lawyers.
    Yeah I understand what you are saying, but as for wishes being wishes, I WISH they could expand the definitions of Fair Use to allow for things like that, because I do infact think there is a difference between pirating something deliberately for the purpose of showing free footage, and taking short clips of something and stringing them together in a presentational fashion for promotional reasons. But I suppose that's an interpretation of intention, not always the final product. But you are right, copyrighted material is copyrighted material. It just makes you wish the world weren't such a dog eat dog place so that such rules wouldn't need to be so tight knit.

    But since I honestly do want to be rule abiding if I am ever to get into video editing as a hobby, I was wondering if there are such things as "media guilds" so-to-speak where groups of movie editors & producers share open source/free material with one another from a common pool of media? Otherwise it would seem almost impossible, short of some sheer genius and very talented skill of being able to create every piece of media from scratch, to become a sucessful freelance video editor. But you did mention royalty free audio (perhaps they also have royalty free video?), so that makes me think that there might be such communities that share media which is free to use. If any such groups exist any pointers would be much appreciated.

    You also asked about what I've done myself.
    I've only worked on one film where I've used footage shot by others. That was footage shot by other members of my video club and as they'd sumbitted the film specifically for others to edit, permission was given.
    But mostly, my films are made up of what I've shot.
    As regards music, I use royalty free music (there's plenty available for free download) and stuff generated by packages such as SmartSound and Cinescore.
    If I ever used copyright material on a fun film for family/friends only, I wouldn't mention it here and I wouldn't put it on YouTube
    Well If I can't get permission for it, I'll just keep it to myself like you suggest. It is indeed something fun for me to show to friends and family, as they are fans of the movie as well and I know they will enjoy it. Is that ethically wrong though? I dunno perhaps I'm asking questions too big to be answered.

    And I suppose I just have to get this off my chest, but while I was reading about all those copyright issues today it mentioned that even if your 6-year-old son or daughter draws a crayon depiction of Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse (marketed characters) to go on the fridge, that they technically have commited copyright infringement. My first thought: there must be such a thing as going too far. It's a terrible feeling to try to express creativity and then somehow then feel threatened as if you have commited some ethical wrong for doing it. I don't know, its funny how those things work sometimes. I guess one must just grit their teeth and walk that thin line sometimes, and abide by the rules.

    I have no idea if you can even relate to any thing I'm saying but I primarily embarked on this project for what you appropriately labeled "fun". And I would ask you another question, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't answer it after your advice to me of "not mentioning it" here , but do you ever recall doing anything for "fun" which may have been an infringement - even if you kept it to yourself? Never mind, I didn't just ask that question...

    I'm atleast guilty on the bugs bunny/mickey mouse type of example I'm sure.

    Anyway, thanks for your advice. I'm just trying to navigate my way through the minefield out there.

    On the other side, people on this forum have generally moved beyond the bundled software such as Nero Vision and into the realms of consumer level products such as Pinnacle Studio, Ulead Movie Studio, Adobe Premiere Elements, Sony Vegas Movie Studio (all sub 100UKP) or their professional big brothers.

    Pinnacle always used to be thought of as one of the more user friendly interfaces but suffered terrible problems with reliability a couple of years ago - dunno how reliable it is now.

    I've been exclusively Vegas for a while now and so can't comment on recent versions of anything else.

    Both Vegas Movie Studio and Premiere Elemnts are available as fully functioning 30 day trials(as probably are others) But all take an investment in time before you can guage whether or not you like the package.
    Thanks, I'll have to keep that in mind.

    Josh
    Last edited by cybershark5886; 08-09-2008 at 12:50 AM.

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    Let me put it this way...

    If you met us in a pub after a few beers you would probably get other answers. However, only a complete fool will ever admit, in writing, to have commited a copyright offence. There have been a lot of cases where the big organisations have randomly picked on some poor sod and bankrupted them (or, at least cost them tens of thousands of dollars) for a "minor" copyright infringement. That is the chance you take and you can't expect anyone to write "Go-on risk it!".

    The official view of all the mods (and most of the "regulars") here is "Copyright infringement is illegal and Videoforums will never condone anything illegal".
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 08-09-2008 at 09:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cybershark5886 View Post
    I do infact think there is a difference between pirating something deliberately for the purpose of showing free footage, and taking short clips of something and stringing them together in a presentational fashion for promotional reasons.
    Indeed, but there's another very good reason for copyright and that is association.

    Assume, for argument's sake, I make a series of films that you want to make fan vids of.
    Assume (unknown to you) I'm an ardent anti-abortionist.
    You make a fan vid using my footage that takes a pro-abortionist stance.

    Because my footage has been used I am now seen as condoning something to which I am bitterly opposed. I'm sure you'd agree that would be wrong. (In fact I'm pretty sure that this is why if you buy the right amateur licences for putting commercial music on amateur videos you are expressly forbidden from crediting the artist, song or writers)

    Quote Originally Posted by cybershark5886 View Post
    it would seem almost impossible, short of some sheer genius and very talented skill of being able to create every piece of media from scratch, to become a sucessful freelance video editor
    A freelance video editor is provided with footage not someone who creates from scratch.

    For a start do a Google on "Prelinger Archives" - loads free of Public Domain footage there you can use if you just want to practice your editing skills.

    And yes, of course I have fun . But I never admit to it or it'll destroy my cantankerous old git image. And I never drive over the speed limit.
    Tim

  9. #9

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    Thanks for all the replies guys. I just needed to get on my feet with this stuff.

    Later,

    ~Josh

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