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Thread: Filming sports events and copyright

  1. #1
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    Question Filming sports events and copyright

    Sorry if this question has been posted before but I couldn't find any.

    Does anybody know of the restictions (in UK/European law) about turning up to a sports event filming it with your camcorder and making a DVD for distribution?

    I know this is a wide open question as certain sports have broadcast rights that companies have paid 100M's for (e.g Premier League Football) and sports venues have certain restrictions etc.

    But since sport isn't performance art and if I shoot the video, edit it adding my own commentary etc, this shouldn't be a problem?

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    I think you'd be on an extremely sticky wicket (pardon the sporting pun) trying to film without permission and making a commercial profit. It's one thing being an enthusiast that likes lets say F1 and you film a bit during your day at the Grand Prix. But you try selling it on - the sports governing body, the venue, the participants - all of them could drag you through court, strip you of everything you own and leave you a gibbering wreck. Even asking permission will get you nowhere.

    On the other hand - take a much smaller sport, one thats growing, fresh, new or whatever, approach the organisers, agree a deal, and I'm sure you'll get somewhere. I've done this just recently with a form of motorsport and the model works. They get free video for their website, a fee for me having my scaffolding tower and gear in a certain place, access to commentary etc, I get to sell my content to spectators and participants alike.

    Just be sensible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Lockwood View Post
    I think you'd be on an extremely sticky wicket (pardon the sporting pun) trying to film without permission and making a commercial profit. It's one thing being an enthusiast that likes lets say F1 and you film a bit during your day at the Grand Prix. But you try selling it on - the sports governing body, the venue, the participants - all of them could drag you through court, strip you of everything you own and leave you a gibbering wreck. Even asking permission will get you nowhere.

    On the other hand - take a much smaller sport, one thats growing, fresh, new or whatever, approach the organisers, agree a deal, and I'm sure you'll get somewhere. I've done this just recently with a form of motorsport and the model works. They get free video for their website, a fee for me having my scaffolding tower and gear in a certain place, access to commentary etc, I get to sell my content to spectators and participants alike.

    Just be sensible.
    Thanks Andy, hmm yeah thought as much.

    Funnily enough I was thinking of motorsports event myself. Say like F3 at Brands where me and a few friends dot ourselves round the circuit and get continuousrace footage, edit and loop it all together and add our own commentary. I wouldn't be using towers though (!), although I guess you'd need them to clear the catch fence. Which motorsport are you covering out of interest?

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    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    ...Say like F3 at Brands where me and a few friends dot ourselves round the circuit and get continuousrace footage, edit and loop it all together and add our own commentary...
    Don't ITV still hold the rights to F3? Although they canned F1 (thank goodness) I think they still are the rights holder to F3. The FIA would show more than a little interest too. Forget it mate. Lawsuits-r-us will be on you in a flash.

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    Any sport that's played at professional level usually has a deal done with a broadcaster. They get exclusive rights to it and no one else. Even amateur sports that are just covered for a brief item on the six o clock news, has a tv company involved and they own all rights to the pictures and soundtrack. Recording bits and pieces of it for your own enjoyment to watch later at home is one thing, but making dvd's of it and then flogging them is opening up a lot of trouble for you.

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    Some get around it using the tresspass law. You'll find somewhere (like on the back of your ticket, on a poster next to the entrance) a phrase which basically says that you're allowed into the venue but photography is banned. They might be nice and say that only professional photography is banned but it's easier for them to forbid all photography but ignore the obvious amateurs. So, if you take pictures, or try to sell them, you become a tresspasser and the organisers can take you to the County Court and claim damages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Guru View Post
    Some get around it using the tresspass law. You'll find somewhere (like on the back of your ticket, on a poster next to the entrance) a phrase which basically says that you're allowed into the venue but photography is banned. They might be nice and say that only professional photography is banned but it's easier for them to forbid all photography but ignore the obvious amateurs. So, if you take pictures, or try to sell them, you become a tresspasser and the organisers can take you to the County Court and claim damages.
    Thanks for the note. I'm approaching the venue and event organsiers about what we want to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    Thanks for the note. I'm approaching the venue and event organsiers about what we want to do.
    In which case - BE HONEST - don't try and pull the wool over their eyes in any way at all. Good luck - and let us know how it goes.

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    If we ever shoot anything we plan to make money on we go and make a deal with the organisers. if you offer them something in return then i don't see why they'll say no.

    say you'll make a promotional video using live action clips for them as long as you have full rights to all the footage you shoot.

    (preparing to get told of by andy )

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    Smifis, I agree with you up to a point about 'why would they refuse you'. I did a video shoot of Russian dancers in a shopping centre a few years ago for the management company. I spent a few days editing it and getting it looking and sounding right. Took the dvd into them and left it at that. A week later I phoned up asking if they had viewed it and if I could get the amount we agreed for it. Then the problems started. They said they could hold onto it for 30 days and then decide whether or not to keep it or give it back to me, with no payment. So I waited the 30 days, went back into them and they handed me back the disc. What they did with it during the 30 days they had it I don't know. They quite possibly ran off copies for themselves.

    What I'm saying is, they are under no obligation to entertain you in any shape or form and you can get your fingers burnt very badly with some clients. They can hold onto a disc for 30 days or even longer now as credit is hard to come by (an excuse used by a lot of dodgy clients). After that you may get paid or you may be told to come in and collect your disc and disappear.

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