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Old October 6th, 2004, 07:08 AM   #16
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Corey, I didn't know having ethical standards was being "uptight."
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Old October 6th, 2004, 10:49 AM   #17
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It's just a song or two on a demo reel, what's the big deal?
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Old October 6th, 2004, 11:30 AM   #18
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Every reviewer is going to have their own approach.
Many couldn't care less about the music, but there's also no question that many will see (hear?) unlicensed music as a red flag.

As an artist looking for work, do you want your reel to have ANY reason for exclusion?
It takes such little effort and expense to purchase some royalty free music, wouldn't it be worth it, just to elimiate music license as a concern?

I do have a question to those that filter out a reel with unlicensed music....
How do you know that something is unlicensed?
Is it simply recognizing a popular song and not finding a license credit?

My concern is that many royalty free libraries license the music to be used in anthing created by the purchaser, without credit. That's the peace of mind you get from buying the library. So if you see/hear a reel that has really really cool music, that you can't quite place, (or perhaps you've heard before ... somewhere) does the reel get canned if there was no music credit?

Just curious.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 11:52 AM   #19
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<<<-- Originally posted by Corey MacGregor : It's just a song or two on a demo reel, what's the big deal? -->>>

Who you are as a person is defined by the choices you make in life. It's the little things that add up.
Whats the big deal about driving 65 in a school zone?
Or having an extra beer or two before driving home?
Or buying answers to a test so you don't have to study as hard?

None of them are really a big deal, but it says a little something extra about you.

I won't go as far as to say that I'd suspect people that pirate music for their demo reel to be potential thieves, but I would look upon it like they took the shortcut to getting it put together. I'd rather hire someone that did things the right way, than take shortcuts. There are some exceptions I'd make though.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:03 PM   #20
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I'm not sure why this hasn't been brought up, maybe it has but....

If you purchase a cd (or ten) and you use that music in a demo real or for a home video or for any other video that you don't sell and therefore do not derive any profit, is this still an issue?
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:06 PM   #21
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According to the RIAA and music producers...yes.

Dumb dumb dumb...
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:36 PM   #22
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Well that's fine what the RIAA and Music Producers think - what I'm asking is what does the law think. After all people have said that they would not employ someone who had stolen property. That is not just a matter of opinion, that is an accusation of a crime, and I'm not entirely sure if that is accurate. I have in my earlier days, made my living by producing, writing, arranging and performing music. I would never advocate stealing it. However there is something known as the fair use doctrine. Now I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet, but it seems to me that if the music was purchased legally, this may not *be* a violation.

If you used the music in an indie film which you released, yes, you've broken the law. If you are a commercial videographer and you use copy-written music and insert it into a wedding video (not simply recording a tune the DJ played) and you charge for that video, you've broken the law. But what if you use it in a wedding video that you took of your sister and no money changed hands and no profit was ever derived from it, or you used it in a student project or a demo reel? I don't think that is a legal violation, although I certainly could be wrong.

Matt
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Old October 6th, 2004, 11:19 PM   #23
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Here is a link to most of the issues regarding Fair Use Doctrine. Fair Use covers things like parody and other limited uses. Don't confuse Fair Use with the Home Recording Act. The very fact that you synced the music to specific visuals scenes and choose specific parts of the song make it much less likely to be considered Fair Use.

Quote:
If you purchase a CD (or ten) and you use that music in a demo real or for a home video or for any other video that you don't sell and therefore do not derive any profit, is this still an issue?
Making profit from it is irrelevant in the eyes of the law.

I think many people here are missing the point. As Dylan and I are trying to point out the issue is more a matter of ethics or poor judgment. There really is no need to use a song by the Beatles in your demo reel. I think no less of prospective employees because they used free or buyout music. As an employer I judge people on many factors. I judge the way you look, speak, walk, talk, almost every aspect during an interview. How do you get to an interview? Submit the very best reel you're capable of producing. I really could care less about your music. But I do care about how you will treat my clients and your coworkers. And believe me, I expect high ethical and moral conduct. I've fired people for lying to my clients and even perspective clients. Why? Lying is unethical.

Is it unethical to use others work as a derivative of your own? This is a topic I've explored before. In other words taking someone else's art (photo, painting, illustration etc.) and altering it to a significant degree, so as to be an original work. This is a frequent copyright issue and within specific guidelines is legal. But as an employer, I'm less impressed that you can't produce original work and need to rely on another artist's work as a basis for your own.

The issue is more confusing in the context of this thread, mixing copyrighted music with original visuals. In the biggest majority of cases the reel is weak anyway. The music carries the visuals. If I was auditioning for a band I'd hire them. Unfortunately, I'm hiring for an editor or cameraman that can do original work. Do you see the common thread? I'm looking to hire people that are capable of original work. Why not use someone else's visuals too?

The question of ethics is a serious issue taken far too lightly in todays society. Do you walk into your neighbors garage and use his mower without asking? Do you take his keys and drive his car without asking? I'm sure you don't. When you buy a CD you purchase the right to listen to it and very little else. In almost all cases you do not have the right to copy all or part of a song and sync visuals to the beat, rhythm etc. You have the right to listen to it, and very little else.

In case you think I'm way out in right field (can't be left field, I've never voted for a Republican in my entire life) apply for a job with a Fortune 500 corporation and wait for them to interview your friends, neighbors, relatives, teachers etc. I have friends in HR positions that make my standards look like mediocrity.

Is this really a problem? I teach at the college level. This semester we started using software that detects plagiarism. I would say the average freshman class had about 40% of the first student papers showing significant plagiarism. People can't read an article and make an original statement of opinion on the topic. So, lets just use someone else's words. I'm sorry that's unethical.

Lets' apply for a job and use music that I didn't produce, but I paid $.99 and downloaded (I hope you used the iTunes Music Store). I'm too lazy to investigate if I have the legal right, or ethical right to use it for any purpose other than listening. I cut some visuals to it that I think look cool and might get me a job. There really is very little for me to be impressed about. The questionable ethics just compounds the case. Originality wins the day and gets the job.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 11:32 PM   #24
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I mentioned the fair use doctrine because you brought up that someone might come to you with 10 or 20 seconds of a song, or multiple songs, and that could be construed as fair use.

I could certainly understand your point if you were hiring a composer or arranger, I don't really see your point when hiring a video editor and from the contacts I have in the media, I don't think they would either, but I'll ask them.

I have owned my own business for 12 years, and have done much of the screening that you describe, including for Fortune 500 companies. The standards are always different. Some are concerned with the ethical while others are concerned with the legal, some both. But if a young kid out of school came to me with a video that he edited to a song he knew and the only use of that video was for me to asses his editing skills, I would not think his actions were either illegal or unethical.

I know it would be nice if the world were black and white, but sometimes you have to see the grey.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 11:40 PM   #25
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Are there sites that have free music? "Feel" is more important than who wrote it. Just something to put a montage over?
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Old October 6th, 2004, 11:48 PM   #26
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Yeah, and you can buy royalty free cds, but much of that stuff is garbage. Why not give some local talent a try? Any idea how many composition majors there are out there, not to mention those who specialized in film scoring? Go to any college where you live and if they have a music department, they have cats that would love to write for you just for the experience. Need a rock tune? Check out some local bands. Shoot a video for them in trade for the music.

If you google film scoring, you'll find TONS of folks on the web that want to compose to picture. Hell, if I have the time, I'll do it for you - it's fun!!

IMO, Jeff is right about one thing, it is always better to exercise your own creativity and collaborating with others who possess other skills builds your network of resources. And trust me, anytime you are self employed, whether in a traditional business or in the creative arts, your success is always linked to the resources you have at your disposal.

My only argument with what Jeff is saying, is that I think his approach is going to far for something that is relatively inconsequential.

Matt

PS. I just noticed you're in Texas - Great music programs in that state!
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Old October 6th, 2004, 11:58 PM   #27
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My only other contribution is that it is harder and harder to distinguish what was legally acquired and not. In the realm of 3D animation it was the vogue to use lots of electronic music (the last time I looked at reels). Unless you are a DJ there is no way to tell if something had been previously published or not (and indeed lots of electronic music uses dubbed samples - opening up another can of worms). Certain subgenres have a sameness about them that could make one song sound like something you heard in a club the other night.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 12:20 AM   #28
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True story time. I was watching demo reels in my office one time and an editor walked in and said the music sounded like it was from a porno flick. To which I responded, "how do you know?" A very red faced editor then promptly left my office. I really didn't care what the background music sounded like.

Why can't this be Fair Use? Most demo reels consist of more than one song. I've never seen a demo reel with 7 buyout song and one top 40 hit. They are always 6 to 8 cuts of obvious non-buyout songs. The work is taken as a whole, not 6 to 8 individual reels. You make a mistake once, shame on me. Make a mistake twice, shame on you. But make a mistake three times and . . . To me this is just a blatant unethical use of copyrighted music. But wait, could there be another excuse? Sure, maybe you slept through the 8 am Media and Ethics course. Your ethics professor didn't know or didn't care. Maybe you can ask for your money back.

Time for another true story. Remember me telling about having to fire employees for having lied? After repeated consultations about lying, I fired a salesman for constantly lying to clients about various aspects of their productions. Several months later he got a job teaching ethics at a Catholic High School in Cincinnati. I don't have any wonder why many people have a difficult time understanding ethics.
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Old October 7th, 2004, 12:21 AM   #29
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Well, durn. If I can't find free stuff around, then I'll just record it myself. I play guitar, I own a drum machine, I have a shotgun mic. . .guitar lowered one octave = bass, and there you go!
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Old October 7th, 2004, 12:35 AM   #30
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I'd be way more impressed by someone who actually took the time and trouble to made their own music, regardless of quality.
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