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Old October 7th, 2004, 06:07 AM   #31
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Get a copy of Acid and roll your own music. It's easy, fun and inexpensive.

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Old October 12th, 2004, 04:48 PM   #32
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Wow, what a thread.

It seems sort of silly to be going back and forth over the music, when there's another more blatant and insidious theft occuring...

... that of the demo reel itself!!!!

Technically, even though you've worked on some tv shows and films, you actually don't have the right to redistribute clips or segments from the show or film without the permission of the copyright holder. Even if you did a little commercial for a local Mom and Pop pizza place, you need to get their OK before you can use clips from THEIR commercial.

Sure you worked on in, but you DON'T own it, and you DON'T have the right to use the clips without getting approval and paying for licensing.

I don't recall ever seeing credits at the end of a demo reel, stating who the clips came courtesy of and that they were "Used By Permission" ???? Hmmmm....

So ... truly the only LEGAL and VALID demo reel consists of images and music that are 100% your creation and cannot be claimed as the property of anyone else.

Why would you hire ANYONE who stole clips from someone else and put them on the demo reel... and even WORSE, may have also included an Effects Reveal for cryin' out loud! That might have been trade secret stuff!!!! What a criminal!!!

Well, I guess 90% of Hollywood needs to start reworking their reels...

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Old October 12th, 2004, 05:05 PM   #33
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These companies that we work for and take footage from for our reels give us permission. Many times they supply us with high quality dubs just for that purpose. Many DPs have in their contract that they receive digibeta copies of each show along with their salary. I have always been provided a copy of the show for my reel, most times at the companies expense for stock and dub time. I have worked for The Disney Channel, A&E, The History Channel, Fox Family, The Discovery Channel and The SciFi Network and not one of them had issue with footage used in reels.

Permission for use of the footage from these shows has never been a problem. Permission has always been given...ALWAYS. Hollywood knows what it takes to get the next job. They rely on reels of our work to see how good we are at what we do, so of course they give permission, and high quality copies (they don't like to see crappy footage), for us to do just that.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 05:35 PM   #34
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I could be wrong, but I thought Rob was being facetious...

As a follow up, I spoke with several people in the media, including two entertainment lawyers about this and, after they laughed, all said that it wasn't wrong and (from the lawyers) that depending on exactly how it was used, it probably wasn't illegal either.

But, hey some folks ethics are more restrictive than what even the law will allow. Me, I'm just hoping the law doesn't catch up with me. Now, where did I put Hoffa's body again?.....
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Old October 12th, 2004, 05:40 PM   #35
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You're right. I was being ridiculous on purpose.

Of course we CAN and DO use clips from our past projects in our reels. No one has ever brought that into question... for good reason.

I was just exaggerating for the sake of an already strained argument. Just because someone chooses to use a track from U2 or whoever in their demo reel doesn't automatically bring into question their ethics or make them a criminal.

Music is used to enhance and spice up the reel, that's all. And the selection of music is usually well thought out to make the reel stand out as much as possible.

But if someone were to not hire me just because I used a copyrighted music track, and not based on MY ACTUAL TALENT... then 'F' em. I probably wouldn't want to work there anyway.

Tell you what, I'm still going to use the same music in my reel that I always have. I don't care what anyone says. It's gotten me work before, and it will again.

Shane, I agree with you totally.

(( By the way, though, just being given a copy of a show doesn't constitute a LEGAL right to use it. George Lucas himself could hand me a 1st generation copy of Star Wars and I still couldn't LEGALLY use it without signing a licensing agreement that spelled out how and when I could use it. Plus, I'd still most likely have to put it in the credits as well. ---- but that's hairsplitting...)))


I still agree with you, though.

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Old October 12th, 2004, 05:51 PM   #36
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Sorry that I jumped down your throat. Normally I would have taken that as sarcasm, but with viewing other posts from people who sounded just like you did only they were serious, I assumed you serious as well.

I just cannot believe how snarky people are being about this.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 06:06 PM   #37
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Hey, I gots me a question, since we've turned toward the topic of the footage itself. Let's say you were a B camera, not the main camera, on something like a three camera shoot, for a concert or a furniture commercial. I guess ethically and legally you should only show the B roll clips. . .the ones used in the final product? Or could you put the whole spot on there with some short disclaimer beforehand that you were only the B-roll? Seems like a weird situation to me. Also, let's say you have a situation where you shot this or that, and in the final product, they chose not to use certain shots that you thought were your best. Would you (if you could) use those shots on your reel, or only use stuff from the final product? I feel that you're trying to show those future employers what you're capable of, not necessarily what someone else chose to use for broadcast (or whatever).
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Old October 12th, 2004, 06:16 PM   #38
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If you have the B-Cam footage, and you have stuff on there that you like but that wasn't used...and you feel that it showcases some of your best work, by all means, use it. Just because one of us stupid editors felt that going to the A-cam at that point was a good call doesn't mean that your footage is bad.

If you have it, and like it, use it.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 06:20 PM   #39
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I've been in a simaliar situation only with orchestration. Someone else wrote a number of "songs" (pop tune type stuff and some short orchestral themes) and they wanted them fleshed out for full orchestra, background tracks etc. I would never claim to have composed any of that, that actually does cross my ethical barrier, but I would certainly include them on a cd and be honest about what my role was.

Look, a demo reel, or demo tape (CD) is simply an audio/visual resume. Be as honest with your work as you would be about where you were educated. It's also in your best interest. You want people to hire you because they like your work, which makes delivering a product they will like that much easier. Sell them on someone else's' work and try to deliver - it usually can't be done.

As one of my friends at a national music channel said "why the hell would I want to see how they edit (video) to some crap song they wrote, which probably sucks. That doesn't help me evaluate them." I tend to agree, although different folks will see the issue differently.

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Old October 12th, 2004, 09:15 PM   #40
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While I do believe that you can use music from whatever source you want, I also believe that a demo reel is supposed to demonstrate your (and ONLY your) abilities and capabilities in your profession. After all, the reviewer should be looking at YOU, not at the other people that contributed to your reel.

To that extent, I don't think you should include demonstration content that could be mistaken as being yours. So if your profession is as a cameraman, I believe that all the demonstration content (by that I mean any content that the reviewer will be considering when deciding to hire you or not) should come from you.

If you need to include shots or other surrounding material that isn't yours for contextual purposes, you should probably label those shots as being from another person.

You run a risk there, however, of inadvertently advertising the other person's abilities instead of your own, so you should be cautious when including anything like that.

There are some times when you can't get around it, though. Like in VFX, I may not have done the 3D integration on a shot, but I did the wire and rig removal. So I only would list the extent to which I participated in a particular piece.

As far as including shots that didn't make it into the final piece (i.e.: ended up on the cutting room floor) -- there's no problem with that at all. If it shows off your work, use it. In fact, you can create an entire reel of stuff that's never been sold or seen by the public in any way - a completely contrived reel. That's perfectly fine, because a reel should showcase what you CAN DO, not what you have done. It's not a resume.

Just my .02 cents.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 11:14 PM   #41
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Lighten up people!

Shane and Rob,

You both have excellent posts on this thread and I agree with 99.9% of them.

Using copyrighted music to enhance a demo reel is in no way a test of a person's character or their ethics. This whole concept of judging someone's morals is pretty extreme and just a little paranoid, especially since using the music in this capacity does not involve malice.

Now...if this person was stating or implying that the musical work was his or her's, and it wasn't, then I would tend to agree with the thievery conspiracy theory.

I've used copyrighted music in my reels in the past, I guess that makes me a thief and a liar with no morals or ethics. Simply put, someone who is not to be trusted. I wonder how I passed the many background checks that I have had to endure over the years? Just lucky, I guess.

Dylan, with all due respect, you do a wonderful job on this forum, but, the parallels that you drew as comparisons were way off base.

You wrote:
<<<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.>>>

65 in a school zone------people (children) die.

Extra beer or two------people (usually innocent) die.

Buying answers to a test----cheating, and if that person was a medical student or studying something else that involves people's safety, then------people die.

You're right about your examples, they really are not a big deal...they are HUGE deals and if someone subscribes to any of your examples, it doesn't say a little something about them, it speaks VOLUMES!

I don't think that I would put some poor shmoe that used "You Light Up My Life" in their demo reel in the same category as someone who has total disregard for other people's safety.

So everyone, step back, take a deep breath and chill. There are far more important and serious things in life than using copyrighted music in a personal reel!

Pardon my rant, but I take exception to someone directly or indirectly slamming MY character and ethics in such an arbitrary manner.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go to confession and then turn myself in to the proper Authorities!

"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra.
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Old October 12th, 2004, 11:21 PM   #42
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One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright act (title 17, U.S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” Although fair use was not mentioned in the previous copyright law, the doctrine has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years. This doctrine has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

the nature of the copyrighted work;

amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Copyright protects the particular way an author has expressed himself; it does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in the work.

The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of “fair use” would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered “fair” nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.
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Old October 16th, 2004, 02:14 PM   #43
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my 2 cents

The biggest question i have to ask prospective crew is " So what did YOU do?".

In the 80's I was in charge of a number of motion picture model shops (that was BC.....before computers) and would have to hire modelmakers.

Since models on feature films are usually quite large and complex, 10, 20, or more modelmakers and technicians would work on the model.

During interviews I would look at portfolios with numerous pictures of someones past projects.

After 10 or 20 interviews you would see the same finished model (usually from the most recently released film) with just a different person standing in front of it with their arms crossed and a self approving smile on there face.

One person might have done the painting, one person might have done the
foam carving, or lights, or mechanics. What did they do?

I guess in those cases I wanted to see a finished product but I had to let the prospective employee tell me what they did. Of course it was easier to know if they were telling the truth because I knew most of the model makers in town at that time, so I knew who did what.

So........another question. Was it unethical to put a photo of the completed model in their portfolio if they didn't do all the work? Also was it legal to take a photo of the model, since most motion pictures have very stringent rules against photographing sets or portions of the production. I have alot of photos from my smaller budget films but have virtually no photos of the work I did onstudio features. In fact you could be fired if you even had a camera in the shop. Only the production still photographer was allowed to take photos. Good luck trying to get copies.

Of course..... how do you show people what you have done if you can't take photos or video.

I have DP'd a number of independent films lately where I am still waiting for my "reel, copy' credit". I can put them on my resume but if I have to wait for the productions permission to use it on my reel, I'll never be able to show anything.

Lot's of questions...... different answers foreveryone.
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Old October 16th, 2004, 03:37 PM   #44
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David you had my dream job!! Well not really, my job would have been making the models. When I was a little kid (way before computers) that's all I wanted to do - build models and layouts. Of course in the end I chose to get an education in something worthwhile, something that would allow me to live above the poverty level.

I became a music performance major...

Ah, youth...

Have computers completely replaced what you do, or are there still a few holdouts left? I went to see Sky Captain and was impressed by what they did, but it simply didn't have the magic for me that it would have had there been models. Maybe nobody else pays attention to that stuff...

I can still remember going to see Star Wars and being in awe of that first scene when the battlecruiser comes from overhead...

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Old October 16th, 2004, 03:47 PM   #45
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Ok, more to the point of the thread. I think much of it comes down to professionalism. These rules/laws have always been somewhat selectively enforced - before digital media even more so. Much gets overlooked when done by professionals, for honest professional reasons and in a professional manner. Of course what do you when your trying to be a professional?

Taking the music video editing example (I think that's what started this thread). You could do a couple different things. You could cut a reel, show it to everyone you know and post it on your personal website and a bunch of file sharing networks to show off. This would be unprofessional and if it doesn't get you in trouble, will certainly put you in an unfavorable light among those you are probably hoping to impress.

Or, you could cut the video, keep it on a dvd and only show it to prospective employers during your interview (or send it in if that's a requirement, with a letter explaining why you chose what you chose and a disclaimer at points in the video or cut outs in the audio). This, to my mind and to the minds of the folks I spoke with, would be professional and would not get you looked down upon. Except perhaps by an ethics professor....

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