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Old September 13th, 2006, 09:17 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Cottrone
I don't feel the need to defend myself. I know my heart and my skills. Good luck with your ventures.
Jeff, I agree, there is no need to defend yourself. I don't think anyone was attacking you, or your heart or your skills.

Now, I might take issue with an ARGUMENT you make, but it stops there. Nothing personal. I stand by my own arguments but I know they are fair game.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 10:54 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Hill
Jeff, I agree, there is no need to defend yourself. I don't think anyone was attacking you, or your heart or your skills.

Now, I might take issue with an ARGUMENT you make, but it stops there. Nothing personal. I stand by my own arguments but I know they are fair game.

I appreciate that, Benjamin. This, apparently, is one of those hot button issues. I am personally involved right now, and unhappy with the spot I'm in. The thing that upsets me is that I conceived two sequences (with popular music in mind) knowing I would pay for the Sync rights for festivals. It's not the power of the song alone that makes the sequence, it's the combination of the music, the lyrics, the images, and the idea behind the image. The sequence together creates a joke, so to remove part of the recipe would lessen its impact.

I suppose the cause of the problem is that I conceived the sequence as a whole, instead of writing, filming, then conceiving the score from what was created. I'm sure I'll find something to work close enough for festivals, but I still stand by the lack of a legal contract for demo work.

Last edited by Jeff Cottrone; September 14th, 2006 at 12:24 AM.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 11:20 AM   #33
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I personally think that our current copyright laws are antiquated dinosaurs and need to be changed. But I'm not a Congressman (thank whatever god you care to thank), so my point is a moot point.

It just seems obvious to me that if a piece of work that makes use of another piece of work isn't going to produce any income, then the artist of the "used" piece of work isn't missing out on any income. If anything, they're getting free advertising. So long as the used work is properly attributed, I just don't for the life of me see what the problem is in these situations. And yes, Steve, I'd let anyone in the world use anything of mine in any way they wanted to as long as they credited me for the work used. If they started to make money with my work, that's a different story.

But again, I ain't a lawyer or a congressman, so I don't get to have an opinion. That applies to just about every other aspect of public life as well. Rich people have always and will always get their way, and there's no sense in complaining about it, at the end of the day.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrod Whaley
...It just seems obvious to me that if a piece of work that makes use of another piece of work isn't going to produce any income, then the artist of the "used" piece of work isn't missing out on any income. If anything, they're getting free advertising. So long as the used work is properly attributed, I just don't for the life of me see what the problem is in these situations. And yes, Steve, I'd let anyone in the world use anything of mine in any way they wanted to as long as they credited me for the work used. If they started to make money with my work, that's a different story.
...
So you give away a DVD containing a pop song off of a commercial CD synched to your images. According to your argument no money changed hands so why would it matter. But why would anyone who loved the song go out and buy a copy of the CD when they could have the song for free, at the same quality as the CD, on your DVD? So the artist has lost a sale even though you didn't actually sell his work yourself and hold on to money - the bottom line is he still lost a sale and is out the moneys he could have earned just as much as if you had sold your video for a profit without cutting him in on the action. As far as I'm concerned, you simply don't have to right to divert your neighbor's property to your own use without his permission, whether that property is his lawn-mower, his car, his bank account, or the terrific song he wrote. You may welcome anyone's use of your work and that is admirable - I'd probably take the same stance that you'd be welcome to use mine unless you make a profit BUT I don't want someone else just assuming it's okay without going through the formality of asking. You simply don't have the right to say that because these are MY standards no one alse has the right to be more restrictive. OTOH, they do have the right to expect you to honor their decisions about your use of their work. If you can't get an answer to your requests to use the music in question, that seems a pretty clear message that they don't want you to use it and I think you're honor-bound to accept their wishes in the matter.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrod Whaley
Rich people have always and will always get their way, and there's no sense in complaining about it, at the end of the day.
That's right. Don't get mad, get rich :)
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Old September 13th, 2006, 12:33 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
According to your argument no money changed hands so why would it matter. But why would anyone who loved the song go out and buy a copy of the CD when they could have the song for free, at the same quality as the CD, on your DVD?
In theory at least, if the song is any good, the listener would read the credits and go buy the cd of this awesome band. I've been doing that since I could afford the Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure vinyl. I've no idea how many hundreds of CD's I've bought since, after hearing a song in a movie/tv show.

Of course by the same argument CD sales shouldn't matter anyway and good bands should be able to live off of good concert attendence. And theories don't put kerosene in the LearJet so that's just my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Hill
But if the protections weren't in place, any old filmmaker, talented and well-meaning or not, could use Mudhoney's music, as much as they want, and dilute the music with their own "art"!
I think similar happens on Youtube everyday. How many thousands of videos on YT have a song in the background?
There are two differences between us and the youtube crowd. We are honoring copyright law and they are not. We are talking on a message board and they are making videos.

I had a huge diatribe on this but I am siding with the wrong side of the law, and it's silly to justify it. Stealing music in the name of great video is as legally justifiable as getting pulled over for speeding and going "But I'm an artist who is late for a shoot". I do hope someone evaluating my work can appreciate my editting/shooting/storytelling skills over my ability to pay huge fees to faceless companies, but I'll burn that bridge when I get there.

When I made my first big video last year, I preceeded it with an "illegal disclaimer" regarding the soundtrack. It'll get a light update with points from these discussions, and be affixed to my home videos/demos that use music. Those viewers interested in movies and those interested in litigation can then view as they feel fit.

Stealing canvas might make someone a criminal but they are no less of a painter. Painting in jail might be rough, but noone changes the world with their hands in their pockets.
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Old September 13th, 2006, 02:32 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
But why would anyone who loved the song go out and buy a copy of the CD when they could have the song for free, at the same quality as the CD, on your DVD? So the artist has lost a sale even though you didn't actually sell his work yourself and hold on to money - the bottom line is he still lost a sale and is out the moneys he could have earned just as much as if you had sold your video for a profit without cutting him in on the action.
The tricky part about these situations is that there's no way to prove whether any sales have been lost or not; this is a tricky point for those on both sides of the argument. You can claim that the artist has lost a sale in this case without any real proof that this is what's actually happening, and I can argue that the exact opposite is true with the same level of rationality. Since there's no way to prove either point based on actual evidence, making an argument for or against royalty-free use on not-for-profit projects with proper attribution (when based on the "artist loses sales" proposition) is logically impossible, and thus fruitless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
As far as I'm concerned, you simply don't have to right to divert your neighbor's property to your own use without his permission, whether that property is his lawn-mower, his car, his bank account, or the terrific song he wrote.
Yes, but individual lawnmowers and cars are not released into the culture at large. Bob Jenkins' lawnmower has no cultural significance, whereas a popular song does. As soon as you put a song on the radio, or on MTV, or whatever, it becomes part of our culture. This is an entirely different situation than stealing a lawnmower. A lawnmower is a physical piece of property, and as such has a clear owner. A song, being a part of the culture, belongs to everyone to a certain extent. Artists should be able to claim some ownership rights, of course. But they can't own how a song affects individuals on an emotional or cultural level. They may try to claim that right, and the law may be behind them, but that doesn't make the proposition any less ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
You may welcome anyone's use of your work and that is admirable - I'd probably take the same stance that you'd be welcome to use mine unless you make a profit BUT I don't want someone else just assuming it's okay without going through the formality of asking. You simply don't have the right to say that because these are MY standards no one alse has the right to be more restrictive. OTOH, they do have the right to expect you to honor their decisions about your use of their work. If you can't get an answer to your requests to use the music in question, that seems a pretty clear message that they don't want you to use it and I think you're honor-bound to accept their wishes in the matter.
I don't think anyone has a right to expect any such thing. They may wish for it, and try to stop such uses from occurring, but it seems to me that once you throw something out into the world, you inherently give up certain rights. You can't control how someone chooses to represent your work in their own home, for instance. You may shoot something in 4:3 and expect it to be watched that way, but you can't stop your audience from watching it "squished" on a 16:9 display, for example. Nor can you stop them from muting the sound and listening to whatever music they happen to think would be a good fit.

There are any number of things that can be done once you let a piece of work out of your hands that you have absolutely no control over, and yet you don't see any lawsuits based on this point. Say a projectionist does a really sh*tty job with a screening, which leads those in attendance to think that the film in question looks like crap. Word of this spreads, and a few people decide not to go see the movie in question. Are the filmmakers going to sue the projectionist for lost revenue? Are we all just going to sue each other every time some little thing doesn't go our way? Back to the lawnmower idea for a minute: note that the law doesn't try to restrict the way that I choose to use the lawnmower once I've purchased it. If I want to use it as a (admittedly very heavy) hat, that's my damned business (this all being beside the point, but if you're going to compare apples to oranges, then I might as well do so too). It's my business also if it decapitates me. Will the lawnmower company sue my mourning relatives for lost sales due to negative publicity for their brand?

These "lost revenue" arguments can be used to justify the most ludicrous situations you can possibly imagine. If I'm late for a meeting because of a traffic jam and miss out on a job because of it, can I sue the guy who had the wreck that caused the traffic jam? Can I sue my mommy for not loving me enough and making me so neurotic that I perform poorly at work and thus earn less money than I would have if only she had hugged me more (my mother loves me plenty--it's just a rhetorical question)? In both of these extremely ridiculous lawsuits, I can actually prove who was at fault (with police reports in the first case, with psychiatrists in the second). And yet record labels can't prove diddly about why their record sales are slumping. Maybe it's because they're releasing crappy product? Hmm, no, that's not possible.

As an artist myself, I'm all for making money, and I'm all for there being ways for artists to make sure that they are properly compensated for what they do. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your outlook), once something becomes a cultural element, it ain't 100% yours anymore. Maybe 95% so, but not 100%. The law may currently say otherwise, but the law says all kinds of stupid things in all kinds of other areas, doesn't it? You can't always legislate reality.

Sorry for being long-winded. Steve, I respect where you're coming from, but it ain't the only way to think of all this.
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Last edited by Jarrod Whaley; September 13th, 2006 at 03:24 PM.
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