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Taking Care of Business
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Old June 20th, 2003, 05:15 PM   #1
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Music Usage.

Is a EMail from a music artist enough consent to use their music? For example, I found a song on MP3.com that will fit a video perfectly, and I emailed them asking for permission to use it, for basically music credit and some other small perks. Would this be enough?
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Old June 20th, 2003, 05:53 PM   #2
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Personally, i'd ask for their snail mail address, and send them a cookie cutter form that says something along the lines of "You give me the right to use this song in this video in exchange for..." and have them sign it. Since MP3.com is pretty much all independent artists and garage bands, I don't see any legal issues coming out of this.
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Old June 27th, 2003, 02:21 AM   #3
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Personally, people have asked me , through e-mail, whether they could use some of the photographs, illustrations, and clips on my website for special uses. And I always reply using e-mail.

Sometimes the answer is yes: no charge, sometimes the answer is yes: with a charge, and sometimes the answer is no: no charge for no.

I carry a copyright warning on my web page that says, in short, nothing can be copied or used without permission. The reason I use e-mail is to grant permissions is 1) it's instant, 2) I can always recognize an e-mail I created if I had to go to court, 3) if it really has to be verified it can be traced through your ISP (a little harder to do).

In the world of business, at least in the hi-tech industry, an e-mail is as good as a signed document.

And if you need proof of that, look how much trouble Microsoft got into in their anti-trust case. Much of the evidence was garnered from Microsoft internal memos (e-mail). :)
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Old June 27th, 2003, 02:37 AM   #4
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Thanks.

Now I have another question. I have a bit planned, where I am sitting here in my room, and then I start going crazy and breaking stuff to metal, it will be kind of a opener to my video. What if I use big time rock/metal songs for it? They will be recorded by my camera from my stereo being played extremely loud, and it would be like 8 seconds max per song...and I go nuts and break stuff. Would I get in trouble for a itty bitty 8 seconds per big time hit song? heh
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Old June 27th, 2003, 03:02 AM   #5
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Usually, if a piece is copyrighted (all works are automatically protected whether or not it is documented with the copyright office) it means that you may not use any piece of that work, for any reason, without permission.

However, the law is continually violated in this respect. There are countless examples on the web of steaming videos edited to popular music.

Some things to consider are:

Are you creating the video with the intent of monetary gain? If the answer is no, it is for the personal enjoyment of myself, family, and friends, it "may" be okay to use.

Are you creating the video with the intent of wide distribution? If the answer is no, it "may" be okay to use, as long as the creator does not find out. Again we are skirting closely to illegal activity.

If you intend to collect admission to your showing, and the showing intentionally or unintentionally garners a wide distribution, and the artist sees that their work is included without permission, they may have grounds for an injunction or monetary lawsuit if they can prove damages - and then again they may be flattered.

The moral of the story is: always try to do the right thing. 1) Try and contact the artist and ask for permission. No answer? Include it in your work, but give credit where credit is due, example: Music by Metallica. 3) If it accidently takes off like the Blair Witch Project, either substitute your own music quickly, or find the copyright holder and offer a royalty...

It will be different in every situation.
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Old June 27th, 2003, 03:07 AM   #6
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If I may chime in: isn't up to the owner of the copyright to grant permission? What if this is not always the artist? If they were signed, wouldn't the record label be the one who has to grant permission?
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Old June 27th, 2003, 03:21 AM   #7
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The copyright holder is whoever legally owns work. In the case of the music industry it is difficult to say who might own the work. New muksic artists tend to sign their rights away for the chance of gaining a record contract, but you can bet that a Michael Jackson or Paul McCartney, though they produce under record labels don't necessarily give up their rights to ownership.

Another example is, and artist could sell a painting to a customer and still retain the copyright. The customer would not be able to make reprints of the painting they bought, because they do not own the copyright.

Another example is: you work for a company as a salesperson, but they know you are artistic and ask you to create several images and pieces of music for the website. You do it on company time. Who owns the copyright? The company does. You created these things while in their employment. They own you - they own the work. Can the artist use that work in a portfolio? Probably. But if you were to follow the letter of the law, not without the company's permission.

It gets complicated.

It's a simple matter of asking the artist, who owns the copyright?
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