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Old June 28th, 2003, 11:45 PM   #1
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Wedding video music tracks

I've seen wedding videos using contemporary (presumably copyrighted) music, and others seem to use canned music (probably 'royalty free'). I was wondering what are the rules re: use of music in creating the vids, and what are your sources for music?
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Old June 29th, 2003, 02:22 AM   #2
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i make my own loops as i come from an Audio Production background, but some people prefer to use those kind of apps which create a tune in sync with the footage, which personally i find to be substandard when u consider the amount of money these people are paying for your service...

Speaking of payment, it doesnt cost much to get a special event license from APRA/ARIA (thats in oz.. US i wouldnt know what theyre called)
These licenses cost about $100AUD and let u produce up to 5 duplicates of any track for private use... again i dont know what US laws stipulate so they might be different, but im sure there is somehting out there...

again, her in aus, not many videographers do this as its not really policed, however, being a music producer myself, i personally feel that i woudlnt want someone using my tunes for profit, and i get nothign for it.

being in business, we are obliged to give credit where credit is due, whether it be Monetarily or to even put the track name and publisher onscreen like MTV.

Getting an event license is not all that hard and doesnt cost the earth :)
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Old June 29th, 2003, 02:23 PM   #3
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I've seen wedding videos using contemporary (presumably copyrighted) music, and others seem to use canned music (probably 'royalty free'). I was wondering what are the rules re: use of music in creating the vids, and what are your sources for music?
You cannot use copyright-protected music without permission. That means either obtaining a license from the copyright owner with respect to commercial CDs, or using a buy-out library.
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Old June 29th, 2003, 03:55 PM   #4
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I read your most informed (& at times heated) series of great posts over in "taking care of business" this morning (oh, that's what that category's for). My sleepy search style was inadequate late last night to turn it up. Shame on me, so thanks for responding.
I pursued the ASCAP link you provided and was wondering if the following specific page applied to the wedding videography scenario? It suggests synchronization and master use licenses for films...
http://www.ascap.com/filmtv/faq.html

The other question is where to find a "buy out library," which I assume is a collection of royalty free tunes.

As a subset to this question, my wife plays piano / violin. What are the rules for her to record from sheet music for a track?

I'm all for paying the artist for his / her work, if it's affordable. It is theirs, after all. If they charge too much, then fine... keep it, rot with it, whatever, it's theirs. They're under no obligation to guarantee me anything. It's no diferent to me than a "tangible" piece of property as to whether or not they're going to let me use it. I can't go next door and demand that my neighbor lets me use their car. I don't get to keep the cab and the end of the ride. There are terms that govern the extent of use of their property. You're free to contract under those rules or move on. I get laughed at as is for refusing to copy video rentals since it would be for "private use." How else are these guys going to make a living from their art? As an electrician, it would be hard for me to bear if people could arbitrarily suddenly decide that this next job I'm going to do is for free. "Sorry, didn't we tell you? We decide what your terms of service are." To me, it seems the same for the service of videography. In our case, where reproduction is an issue, I like the tactic of charging for the repros. up front and include them in the package. The bulk of the $ is made for the creation, not in the future sales. With feature films and music, it's the opposite, the $ comes from the distribution and sales, which is devastated by pirating. The creators bear all the costs of production (we're paid up front for ours), the pirates steal the rewards. My point is who am I to dictate to them the rules for the use of their property. It's a free country, if the terms are unacceptable, move on. If no one buys it at those terms, then maybe they'll change the terms to something that will earn them some $ and exposure. The problem of theft and greed is so rampant, that the result seems to be a super-defensive posture on their part. Like I said, whatever, it's theirs. Remember kindergarten? If the kid in the sand box won't share his truck, just play with a bucket, or go play on the swings.
I know I'm preaching to the choir with you, Paul...thanks for your informed guidance & input.
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Old June 29th, 2003, 04:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
I pursued the ASCAP link you provided and was wondering if the following specific page applied to the wedding videography scenario? It suggests synchronization and master use licenses for films...
http://www.ascap.com/filmtv/faq.html
Yes, what is described there applies to wedding videos.
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The other question is where to find a "buy out library," which I assume is a collection of royalty free tunes.
Your assumption is correct. I don't use buy-out libraries, so I can't suggest sources. However, a search on dvinfo.net should turn up lots of them.
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Old June 29th, 2003, 05:43 PM   #6
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Sheet music and more rantings

>>As a subset to this question, my wife plays piano / violin. What do you think are the rules for her to record from sheet music for a track?<<

Thanks

P.S. Someone has said it should be ok to include copyrighted songs that are provided by the client because, "technically, it will still remain the property of the buyer of the CD."
So it seems the suggestion would be that compiling, arranging, and copying as a service for the license holder (cd owner) is a different issue and chargeable. And yet when you add a third party, commercial video, this definitely seems to go way beyond the concept of rippin' a backup copy for yourself. Instead, you're creating a new product (video) that uses the copyrighted material beyond its original purpose and packaging. And selling it. And for someone else. Otherwise, a major film that used an artist's copyrighted music in their soundtrack could do so royalty free, as long as all the movie's viewers already owned the artist's cd, right? Oh, that's public performance. So, you could sell it on VHS / DVD for them to view privately at home.

What if a cd owner came in and PAID you for time and material just to make a compilation audio cd / dvd for them from their cd's so they could have a personal favorites disc?
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Old June 29th, 2003, 06:36 PM   #7
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As a subset to this question, my wife plays piano / violin. What do you think are the rules for her to record from sheet music for a track?
This is getting very specific, and I can't and don't give legal advice to non-clients. There are compulsory licenses that are available for "covers." Whether the license would apply to what you're planning, I can't say.
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Someone has said it should be ok to include copyrighted songs that are provided by the client because, "technically, it will still remain the property of the buyer of the CD."
They're wrong. I've covered this at some length in a number of threads here.
Quote:
What if a cd owner came in and PAID you for time and material just to make a compilation audio cd / dvd for them from their cd's so they could have a personal favorites disc?
When I was in law school, there was always someone who would ask something like, "If the statute of limitations has just expired, but I cross the international dateline and serve on the other side, then it's really the day before and that should be alright, right?" I don't know how to answer your question. You would probably be liable for contributory infringement, which does not seem to be contemplated by the AHRA. However, who knows?
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Old July 1st, 2003, 01:17 AM   #8
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I recently attended the DV Expo in NJ. There was a panel of professional videographers who have been in the business for years. They said outright that they use copyrighted music. The client gives them their CDs that they own, and basically they are making a backup copy for the client's personal use. They also said that this does not apply to corporate video for profit. They closed the discussion by saying that they do not know of any Wedding Videographer in the country that has EVER been sued/charged with copyright infringement.
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Old July 4th, 2003, 09:25 AM   #9
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Yeah, well there are a lot of people who are about to be sued who haven't been sued before. Music sharers who are individuals. Very stupid individuals. Don't get me wrong I'm a wedding vid guy so...
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Old July 4th, 2003, 10:41 AM   #10
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[quote]They said outright that they use copyrighted music. The client gives them their CDs that they own, and basically they are making a backup copy for the client's personal use.[\quote]And by doing so, they violated copyright laws.
Quote:
They also said that this does not apply to corporate video for profit.
I'm not sure what "this" refers to. However, if their point was that there is some special exception for wedding videographers, they're wrong.
Quote:
They closed the discussion by saying that they do not know of any Wedding Videographer in the country that has EVER been sued/charged with copyright infringement.
I don't either. What's their point?
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Old July 4th, 2003, 11:18 AM   #11
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This don't have a lot to do with Wedding video music tracks, but . . .

This may help shed some light on the fees due for copyrights on recorded music. The License is different for different uses. Lyrics only display, recording the music as a cover, original artist recordings, music played along with a video, and probably even more hiding under the rocks. The fees (USA anyway) are most always a per retail sale. (Example .08 per song is the standard for covers)

I'm involved in a project at the moment. The project uses split-track music for people to sing with. At first we wanted to use actual recordings from the original artist. In most cases we got a straight out no. It seemed to be more trouble than it was worth, so we dropped that idea. Because we wanted to display lyrics and video we needed more than one kind of license. Second idea was to go to the studio with our own musicians and record the music.

Some copyright holding companies are friendly and some just stick their noses in the air at any small company trying to make things as difficult as possible. The fees ran from .10-.15 per song sold all the way up to 16% per. I know several professional musicians who have been in the business for many years. I was told the % was the strangest thing they had heard of and doubted it was legal. I learned more from this one musician than all the copyright handling companies put together. He told me that the law required .08 per song sold and that is it for audio sales. That you were not required to get permission upfront However if you did not get permission upfront you had to pay the royalties every 30 days instead of the standard 90 days.

We have redesigned our product to import the video, the text/lyrics, and the audio from the user. We provide the video background and own the right to them, so no problem. We will sell the cover music on a CD only so we only have to pay the .08 per retail sale. We will not supply the lyrics, however the user can type them in, cut and paste them in or download the lyric file from one of many sites. There are some licenses the user will need to have before legally using the product in public.

All that said, each situation is a little different. I hope this helps more than it causes confusion.
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Old July 11th, 2003, 11:26 AM   #12
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An unofficial Official answer...

Well, the plot thickens...
I've left 4 phone messages and 2 emails over the last two weeks asking for specific steps in securing the licenses required for including copyrighted songs in wedding videos. I've read more web pages than I wanted to from Harry Fox, songfile, ASCAP, BMI and the copyright law. I finally landed a human today, let's call him "Santa," from Hary Fox's client relations division on the phone. He said...
>Mechanical license is not required (alluded to by some sites). Mechanical license only applies to music-only copies of recordings like making / distributing CD's, tapes, records, etc. (other web pages concur).
>Synchronization is what applies here, syncing music/song to video/images.
>Sync licenses are only obtained through direct negotiations with the publisher(s). There are no fee structures, they can charge anything they want. There can even be four publishers involved for one song. All have to be contacted, all have to agree. One can say $1 per tape, another $40 each, another say $1000 flat fee, another can say no. It also takes alot of lead time to get any answer.
>Here's the kicker... he says that for ten or fewer copies of the same video, NO license is required IF the clients (bride and groom) provide the song from their own purchased copy of the song. If you provide the song from your own pool of music, you need a sync. license.
>Showing a love story synched with the client's music at the reception is ok, no license req'd.
>He agrees this has not been proven in courts nor written in stone, but is generally accepted as the standard. He says it is an oft asked question.
>He also said that compiling a cd for someone else while charging for time and material is also legal as long as the client provides the music and that music's been legally obtained (purchased and owned, not "shared" from downloading, etc.) and is for that client's use. He gave as example companies (in general, not specific names) that provide that very service operating in legal parameters without mechanical licenses.
>I did not ask him regarding the statute of limitations vs. the international dateline issue, but I personally suspect that wherever the event occurred that started the clock ticking (courthouse filing, police charges filed, crime actually taking place, etc.), that's where the governing time zone should be referenced. Wherever it started, that should also be the place that marks it when it ends. Just a guess though :-)
What do you think? Without a formal, in writing declaration is it still too shaky? Or can I in good faith having diligintly sought guidance and found it in the licensing broker Harry Fox's employed representative proceed to include copyrighted music in wedding videos up to 10 copies? Apparently the copyright law does not address sync-ing issues.
Thanks.
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Old July 20th, 2003, 06:30 AM   #13
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one thing abotu sheet music is that it is still copywritten...
one way around it is to change the tempo, adjsut afew notes and velocities and gates of certain keys...

this doesnt "ruin the music" but once recorded, you can also run it thru some effect processors and reverbs...

from my experience (bad experience at that) this is legal.


I had one "artist" rip a chord i wrote. he heard one of my songs and basically copied it changed afew things, added afew delays and voila, called it his own and i couldnt do anythign about it...

but it IS legal
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Old July 20th, 2003, 07:01 AM   #14
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Jay Rose on audio copyright

DV.com in the columns section has a current Jay Rose article on this subject, with heavy input from a former 12-year Paramount Pictures exec in charge of copyright use requests. Having followed many threads and articles myself I recommend this one. The article is called "Copy Rites" and you'll probably have to register if you haven't already.

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Old July 20th, 2003, 10:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
one way around it is to change the tempo, adjsut afew notes and velocities and gates of certain keys...

this doesnt "ruin the music" but once recorded, you can also run it thru some effect processors and reverbs...

from my experience (bad experience at that) this is legal.
Sorry, but not even close. First, what you've described constitutes a derivative work, the preparation of which is one of the rights reserved to the copyright holder. Second, a verbatim copy is not required for something to be infringing of copyright. The test, in most jurisdictions, is whether the copy is "substantially similar" to the original. I don't have the time or space to explain substantial similarity here (though you can do a groups.google search on my name and the term to find an explanation). However, altering a couple of notes, tempii, etc. is insufficient to avoid substantial similarity.
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