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Old October 24th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #1
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Another fair use music question

I'd like to hear how members use (or not) copyrighted music in videos they post to the common websites that host video. It seems that most have a boilerplate statement pertaining to copyright infringement, yet there is tons of material where copyrighted music is used in the piece. I'm trying to assess my risk.

I shoot educational pieces-kids doing science experiments, classroom stuff, educational presentations. I have releases from all of the subjects in the films. I'm not using the material for commercial purposes. I give it away on the web for them to view or use it in a classroom setting. I've tried to purchase music from Pump and other sources but as my volume increases it is getting to be costly to pay $35 per track. I'd like to start using commercial music (probably instrumentals of little-known artists since I don't want the music to become a distraction).

What's my risk here? Does this squeeze into fair use?

I'd appreciate it if someone can point me to a book or legal cite, if they have one. Of course hearing your personal experience is also valuable.

Thank you
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Old October 24th, 2008, 06:15 PM   #2
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Assessing your risk, or assesing your comfort level? Yeah, it would be illegal use. The odds of being sued are probably low, are you comfortable with that? Are you comfortable with 'a low chance of being sued'?

And no, I'm not advocating that course of action. It's illegal to use copyrighted material without the express consent of the author.

It doesn't matter if you give it away or sell it.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 07:13 PM   #3
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It sounds like you are going to have to find a way to charge your 'customers', Bob.

As long as we are on the subject, I have my own, similar question to ask.

On an intermittent basis I shoot church services, concerts, and musical productions at my church and turn that into a DVD. This is done strictly on a volunteer/hobbyist basis. The principle recipients (95+%) are the performers themselves.

I charge for my disks. My approach is I am not going to be the one attendee who actually worked during the performance and ended up paying as much as a couple to a few hundred dollars for the priviledge. And if they aren't willing to pay the small amount I charge, they really didn't want it anyway. And I only make disks upon request.

I am told that, strictly speaking, I have to get a release and pay for all the music that is being performed. Is that true? If so, this is one hobby that can get stopped in a heartbeat.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 08:04 PM   #4
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Post 13 in this thread was what I was looking for.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/taking-ca...-question.html

Fair enough. I was primarily asking about practical application (there's a diffference between what the law IS and how it is used in an everyday setting), given the proliferation of video on the net. I can't imagine that music labels are chasing down every Moe & Joe that puts Coldplay in their video. But for me at least it's not worth the risk.

But that's a discussion for another thread!

Thanks.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 08:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Koehler View Post
It sounds like you are going to have to find a way to charge your 'customers', Bob.

As long as we are on the subject, I have my own, similar question to ask.

On an intermittent basis I shoot church services, concerts, and musical productions at my church and turn that into a DVD. This is done strictly on a volunteer/hobbyist basis. The principle recipients (95+%) are the performers themselves.

I charge for my disks. My approach is I am not going to be the one attendee who actually worked during the performance and ended up paying as much as a couple to a few hundred dollars for the priviledge. And if they aren't willing to pay the small amount I charge, they really didn't want it anyway. And I only make disks upon request.

I am told that, strictly speaking, I have to get a release and pay for all the music that is being performed. Is that true? If so, this is one hobby that can get stopped in a heartbeat.
I think you are safest with a release. This is the companion answer to my original question: When in doubt dot your I's and cross your T's with releases and get permission. A workshop I attended suggested always getting a release no matter what the original intent of the project was because the project may, someday, turn into something where the releases will be a necessity. Better to have them.

But that brings us back to real world application. Do wedding videographers get releases from everyone at the reception? No.

I also think it's possible to overthink this and that's why I asked about real world application. What's the likelihood that David Benoit will come after me for an audio track on a film of 8th graders doing a science experiement or that a parishioner will come after you for being in the background of a choir shot? Almost zero I would imagine.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 08:21 PM   #6
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Strictly speaking, yes, you'd need releases and clearances... as a practical matter, you'd probably never run into a problem... but nowdays anything is possible.

The problem comes with all the various types of clearances... one for live performance, another for a taped performance... another for sync rights... another for use of a persons image...

With the proliferation of video, no doubt rights issues will become more "interesting", and maybe as the issues become more clear, the law will catch up with the technology... til then, we're all just potential "test cases"!
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Old October 25th, 2008, 10:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Kerner View Post
I've tried to purchase music from Pump and other sources but as my volume increases it is getting to be costly to pay $35 per track. I'd like to start using commercial music (probably instrumentals of little-known artists since I don't want the music to become a distraction).

Thank you
Unless I'm making a video in which the music clearly fits the definition of fair use (for example, a critical review of an album or video) I use *zero* uncleared music. Instead of paying needle-drop fees, I use a buyout music source, like Digital Juice. You can usually buy a whole genre of music for the price of a single cut from other sources. The music is very high quality, and if you're going to use unrecognizable music anyway, might as well use something legal.

It's not a matter of how likely I am to be caught - but rather what is the right thing to do. Would you like someone using your work for their profit without your permission?

Quote:
I can't imagine that music labels are chasing down every Moe & Joe that puts Coldplay in their video.
Unless the RIAA turns their attention from download pirates to video. I'm sure 10 years ago no one could imagine getting a $5k bill from the RIAA for using Napster/Kazaa.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 11:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bill Koehler View Post
It sounds like you are going to have to find a way to charge your 'customers', Bob.

As long as we are on the subject, I have my own, similar question to ask.

On an intermittent basis I shoot church services, concerts, and musical productions at my church and turn that into a DVD. This is done strictly on a volunteer/hobbyist basis. The principle recipients (95+%) are the performers themselves.

I charge for my disks. My approach is I am not going to be the one attendee who actually worked during the performance and ended up paying as much as a couple to a few hundred dollars for the priviledge. And if they aren't willing to pay the small amount I charge, they really didn't want it anyway. And I only make disks upon request.

I am told that, strictly speaking, I have to get a release and pay for all the music that is being performed. Is that true? If so, this is one hobby that can get stopped in a heartbeat.
IANAL ... Yes, you do AFAIK. And it doesn't matter if you're making a profit or not, or even charging, even absorbing all the costs and giving it away totally free, you still need to get proper licensing in order to use any copyrighted material. While there are some exemptions for use in religious contexts, they ONLY apply to performance rights for music performed in the course of actual worship services, nothing else, not concerts, fund raisers, not even recordings of those same services. Other than actual religious services, there's no difference between a musical performance sponsored by a church and one sponsored by the local Kiwanis club - they both require licensing.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 12:54 PM   #9
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they ONLY apply to performance rights for music performed in the course of actual worship services, nothing else, not concerts, fund raisers, not even recordings of those same services.
Actually, CCLI now allows for the recording, distribution (DVD, video tape or audio tape) and even SALE of recordings. They set a maximum number of recordings that can be distributed (typically 15% of the church size) and the maximum price ($4 per audio tape, $12 per video.)

But you're correct that this only covers music recorded during a worship service.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 01:47 PM   #10
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And only music that CCLI holds licensing rights to.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #11
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Actually, CCLI now allows for the recording, distribution (DVD, video tape or audio tape) and even SALE of recordings. They set a maximum number of recordings that can be distributed (typically 15% of the church size) and the maximum price ($4 per audio tape, $12 per video.)

But you're correct that this only covers music recorded during a worship service.
No offense meant, but CCLI's library must be a microscopic drop in the bucket of music one might wish to use even in productions for a chuch, from the looks of their web site pretty much limited to the modern "christian music" genre.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 06:09 PM   #12
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No offense meant, but CCLI's library must be a microscopic drop in the bucket of music one might wish to use even in productions for a chuch, from the looks of their web site pretty much limited to the modern "christian music" genre.
Why would I take offense? I just offered one example of licensing available. CCLI is hardly "microscopic" with a catalog of more than 120,000 songs representing virtually every sacred and gospel music organization. As both you and I mentioned, it's not for productions from a church, but rather for worship services. They do offer event licenses that cover other non-worship activities within a church body.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 08:05 PM   #13
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But that brings us back to real world application. Do wedding videographers get releases from everyone at the reception? No.
I bet the wedding videographer doesn't get releases for the music performed at the wedding either. Or am I wrong?

In any case, I come here and almost every day learn something new.

My concerns center around being a shoot on Sunday produce on Monday operation.

About ten years ago our Chancel Choir (I'm a member) produced a cassette tape for sale to help raise a few extra dollars for the Church Music Department. Buying sheet music for the choir was no problem. I am told tracking down who could currently grant recording rights to a song was one unending PITA. I did notice we never did it again.

And I generally have no prior knowledge what songs are going to be performed until the performance itself. And that goes double if it is a group from outside the church.

I'm not against paying somebody for the rights.
I am highly resistent to things that add huge overheads of time.

And by the way, thanks for the reference to CCLI.
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Old October 26th, 2008, 08:51 PM   #14
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But that brings us back to real world application. Do wedding videographers get releases from everyone at the reception? No.
Model releases are not required to simply videotape or photograph someone. Releases are only needed if that image is:

1. Taken in a location where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy (virtually no one on earth expects privacy from cameras at a wedding reception.)

and

2. Published (creating a private video for the couple hosting the event does not make it "published".)
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