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Old December 21st, 2003, 10:16 PM   #1
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Client's favorite music CD as underscore?

If a client wants me to use their favorite CD as music background on their wedding or special event DVD, am I violating copyright if I provide them with that service. I'm not selling the music (which they already own and I think have the right to duplicate for private use) - I'm selling my services as a videographer and editor. Am I wrong?

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Old December 21st, 2003, 11:40 PM   #2
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1- In a lot of cases the odds of getting sued over it is very very low.

2- You usually need to secure rights if someone is supposed to be making money.

If this is for "personal" use (i.e. you're making a home video or doing a wedding video for free as a favour) then you may not need to clear your music since it falls under fair use. I don't think you fall into that category. You're *supposed* to secure the rights to the music in this case.

Jay Rose's "sound advice" column over at dv.com has lots of great practical information about putting music to video. If you don't take the "just do it" approach then his articles has information on alternatives.
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 08:46 AM   #3
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I am not a lawyer....

Glenn is correct in saying that something like a wedding video *probably* won't get you in trouble.

And he is especially correct in saying that you are violating copyright laws by using said music in the video. The basic response to your comment that you are not "selling the music but selling your services" is that the music becomes an integral component of the service you are selling. That particular piece of music creates and enhances the mood in the video, just as your style of editing does. If it wasn't integral to the mood, you'd just throw a polka song in there, wouldn't you? Therefore, it is the right of the original artist (or other copyright holder) to have a say in how you use their work thusly.

That said, I'm interested in what you mean by "which they already own and I think have the right to duplicate for private use" -- regarding your client's relationship to the music. Did they commission the work from the artist specifically?

I agree on reading Jay Rose as well. You'll be amazed at the number of different types of usage rights one has to acquire just to use one song in a movie (to use one example). Music copyright law can be complex to begin with. When you start throwing in video, it just gets confusing....

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EDIT: Thinking of preemptive argument...

"Still, I'm just using music as a tool. You say the music helps set the mood? Well, so does that cross-dissolve I used. Do I need to start paying royalties on cross-dissolves now, too?"

Actually, in a sense, you already did. When you purchased and installed your editing software, you agreed to a particular licensing agreement that laid out, in part, how you can use that application. If, for example, you purchased an Academic version you probably agreed to *not* use the program for any commercial purposes. Some software/hardware developers make users pay an annual licensing fee to continue working. How you are allowed to use your "tools" is dictated by their creator. The same goes for music.

Sorry. The week of Christmas is basically pointless here at work and I'm already getting punchy. Maybe I should start a whole new thread of arguments with myself...
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 09:15 AM   #4
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This topic has been covered here at DV Info as well. Paul Tauger (an attorney) has commented at length on this very issue in this thread.
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 09:29 AM   #5
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Jeff -- thanks for the link. That is some great reading. There should be a permanent link to that thread on the site! (Or maybe Paul could author a catch-all essay on the topic!)
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Old December 22nd, 2003, 11:15 AM   #6
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Of course - the "disolve argument" makes sense

I should have looked harder for Paul's thread, and the argument that one pays software companies for disolves is a good one.

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Old December 23rd, 2003, 03:17 PM   #7
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Couldn't you just sell the customer a video with no soundtrack, then tell them to bring their cd's over and have them hit the render button?
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Old December 23rd, 2003, 03:57 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Anthony Lee : Couldn't you just sell the customer a video with no soundtrack, then tell them to bring their cd's over and have them hit the render button? -->>>

This idea is mentioned in the above-linked thread posted by Jeff Donald. Let me repeat that it is one good read. I've got a mind to bump it just more people like me will get a chance to read it.
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Old December 24th, 2003, 01:07 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by John Britt : Jeff -- thanks for the link. That is some great reading. There should be a permanent link to that thread on the site! (Or maybe Paul could author a catch-all essay on the topic!) -->>>

There is a link to it in the Business Forum FAQ at the top of the Business Forum.
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Old December 24th, 2003, 01:57 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper :
There is a link to it in the Business Forum FAQ at the top of the Business Forum. -->>>

Did you just do that?! I looked at that FAQ before I posted my comment to Jeff and I swear it wasn't there (I did see the first question there, though). Am I going insane?
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Old December 24th, 2003, 11:11 AM   #11
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Tee hee...
Yeah... :)

I meant to put a link to it a month ago, but your request reminded me. Thanks!
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