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Taking Care of Business
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Old May 6th, 2010, 12:10 PM   #1
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Music rights.

This subject has been covered a lot but I haven't had to deal with it for some time so I'm looking for some fresh insight into this topic.

I'm putting together music videos for a website and I've been using royalty free music to this point because that's what I'm supposed to do. No problem with that. But there are times when I get tired of that music and wish I could edit to a song that people actually recognize. I'm sure a lot of people working with buyout music feel that way. It's great stuff and very useful, but it does get old after a while.

So I'm taking a new look at the issue and trying to figure out what my options might be. I've seen people editing videos and putting an iTunes link with the song so that the viewer can buy the song right from the video if they like it. According the Apple the link provides no legal support and the content provider still has to secure the rights to the music. That makes sense.

I'm wondering if anyone has had success working with these links as a method of payment for the song. I.e. rather than paying the record label a rights fee, you embed the link because they'll get X number of downloads because you have a large viewing audience. Are record labels interested in this or is that a dead end?

And maybe someone could remind me, wasn't there a blanket rights fee that small broadcasters/independent content producers could pay to one company to gain the rights to some popular music?

Like I said, I haven't had to address this topic for a long time and I'd like to get the current lay of the land on music rights and determine if it's feasible to use popular music in my videos. Last time I looked into this a few years ago it wasn't so I'm hoping things have changed a bit. Thanks.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Lynn View Post
And maybe someone could remind me, wasn't there a blanket rights fee that small broadcasters/independent content producers could pay to one company to gain the rights to some popular music?
Yes and no. Radio stations (all of them, not just small broadcasters) pay fees for the rights to broadcast music. These fees are paid to licensing bodies such as BMI and ASCAP. However, these fees only give them the right to broadcast songs and use them as program themes. It does not give them the right to use the music in commercials or other productions (although you hear that all the time.)
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Old May 6th, 2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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Ben,

Consult an attorney. I believe you would have to come up with a special agreement with whomever owns the rights to execute an agreement such as the one you're talking about. In any case you'd also need to have sync rights to put it to your video.

But as I said, consult an attorney.

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Old May 7th, 2010, 02:32 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I agree and it sounds like things are pretty much the same as the last time I looked into this. I'm waiting for that day when I can pay a flat rate to one organization that will cover the content I produce. Until then, I'll be sticking with the buyout music. It hasn't really been a big issue with clients but I like to follow up with stuff like this every couple years to see if my options have opened up. I had forgot about the sync rights as one of the hoops to jump through. So I'm glad I posted this. Thanks.

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Old May 10th, 2010, 11:04 AM   #5
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You're probably not going to see blanket licensing for music sync usage for a long, long time. It's in the interest of the music industry to have their product broadcast and performed as much as possible - getting into people's ears boosts sales - but having it used as the soundtrack in a copyrightable derivative work such as a video is lot more iffy in thier view. Why should they license a Lady GaGa hit to you for a relative pittance when they can license it to a major coporation to use in a national commercial or a major studio for a mainstream theatrical feature for many thousands of dollars?
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Old May 11th, 2010, 11:07 AM   #6
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I'm not sure they proactively seek approval. It seems more like throwing spaghetti at a wall, and seeing what sticks. I was under the impression people are still posting music in their vids, and then the powers that be are either putting a link to iTunes, or taking the audio off. My guess is youtube has a list of songs & artists or labels who choose to go the ITunes link route, and those who choose to have the audio taken off, and there's not much choice to negotiate.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 01:42 PM   #7
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I've been saying for years that there should be a way for say a wedding videographer to buy the usage of X number of songs based on the number of weddings and songs you are going to do. Say for instance I was doing 50 weddings this year with say 2 songs needed per job. So that's 100 songs. So there would be a chart stating that I can buy the useage rights to use this music for these jobs which are privately viewed (lets face there's not much chance that the wedding video is going to be entered into a film festival or shown in a public viewing venue-yeah it could be but in almost 27 years of weddings, it's never happened to me that I know of). Anyway, lets just say that it would cost me say $500 to buy the rights to use this music for the weddings. Thats $2.50 per song. Not a lot but the publisher gets a little, the writer gets a little, the artist gets a little. Now multiply that by, oh I don't know, say 10,000 wedding videographers. Pretty soon that little adds up to a fairly big number. Not saying anyone will get rich on it but to me something is better than nothing. I've always lived by the fact that 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.
Of course it's a daydream because I don't see anyone doing this but it could be a way to solve the copyright music issue.
Just my thoughts.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 11:38 AM   #8
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I agree with you, Don. The only thing is, you have to ask what's in it for the music publishers and labels if they start such a scheme, from their point of view? Their cost in administering such licenses is going to be higher than any revenues they might realize from them so what would be the point? They're not in business for "art" - they're in business to make money. If they don't make signifigant money off of it there's no incentive for them to get into licensing their product to small-time users. Offer Sony $10,000 for a single usage of a tune they'll pay attention; offer them $10 they could care less because it costs them more than that just to process the cheque. And for wedding videography it's going to have to be in the ballpark of $10-$25 per song otherwise it'll drive your wholesale costs too high.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 12:53 PM   #9
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SongFreedom.Com

I have been searching for an affordable way to license music for our wedding videos as well. I checked out Zoom but I was disappointed. I was contacted by someone from SongFreedom.com who saw some of our videos on Vimeo.com They are starting a service w/ a monthly rate to license music for DVDs and very limited (60 sec) of online playing. She said that they have a very small library at the moment (15 songs) but are in talks with major record labels and currently have popular songs like Hey Soul Sister by Train. Here's the email she sent me w/ details about their packages.
-Michael
Michael and Tricia Films

Hi Michael! Thanks again for setting time aside to speak with me. As promised, here is a list of the package prices we're offering:

Platinum Package
$74.99/month (15 DVD copies for each song)
Gold Record Package
$64.99/month (10 DVD copies for each song
Silver Record Package
$49.99/month (5 DVD copies for each song)
Diamond Add-On
*$24.99/month (Rights to stream 60 seconds of each song on your company’s website)

*Diamond Add-On only available with purchase of a package

Additional DVD Copy - $10

Our temporary website is at Songfreedom.com Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #10
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Steve,
I agree 100% about it not being profitable to the publishers etc but I'm wondering if say 50,000 vidguys(girls) around the USA signed up and bought the rights to say 100 songs a year even at $10.00 per song might it be worth it then? I don't know maybe maybe not but I think it might be worth it to them simply because 50% of something is still worth more than 100% of nothing. Of course being realistic about the whole thing, I doubt highly that I will live long enough to see it happen, and should I live that long, by the time it were to happen (read that as; IF) I know I wouldn't care, since my wife will be wiping the drool off my chin. Hmmm, come to think of it, she does that now. Sigh, well anyway I think we both agree it ain't gonna happen anytime soon. ;-)
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Old May 12th, 2010, 02:24 PM   #11
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Here's some useful links. I'm kinda sensitive to this subject as I am a composer/songwriter. There are legal ways to do what you want. Just gotta pay the people who create and distribute the music you all love! Those of us who have created music for libraries get paid, just not very much! We rely on volume.
If it's something really well known, you're gonna pay more. No way around it! Last popular tune I researched for use in a documentary would have cost us close to $15,000. (for 2500 DVD's) Was it's inclusion going to generate more than that in DVD sales? No.

It's interesting to see companies trying to put together enough volume to catch the publisher's eye but the fact that it hasn't happened yet means one of two things...either there really isn't that much demand...OR the right company with deep enough pockets and a very serious business plan has not been created yet!

ASCAP Internet Music License Agreements

ASCAP Internet Music License Agreements

BMI.com | New Media
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Old May 13th, 2010, 01:19 AM   #12
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In the UK it is possible to purchase a Private Function Video Dubbing Licence & a Limited Manufacture licence which pretty much covers most use of commercial music for wedding or other event videos etc The dubbing license is a flat rate 3.40 per item (DVD, Blu-Ray etc) & the LM licence price depends on the number of copies produced but is very modestly priced at e.g. 15 for up to 20 DVDs with less than 25 minutes of music. One of the crucial requirements is that you do not sell your product through a 3rd party e.g. a record store.

http://www.iov.co.uk/showarticle.pl?id=4202;n=10

If the PRS & MCPS can sort this out in the UK then surely it should be possible for the equivalent organisation in the US to do the same.
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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:21 AM   #13
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YouTube's automated copyright screening too sensitive?

Along the lines previously mentioned in this thread, and others here, YouTube is getting more and more aggressive about policing copyright. In my latest video upload to YouTube, music I have a license to from the SmartSound Collection was flagged. So, I filled out the dispute form. We'll see where it goes. All the information regarding copyright and license to the music in question is listed right there under the video.

YouTube also put a link to I-Tunes etc. with it. The music is from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Apparently the software algorithm YouTube uses is too sensitive. Back when I worked in the clinical laboratory, as the sensitivity of a lab test increases, the number of "false positive" results also increases. Patients could be told erroneously that " You have xxx dread disease" and have a lot of extra testing, and sometimes treatments ordered.

This situation seems analogous to me. My licensed version of Swan Lake from SmartSound, rendered out in SonicFire Pro 5, is being mistaken for another version of Swan Lake from someone called "Believe", which is apparently affiliated with Apple in some way.

So far, YouTube hasn't stripped the music from the video, but there is an I-Tunes link etc. to the wrong music company. Shouldn't SmartSound be benefiting from a link instead? How about Tchaikovsky's great, great, great, great...grandkids?

Interesting. I've mentioned this to my attorney, and may mention it to the City's Attorney, and the non-profits attorney too, since removing the music would destroy the video.

Interesting. Still waiting to hear more from YouTube. Anyone else heard of anything like this?
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Old May 15th, 2010, 07:24 AM   #14
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The music for Swan Lake is certainly out of copyright by now but a specific recording of the music most likely would be copyright - virtually all audio recordings are except for a handfull that have been explicitly donated into the public domain by their copyright owners. The copyright for musical recordings is completely separate from the copyright on the music (musical notes and lyrics) itself. Music published before 1922 is out of copyright in the US but most musical recordings, even those made before that date, ARE still copyright. Be that as it may, I don't recall off the top of my head if the Smartsounds' license includes a provision allowing for video incorporating their music to be made available for public viewing on the internet but assuming it does, I would certainly expect the dispute to be quickly resolved in your favour. Of course if the license doesn't explicltly allow for internet postings, you're toast.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 07:52 AM   #15
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Issue with YouTube has been resolved. I contacted SmartSound customer service, and forwarded their response to the YouTube customer service that handles copyright issues. In addition, I asked YouTube to remove the I-Tunes popup and they complied.

One thing I learned in my previous career, cover your butt with plenty of documentation. I'm pasting in the following:

Hello,

A video I posted, 3rd Annual Running of The Lakeland Derby <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmgZWhpra2M>
was flagged for possible copyright violation. I filled out your dispute form online, stating that I had a license to the music from the copyright holder. To follow up, I also contacted the copyright holder. I've attached their response, SmartSound Software, to this email.
Would it be possible to stop the I-Tunes blurb from popping up? Someone might assume copyright has been violated when it has not. I wouldn't want the reputation of TrueView LLC or any other person, business, non-profit organization, the City of Lakeland , or other sponsor of the event, which had thousands of attendees and participants, or anyone involved in this production damaged in any way.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you require any additional information, feel free to contact me at your convenience.

Warmest regards,

Roger

--
Roger C. Van Duyn
True View LLC
904 Sugar Place
Lakeland, FL 33801
863-665-5118
True View LLC - Home





Subject:
Re: YouTube has flagged Smart Sound music I have a license to [SP#1150865]
From:
"SmartSound Answers" <question@smartsound.com>
Date:
Fri, 14 May 2010 10:31:51 -0700
To:
"Roger C.Van Duyn of True View LLC" <rvanduyn001@tampabay.rr.com>

Hello Roger,

This has happened before. in every case what has happened is that YouTube has their music web "crawlers" identify a track that, most likely, has the same name as one of our tracks. But before they check who the publisher is (whether its one of their affiliated publishers who have submitted the list of tracks they are searching for in the first place), they just simply contact you and say you are infringement.

Please send them a copy of our end user license agreement, found here:

SmartSound Music Software and Royalty Free Music Library

And point to the third bullet point and note the permitted use for the Internet. Then ask if its possible that the name of our track is the same name as someone else's track that is on their list?

That should take care of it Hans. Let me know if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Martha


-----------------------------
Original message follows:
Hear:
Hello,

I received this in an email from YouTube:
" help center | e-mail options | report spam

Dear TrueViewFilms,

Your video, 3rd Annual Running of The Lakeland Derby, may have content that is owned or licensed by Believe.

No action is required on your part; however, if you are interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information.

Sincerely,
- The YouTube Team"

The music in question comes from a volume that I purchased from SmartSound, Classical Suite #4, Audio Palette Volume 54, two of the Swan Lake excerpts that I rendered out in SonicFire Pro 5.

What gives? The screen in SonicFire Pro says I have a license. YouTube says I'm in violation of copyright. I filled out the dispute form on YouTube-still waiting to here back from them. The video in question is here:
YouTube - 3rd Annual Running of The Lakeland Derby



SmartSound Software, Inc.
The Music Score for Your Vision
<http://www.smartsound.com>
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