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Old August 24th, 2010, 06:32 PM   #1
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Music Video: Do I have to have the rights to shoot it?

I've been asked to price shooting a music video for a vocalist. They are going to do the edit etc. I'm being hired for my studio and as a shooter. How should I protect myself against them publishing the final work without proper licensing? What's the right thing to put in the contract for this situation? TIA

Last edited by Les Wilson; August 25th, 2010 at 05:04 AM.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 06:29 PM   #2
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I'm not a lawyer and you really ought to talk to one rather than trying DIY but the first thing that comes to mind is for you to make this a work for hire contract, spelling it out in writing that it is work-for-hire in your contract with them. You operate the camera and hand the raw footage over to them to do with as they wish, removing yourself from all interest in the final progra,. That makes them the author of the final work, not you, for copyright purposes. As I understand the law, if you have recorded the performance of unlicensed music, as the one who has actually made the copy you are still jointly responsible with them for an infringment but at least a work for hire contract moves you a step away from the hot seat. The music's copyright owners aren't likely to come after you in that case any more than they would come after a grip or gaffer on the set. You're not producing the program and have no creative control, you're just part of the hired help. Another important question for me would be why you would want to accept as a client someone whose ethics are so shallow as to steal the music they want to use? Isn't it as likely that they will ultimately screw you over just like they screwed over the source of the music? You could never trust them to keep any part of any bargains they reached with you.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 09:18 PM   #3
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Steve. I don't think it's fair to accuse them of stealing. It's her song and she said she's doing the licensing work for all the materials including the footage I shoot. I just want it written down in the contract for the part I'm doing. I see your point tho. Thanks.

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Old August 26th, 2010, 05:28 AM   #4
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In that case include a general indemnity clause in your contract where she will indemnify you against any actions or claims directed towards you as a result of your filming her production. That way if she fails to clear the rights and you are sued as well as or instead of her, she has guaranteed that she will cover your resulting legal costs and any judgments you might be required to pay. Not just for the music rights but there are all sorts of things, like a claim you used an image of a person with permission or a personal injury issue, where you could be sued along with her and making it more general would help you cover all the possibilites. Best to have a brief chat with your lawyer for proper wording.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 12:08 PM   #5
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"it's her song"... and "she's doing the licensing work for all the materials including the footage I shoot"...

Maybe I missed something, but if I understand it correctly she's renting your sound/video stage/facilitiy for "x" number of hours, your gear and a camera operator. short of someone falling over a cable at the shoot, I'm not sure where you'd run into liability?

You're hiring out your facility, and the operator/equipment required to create whatever it is she wants, I presume a promotional video for her career? Unless it's a cover tune, I don't see how making a video of an original work by the AUTHOR of that work would run afoul of any copyright.

I think a basic "rental agreement" is all you'd need to be safe.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 05:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
.... It's her song and she said she's doing the licensing work for all the materials including the footage I shoot. ....
As Dave said, if it's truly "her song" as in she actually wrote and published the melody and lyrics, there's no licensing required. If by "her song" you mean she's performing it but soneone else wrote it or wrote part of it (say, someone else wrote the lyrics, or she set a published poem to her own melody, or the reverse and created new lyrics to an existing song's melody) or if she is performing to "beats" written and recorded by someone else then licensing becomes an issue. And of course if she uses still photos or drawings, film or video clips, etc, as visuals and cutaways in the program, they need to be licensed as well. The footage YOU shoot, if you do it as a work-for-hire, is already hers to begin with to do with as she pleases and no licensing is required - you don't need anyone's permission to use your own property LOL.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 05:33 AM   #7
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My view is that in this case, you are NOT the publisher - what you are providing is not what will be published - the editors are providing this part of the work.
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