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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old March 4th, 2006, 07:09 AM   #16
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If you're not a lawyer, you may need to consider it because you sure do sound like one. I totally agree about the terms and actions of end users being legal or illegal, period. I still think that the industry or artists are doing themselves a disservice by not making it easier for us TO PAY THEM!! Hahaha! Just think about how much more all of the one hit wonders could be making on their one or two songs that are still in use today by independents like us. They may not be making great residuals in sales and are surely being hurt by free file sharing and bootleggers but they could probably make up some of that if all honest independents like us knew how to pay for the rights to use their content in our productions. It needs to be as easy as paying a bill.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 10:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Emory
If you're not a lawyer, you may need to consider it because you sure do sound like one. I totally agree about the terms and actions of end users being legal or illegal, period. I still think that the industry or artists are doing themselves a disservice by not making it easier for us TO PAY THEM!! Hahaha! Just think about how much more all of the one hit wonders could be making on their one or two songs that are still in use today by independents like us. They may not be making great residuals in sales and are surely being hurt by free file sharing and bootleggers but they could probably make up some of that if all honest independents like us knew how to pay for the rights to use their content in our productions. It needs to be as easy as paying a bill.
Oh I agree that's the way it should be and if anyone in the music industry asks me I'll certainly tell them so! I think they're being incredibly short-sighted and overlooking a potential low-maintainance revenue source, while protectionist fiascos like Sony's recent root-kit bruhaha and the huge deal surrounding digital rights management for hi-def DVDs and broadcasting are just plain stupid and self-defeating. It's just that until they see the light and open up more accessible licensing, we don't have the right to go ahead use their materials anyway. Ethically we can't just ignore laws that we happen to disagree with.

On the other side of the coin, even the existance of more liberalized licensing schemes won't be any guarantee. If we claim to value individual property rights, I don't think that copyright holders should be compelled to participate in them even if the low-cost limited use licensing we envision for wedding and event videos etc were to come about. Owners of valuable property like the "Theme to Titanic" should not be compelled by any such laws to allow their product to be used for weddings, etc, if they didn't want it to and even if such licensing was a legally recognized plan they probably would withhold licensing to exactly the songs people most want to use, simply because their popularity makes them a valuable commodity on the market. Indeed, there is nothing right now that prevents a copyright holder from offering good music for license inexpensively and easily -take a look at magnatune.com for some current examples - it's simply that they perceive it's not in their commerical self-interest to do so and I do think their right to limit its use based on that perception, right or wrong though it may be, trumps our desires (and our client's desires) to use it.

I think the bottom line is that because we've had so many years where we could turn on the radio and listen to music supposedly for free, we've gotten the idea that the songs themselves don't cost anything and when we buy a CD we're paying for the physical object that contains them. Software licensing is probably a more accurate reality, where the physical object itself has little or no value and the market value comes from the ideas it carrys and the permission to use the output generated by those ideas in our own lives.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #18
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The clause one really wants in one's contract is an indemnification clause. Anyone can sue you for things you did and your agreement with the client that they won't hold you responsible for their copyright violation just dosen't matter much if a third party sues you -- Steve is right.

What you can do is ask the client to indemnify if you are sued, that is, to assume all costs associated with your defense in any legal matter arising from your work on their behalf.

I would not undertake this work without a release from every performer I video taped in my hand, because every performer has rights to their performance and their image. This is even trickier when minors are involved. Annoyed parents could sue you for misusing their child's image if you are selling DVDs. A very touchy subject these days. If the pagent people get releases from participants I would ask for copies and indemnification.

All this underscores the need to get the advise of a good lawyer when drafting contracts when precision counts.

As to the money all those artists might make if they licensed their work to every small time video producer . . . it's a supply and demand sort of issue. The value of the music is, in part, by whom and when it is performed. If anyone gets to use a piece its value is reduced. They would much rather sell rights to a few who can pay a lot than many who can pay little.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 05:12 PM   #19
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I agree that using the music is illegal. I also feel that the music industry has done virtually nothing to create a usable system for videographers to obtain licensing, and to me that shows that they don't really care. If you think about it, Napster wasn't around very long (in the free state) before the powers-that-be got together and figured out a way to offer music online for a nominal fee.

Videography has been around much longer than Napster ever was, yet there is no similar system in place. Again, I think it speaks to how much the powers-that-be really care about the situation.

Also, from what I've read from lawyers in the "Taking Care Of Business" section, no amount of clauses or disclaimers will protect you. In fact, in many cases a disclaimer only reinforces the idea that you knew there could be a problem and were just looking the other way. That's not from me . . that's from what actual copyright attorneys have posted here.

The bottom line for me is that I don't feel the least bit bad about purchasing a song to use in a wedding video as long as the video is just going to my client and is not being sold in mass quantities as a product. I certainly wouldn't equate it to robbing a bank with an AK-47, but that's just me. It's funny, because I'm the guy in my circle of friends and family that always gets flak because I won't let someone borrow a CD to burn. Yet, on this issue, I just think that the law doesn't work, and both sides would pretty much agree on that.

How many artists out there would really care if they knew that a fan of theirs WHO OWNED THEIR CD wanted to use a song on their wedding video. I would bet most of those artists would be honored. Just this past December I bought a CD for a song that was on it that I needed to use for a couple's highlight video. I purchased the CD from the artist's website, and even purchased the signed version so my couple could have that as an added gift. I know it's illegal for me to put video clips to the song and provide it to the client, but come on, does it make any sense? Is the artist REALLY going to care? He sold a signed CD because of it. He would have gotten NOTHING had I used some cheezy free music.
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Old March 4th, 2006, 10:22 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
...
Is the artist REALLY going to care? He sold a signed CD because of it. He would have gotten NOTHING had I used some cheezy free music.
There are other alternatives beside unlicensed music on the one hand and "cheezy free music" on the other. Smartsound Sonicfire, buyout and needle-drop libraries, vendors such as magnatune.com (they have some outstanding music BTW), and rolling your own compositions with loops and software such as Acid are all viable and legal sources of hassle free, reasonable cost, and yet high quality music. Yep, some libraries are pretty cheezy, but not all of them are and there's a wealth of good quality producton on offer if one takes a little time to search it out.
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Old March 5th, 2006, 05:45 AM   #21
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Here are a couple of others.

www.digitaljuice.com

www.musicbakery.com
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Old March 6th, 2006, 03:20 AM   #22
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Thanks for posting those links. I'll check them out.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 05:17 AM   #23
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I've got a few "what if" questions in to a few of the licensing sites and will post what they reply. Unfortunately so far it looks like most of the stuff we'd want to do wouldn't even be covered under a licensing service's "catch-all" plan as we'd have to contact each publisher/songwriter for each song. I found a rather good article that addresses the issue at http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/Read...8881&PageNum=1.

At this point I'm just going to have to tell the pageant that they're stuck with no copyrighted music (unless it's public domain and performed live by real musicians, situation number 2036 on the "can I use it?" list <G>). I can still offer them royalty-free, which gets better each year. Easier to do that for a wedding than an event where performances may depend on needing that exact song, but hey, if I lose them, I lose them. Better them than my house. As the above article states, "This is a powder keg I'm just not willing to sit on."

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Old March 6th, 2006, 08:06 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Jeff Klein
I've got a few "what if" questions in to a few of the licensing sites and will post what they reply. Unfortunately so far it looks like most of the stuff we'd want to do wouldn't even be covered under a licensing service's "catch-all" plan as we'd have to contact each publisher/songwriter for each song. I found a rather good article that addresses the issue at http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/Read...8881&PageNum=1.

...
You're right. Music rights clearance services like BMI and ASCAP deal with public performance and broadcast licensing, which is an entirely different kettle of fish altogether from the synchronization, mechanical, and reproduction licenses needed by video and film producers. If you want to play "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" on your radio show, you contact them; if you want to use it in your video soundtrack you contact Michael Jackson (I think he owns the copyright on the Beatles library now).
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Old March 6th, 2006, 12:57 PM   #25
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The real problem for me is that 99% of wedding videographers are willing to use the client's music in their video. If I decide to stop offering this service then I'm really just making the decision to no longer do wedding videography.

It's a bit of a catch-22. d:-(
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Old March 6th, 2006, 01:08 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
The real problem for me is that 99% of wedding videographers are willing to use the client's music in their video. If I decide to stop offering this service then I'm really just making the decision to no longer do wedding videography.

It's a bit of a catch-22. d:-(
Point out to your clients that popluar music goes out of style so quickly that using it makes their wedding memories turn dated and stale just as quickly while music especially selected to complement and enhance the images will keep their memories fresh and timeless. <g>
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Old March 6th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #27
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That's a good suggestion that I'm afraid probably won't really work. My wedding video was the first wedding video I ever edited, and that was 5 years ago. The songs I used were mine and my wife's favorite songs, and the video doesn't feel "dated" at all. It feels "personal".

I guess it would be kind of like trying to sell a car to a couple that really wanted a metallic orange car. You can try all you want to tell them that the color will become dated, but if that's what they want then they'll go where they can get it, you know?
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Old March 6th, 2006, 02:11 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
That's a good suggestion that I'm afraid probably won't really work. My wedding video was the first wedding video I ever edited, and that was 5 years ago. The songs I used were mine and my wife's favorite songs, and the video doesn't feel "dated" at all. It feels "personal".
Unfortunately for us, we're just going to have to bear with it until some organization like WEVA can get the ball rolling on a national organization to provide licensing for videographers, like Australia did in that article I found.

You could always offer to the client to make the inquiry about licensing a particular song for their video, as long as they pay the costs. When they find out it'll be at least $1000 just for the custom contract, they may change their tune (pun so not intended, but hey, that WAS funny...okay, so I'm easily amused <G>).

Another thing to point out to your clients if they say "so and so said they'll use my music" would be that if they do go with "so and so", they may be setting themselves up for liability, especially if the fine print of the contract names them as co-sharers in any liability actions.

Sucks to try and play by the rules when it seems like no one else is, don't it?...sigh....

Jeff
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Old March 6th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #29
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Yeah, it does suck. It's kind of like driving 5 miles an hour over the speed limit. It's wrong, but we still do it because it's basically accepted practice, just like editing to the client's music. Oh well . . .
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Old March 8th, 2006, 01:53 PM   #30
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Pageant video

I am new to this forum, but am dealing with the same event: Pageants. I had been working with a small videography company as an independant contractor during the summers shooting and live-switching pageants in the summers. Last year I was approached by one of the pageant directors and encouraged to take over for the previous video guy who was moving on to other things. The arrangement is that the pageant state director declares that no camcorders are allowed in the pageant venue by spectators, and in exchange for that I would give him a 15% commission "donation" of my total video sales.

No problem, except that the pageant performance is cluttered with girls performing to popular songs through vocal, piano, or dance. Now I realize that a sync license wouldn't apply to what I am doing, since I am not creatively interweaving the song with my video. However, from reading this thread it sounds like if I want to do the thing legally, I will still need some form of license for each song on the final video. There could be as many as 25-30 performances on each DVD, and probably 6 different age groups. Does anyone have any idea how much it would cost me? I would have to charge like $1000 per video to make it worthwhile. Right? Believe me, the previous guy didn't look into this, or if he did, just ignored it. What should I do? I want to do the right thing, but the suggestion I've read is to not include the actual music that the girl is performing to. That seems like it would be very tacky to have a girl singing, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" but instead of hearing her, you hear a royalty free instrumental.
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