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Taking Care of Business
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Old May 15th, 2003, 08:22 AM   #16
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Rick, the problem is that the same law that protects the big bad recording industry also protects the little guy (you and me). I doubt you'll see it that way until you've had something that you've created ripped off. Believe me it's the same feeling as having your car stolen. I know because I've had both happen to me.

I was walking through JC Penny one day and saw a T-shirt with my photograph on it. I bought a shirt and contacted my attorney. The T-shirt creator had seen the image in a book and virtually copied it directly to the shirt (he took a couple of branches out of the background). To make a long story short, I got $10,000 for the image. I feel full justified in getting paid for the damages I suffered and am thankful there are laws that protect the little guys.
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Old May 15th, 2003, 09:05 AM   #17
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Jeff,

I was speaking specifically of couples who wanted to use copyrighted music in their wedding video. To suggest or imply that they are ripping anyone off is silly. They bought the CD, paid royalties in the purchase price. They can legally listen to the music on their CD player while they are also watching their wedding video. They just cannot legally have the same music on the video itself. That is absurd. Unless we live in a police state where the record company lawyers search through all our videos and dvds, it is also unenforceable.

Your case is entirely different. Unlike a wedding video which is a private record of a private event, the t-shirt was for sale to the general public. Glad to hear that you pursued it and got paid for your work.

I am all for property rights and artists getting paid what they are due. It is a pity, actually a crime, that the music industry is notorious for not paying or for underpaying royalties to artists.

You are right, the laws should apply equally to all. They should also make sense.
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Old May 15th, 2003, 09:36 AM   #18
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Then fight to change the laws that don't make sense. But encouraging people to violate the very laws that protect us only dilutes it's strength and promotes this I don't care attitude. That's basically what the guy that ripped me off said. His arguments to my attorney were the same as yours

1. I paid for the book, I can do what I want with it.

2. I didn't think I'd get caught.

3. It's not my photograph, he changed it by removing the branches

4. It's worth it, because the next guy will probably never catch me and the risk is slight.

His ethics were clearly screwed up and that basically is what this whole discussion is about. The two sides will never agree. I could never do weddings, because very quickly my ethics would get in the way. This may be a gray area for you and I can understand that. But for me, this issue is a double edged sword and I can't walk both sides of it. On one hand, I can't ethically use the law to protect my work and on the other hand rip off other artists works and hope they don't find out. So, while I may not agree with every application of the copyright laws, I don't pick and choose the ones that I think are just or worthy of my compliance.
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Old May 15th, 2003, 09:49 AM   #19
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rick Spilman : Great Dylan, now you are comparing wedding videographers who work long hours for a few thousand dollars, if they are lucky, to the international drug cartels? The record industry has far more in common on many, many levels.

-->>>

Not the international drug trade, just the street level stuff. Two schools of thought: I'm willing to do the time, I'll do the crime. And, I'm too little they'll never get me!

Anyway, I won't say I haven't done it, because I have in a very limited aspect. I agree with the sentiment you are saying though. In a perfect world, you would be right, and they would be wrong. But the law is the law, and that's the bottom line.
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Old May 15th, 2003, 10:00 AM   #20
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If you cannot see the difference between a private video for private viewing and the mass market retailing of stolen material, then I doubt we could ever come even close to agreeing on this topic. To suggest that one fight to change unenforceable and unworkable laws defended by an army of lobbyists and lawyers has the same practical value as saying "go pound sand." Have I written to my congressman about it? Yes. Will I make it my day job? No.

I don't shoot wedding videos for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the background music. I am free to talk about the topic specifically because I do not shoot weddings and only use royalty free music for my corporate work. I can talk about how stupid and abusive the laws are, because I do not break them. Most wedding folks keep their mouths shut and do what makes sense.

I suspect that a contract could be structured so that videographers had some protection under the AHRA, though as getting sued over background music seems not to be a real world issue, it may not be worth the trouble.
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Old May 15th, 2003, 10:24 AM   #21
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Maybe Paul Tauger can help us?

This was a very informative disscusion.
Thanks to all of you who participated and gave their input.
Before reading this disscusion I just assume that it was perfectly legal to add the songs to wedding videos as long as the client provided the CD.
I was dead wrong. Thanks for pointing that out

Now, the million dollar question....

How can I use the songs legally?

I was wondering if Paul Tauger could direct me(I say me instead of "we" because I can only speak for myself) on how to use the songs the legally?


Who should I contact? URL maybe?
Phone number? Email?
Name of people you can recommend that could help with this situation?
Fees expect to pay and under what conditions. etc

Thanks in advance for your prompt response.
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Old May 15th, 2003, 10:40 AM   #22
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This is the url for ASCAP General licensing page-
http://www.ascap.com/licensing/generallicensing.html

This is the url for BMIlicensing
http://www.bmi.com/licensing/

These are the two top places to start. Or, do a search for royalty free music. Be careful to read the agreements. Some only allow you to use the music for presentations, school assignments, and such. There are quite a few decent music libraries out there, and most are affordable.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 03:21 AM   #23
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GREAT discussion! ...idea

If couple pays for CD they have pd for right to own & listen to that music. Correct? Say folks are visiting with said couple. Visitors are not making $ during the visit 'because of' the purchased music that is playing, but they are hopefully enjoying benefits of listening. Weddings videographers (V) 'document' 2 people getting hitched. So the V is not making $ *because* of the music. They are making $ because they are documenting an event that includes the playing of music. I do NOT advocate copyright infringement but purpose use needs to be considered. What if we had to pay copyright fees to car companies when cars appear in videos "for visual enjoyment" like a limo? The T-Shirt photo a clear violation with expressed intent of stealing to profit the thief. Very different motivation. Thoughts? What about music being documented ?by default? while videotaping someone speaking of their life that happens to have a radio on in the background? How do we properly deal with that? Good stuff...
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Old May 16th, 2003, 03:27 AM   #24
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p.s.

What if event videographers just paid a flat fee per year for the "right" to legally document music being played at events like weddings? A blanket coverage making the "player" of the music liable for properly using the music rather than shooting the messenger...or in this case the videographer. This would release "documentors" of liability when all we are doing is just that ..."documenting" events already in play whether we are there or not. Ideas?
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Old May 16th, 2003, 10:16 AM   #25
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Quote:
If couple pays for CD they have pd for right to own & listen to that music. Correct?
Incorrect. They have the right to do anything they want with the copy that they have legally acquired, except those rights which are reserved to the copyright owner, i.e. the right to make copies, prepare derivative works, the distribution right and the right to public performance. Congress, relatively recently, enacted the AHRA, which precludes infringement liability for individuals who make copies for personal use.

Quote:
Weddings videographers (V) 'document' 2 people getting hitched. So the V is not making $ *because* of the music.
Wrong, again. Wedding videographers don't come within the AHRA, because they are not copying the music for personal use, but for commercial use in the video which they sell. It doesn't matter whether they are making money "because" of the music. It only matters that they are violating several of the reserved rights, i.e. the right to prepare copies, the right to prepare derivative works and the distribution right.


Quote:
They are making $ because they are documenting an event that includes the playing of music.
You're talking about something called "incidental reproduction." Do a search on my name and "incidental reproduction" and you'll find a discussion about copyright law in that context. The short answ3er is, the law is not consistent in this area, but, as a general rule, including short segments of music played live in the course of documenting an event _may_ not be deemed infringing, but including entire songs, or using music recorded live at the event as a soundtrack, almost certainly would.

Quote:
What if event videographers just paid a flat fee per year for the "right" to legally document music being played at events like weddings?
That would be nice. I've already spoken with ASCAP's general counsel about this, but the organization has absolutely no interest.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 10:51 AM   #26
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We have the absurd situation where:

1. It is legal for a couple to hire a videographer to shoot and edit a wedding. Assume no music is on the video.

2. It is also legal for a couple to copy music they purchased for private listening onto a CD.

3. It is legal for the couple to watch the wedding video on a vcr or dvd player while playing that music on a CD player in the background.

4. It is however illegal if that music is copied onto the video itself.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 11:06 AM   #27
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I see nothing absurd about it. How would the wedding videographer feel if the couple only bought one copy of the tape and then made 10 copies for family and friends. Every wedding videographer I know gets upset about that. Their comments always run similar to "they're stealing my video" (meaning I'm losing money). Yet most wedding videographers have no problem copying music onto the tape they sell. Now, to me that's absurd.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 11:34 AM   #28
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Jeff,

If the music has been purchased by the couple they have every right to listen to it. They can make copies as long as they don't sell them. If the music is on a video also not for resale, what is the practical difference? No one is stealing anything. I am speaking ethically here. (Yes, I know the AHRA has not been tested in court regarding the legality of making copies on video. And, yes, I admit I am ignoring any transfer of custody between the couple and the videographer of the purchased music.)

If your wedding videographer friends are getting really upset about clients make copies then they must be mispricing their services. Most wedding guys and gals I know charge several hundred to several thousand dollars for shooting, editing and delivery of video or dvd, usually in several copies. An additional fee is usually charged if the client wants more copies at a rate which gives the videographer a small profit. If they are getting worked up over the copying fees they obviously aren't charging enough for the intial package. Or if they really have a problem they can pay for Macrovision protection which will prevent copying.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 12:19 PM   #29
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Rick, you've missed my point. It's not about what a videographer charges to make copies, or ways to prevent copying. It's about violating a law (videographer copying music to a video) and then getting upset when the customer (B & G) violates the same law by copying the videographers tape. They don't get upset when they take money out of someone else's pocket, but they sure feel ripped off when someone takes money out of their pocket. They can't have the law both ways.

The same law that is protecting the videographer's wedding tape is protecting my documentaries and the musician's CD. It's noble and just when it protects us, but it's absurd when it protects someone else.
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Old May 16th, 2003, 12:48 PM   #30
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Jeff,

I am talking very specifically about a set of statutes as applied to wedding videography. If you think that questioning one stupid application of a statute is an assault on the rule of law, in general, then continuing this discussion is a waste of time.

And no one is taking money out of anyone's pockets. Wedding video guys and gals would be happy to pay reasonable royalties to the artists in questions but the artists/record company's agents can't be bothered.

The record companies, by the way, have a history of not paying or underpaying royalties to the artists they represent, so if anyone is ripping anyone off it is the record companies who can't be bothered to take the videographer's money.
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