copyright warning at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Taking Care of Business

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


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 14th, 2003, 02:44 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 45
copyright warning

I'm a wedding videographer. Of course, people have their favorite songs they want in the background of their videos, and this adds a slight legal problem. I know most people don't get caught, but if anyone has a nice disclaimer they add to the beginning of the video about how its for personal use only and not to copy or distribute it I would be more grateful for you to send it my way.

Any other advice on this subject is also welcome!

Thanks
Annie
Annie Cheatham is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 02:52 AM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 45
and I understand it is still a violation of copyright, and that nothing is going to get me out of trouble if I do get caught. I just want sometime for the client to see that is nicely worded and official looking.

You just can't tell the bride her song can't be on the video :)

Annie
Annie Cheatham is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 04:02 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Saitama, Japan
Posts: 111
Basically you produce and get money to shoot the video so therefor you are responsible, the fact that the client only watch it at home, does not save you from the copyright since you sold someone elses work. So if you get caught, you are the only one that suffers and not the client.
Akos Szemenyei is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 07:02 AM   #4
Warden
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
Posts: 8,267
You might try contacting ASCAP and asking what the real fees are for using it. I've used music in similar type productions and the fees have been quite affordable. I don't know specifically what they might be for a wedding.

I would make sure the premiums on my errors and omission insurance are paid up.
__________________
Jeff Donald
Carpe Diem




Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Where to Buy? From the best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Jeff Donald is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 02:03 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Posts: 366
Technically putting the bride or groom's favorite music on a wedding video violates all sorts of copyright statutes. And just about every wedding videographer does it. (I don't do weddings so please take everything I say with a grain of salt.)

Wedding videos are produced in small numbers for private use and not for broadcast. Why putting music paid for by either the bride and groom or the videographer in a video should be a crime says a lot about how arcane, convoluted and unworkable the copyright statutes have become. For practical purposes it isn't worth your time and effort to attempt to purchase rights to a few songs for a handful of non-commercial tapes.

I have wedding videographer friends who ask the bride and groom to choose the music they want on the video and then purchase the CDs. They also add a non-descript clause to their contract which states that the video is for private use and viewing only and the videographer is indemnified by the client if the video is put to any other use. Not much protection but better than none.

I know a corporate media person for a major New York bank who regularly uses copyrighted music for in-house video. Technically it is illegal. When I asked him about it he waived a hand and said, "its in-house only". What he does is not that uncommon and the corporations involved have a lot more at risk than most wedding videographers.
Rick Spilman is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 05:17 PM   #6
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles (recently from San Francisco)
Posts: 954
Quote:
Technically putting the bride or groom's favorite music on a wedding video violates all sorts of copyright statutes.
Not "technically." It does. Period.

Quote:
Why putting music paid for by either the bride and groom or the videographer in a video should be a crime says a lot about how arcane, convoluted and unworkable the copyright statutes have become.
First, it's not a crime -- it's highly unlikely that there will be criminal penalties for this. However, there is nothing arcane, convoluted or unworkable with respect to this aspect of copyright law. The purpose of copyright protection is to give the author _absolute_ control over his/her work in specific contexts. Two of these aspects are the right to copy and the right to distribute. Except for fair use or compulsory license (which are not applicable here), a copyright owner has the right to say, "No one can use my work." That's why you'll never see a film version of "Catcher in the Rye," at least not until the book goes into the public domain.

Sorry you don't like it, but the right to exclusive control of copyright is express in the U.S. Constitution (at Article I, Section 8).

Quote:
I have wedding videographer friends who ask the bride and groom to choose the music they want on the video and then purchase the CDs. They also add a non-descript clause to their contract which states that the video is for private use and viewing only and the videographer is indemnified by the client if the video is put to any other use. Not much protection but better than none.
It is absolutely no protection whatsoever. In fact, if anything, it suggests an awareness that the music is protected by copyright, which would support intentional infringement liability, which is significantly greater than liability for innocent infringement.

Quote:
I know a corporate media person for a major New York bank who regularly uses copyrighted music for in-house video. Technically it is illegal. When I asked him about it he waived a hand and said, "its in-house only". What he does is not that uncommon and the corporations involved have a lot more at risk than most wedding videographers.
I wonder if the lawyers at your friend's bank know what he doing. There's a difference between "we probably won't get caught," and "we're not looking at much liability if we do." Statutory damages for intentional infringement are very high.

As for the risk to wedding videographers, the likelihood of getting caught and sued is probably low. The potential liability is enormous -- a corporation has general liability insurance that, usually, covers non-intentional copyright infringement under the advertising injury provisions. A wedding videographer has his/her gear, house, car, etc.

Everything in business is the product of risk/benefit analysis. It's important to be very clear, however, about the nature and extent of the risk. Copying protected music on to a commercial video is not "technical" infringement -- it is every bit as illegal as making pirated copies of the underlying CD and selling them on the street.
Paul Tauger is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 08:00 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Posts: 366
This is simply ridiculous. And the scare tactic of suggesting that a wedding videographer could lose everything because he put the bride's "favorite song" on a private wedding video is absurd.

To call a wedding video a "commercial" video is equally ridiculous. A wedding video is a record of a private event which will be shown privately. Five maybe ten copies will be made. lt will not be distributed or resold.

For all intents and purposes there is no reasonable means for a wedding videographer to be "legal" - to pay the royalties and fees on copyrighted music so that he/she can put the music his/her client asks for in the video. The cost of processing the royalties on ten copies would exceed the royalties due by several times. Look at the Harry Fox site. They have a streamlined procedure for purchasing "limited quantity licensing rights" for units between 500 and 2,500. I have read where one videographer requested rights for 10 units and he was told to go ahead and not worry about it by a rep from the Harry Fox Agency. It wasn't worth bothering with.

The real risk to a wedding videographer being sued for delivering 10 copies of a wedding video with copyright music has got to be significantly less than the chances of the cameraman being struck by lighting on the steps of the church. Which is to say almost exactly zero.

The royalties on the copyrighted music were paid when the CD was sold (and probably overpaid then as the record companies have maintained a cartel to keep CD prices artifically high.) No, I realize that is not what the statutes say. The absurdity of all this is that a videographer could deliver a wedding video without music and also deliver a CD remix of the bride and grooms favorite music which they would play when viewing the video. That would be "legal". Adding the same music as a background track would not be.

So lectures about legality are fine but a little realty should be added to the mix.
Rick Spilman is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 08:12 PM   #8
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles (recently from San Francisco)
Posts: 954
Quote:
This is simply ridiculous. And the scare tactic of suggesting that a wedding videographer could lose everything because he put the bride's "favorite song" on a private wedding video is absurd.
I'm not trying to scare anyone. I am simply explaining the law. I don't care whether wedding videographers do this or not. I do care when a layperson posts incorrect legal information. I corrected it. That's all. Wedding videographers, like any other business person, will determine whether or not it makes sense, from a business perspective, to do this or not. They should, however, make the decision based on an accurate understanding of the facts, which include applicable laws and the bases for liability if they are called to task for violating them. The measure of damages for copyright infringement is specified in the statute. Look it up if you don't want to take my word for it.

Quote:
To call a wedding video a "commercial" video is equally ridiculous. A wedding video is a record of a private event which will be shown privately. Five maybe ten copies will be made. lt will not be distributed or resold.
Sorry, but you're simply wrong. Wedding videographers sell their work. That makes it commercial, which is relevant to damages (as well as any attempt at a fair use defense).

Quote:
For all intents and purposes there is no reasonable means for a wedding videographer to be "legal" - to pay the royalties and fees on copyrighted music so that he/she can put the music his/her client asks for in the video.
I'm well aware of that. I've even had discussions with ASCAP's counsel to try and change this. However, what relevance has that to the law?

Quote:
The real risk to a wedding videographer of being sued for delivering 10 copies of a wedding video with copyright music has got to be significantly less than the chances of the cameraman being struck by lighting on the steps of the church. Which is to say almost exactly zero.
Perhaps, perhaps not. I've have frequently sued on behalf of clients who felt the need to set an example for others considering infringing their work. I know of high schools that have been sued for copyright infringement. There's even a relatively famous case in which a minister was sued for making 20 copies of a hymn for his choir. I don't represent the record companies, and I have no idea how they regard "minor" infringement by wedding videographers. And neither do you.

Quote:
The absurdity of all thsi is that a videographer could deliver a wedding video without music and also dleiver a CD remix of th bride and grooms favorite music whcih they would play when viewing the video. That would be "legal". Adding the same music as a background track would not be.
I think it is even arguable that the bride and groom could add the music themselves. Under the AHRA, the act of copying music for personal use is immune to suit. However, no one has yet tested whether the AHRA applies to copying music to video; perhaps it would apply, perhaps not. In any event, it certainly _doesn't_ apply to the wedding videographer.
Paul Tauger is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 08:39 PM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Saitama, Japan
Posts: 111
I agree with you 100% Paul, maybe someone should take this one step further, not by suing, but by giving the wedding videographers easy access and a fair price so that the brides can get their favorite music. Just a thought.
Akos Szemenyei is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 09:02 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Posts: 366
With a properly structured contract the protection of the AHRA could be used to shield both the videographer and the clients. As the risk of a suit is so low it might not be worth the trouble, but it could be done.

A business succeeds by meeting the needs of its customers. Which is why wedding videographers put copyrighted music in their videos. It would be stupid not to. So yes, you need to balance risks and rewards. Meet the needs of your customers and stay in business or cower before legalisms and the thugs from the RIAA and find anotehr line of work.

I'm just glad I don't shoot weddings. Too much work for the income and too many mothers of the bride.
Rick Spilman is offline  
Old May 14th, 2003, 09:20 PM   #11
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 8,308
<<<-- Originally posted by Rick Spilman :

A business succeeds by meeting the needs of its customers. Which is why wedding videographers put copyrighted music in their videos. It would be stupid not to. So yes, you need to balance risks and rewards. Meet the needs of your customers and stay in business or cower before legalisms and the thugs from the RIAA and find anotehr line of work.
-->>>

That's the same logic that fuels the multi-trillion dollar drug trade. If it's worth the money, why not take the risk, right?
__________________
Need to rent camera gear in Vancouver BC?
Check me out at camerarentalsvancouver.com
Dylan Couper is offline  
Old May 15th, 2003, 12:18 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 45
OK, so I understand all the legalies of the situation, and am glad everyone got to offer some info on the subject, but all I was really wondering was if anyone did actually add a disclaimer, and if so, what it said.

Legally I know it doesn't help to add the disclaimer, but it doesn't hurt for the sake of the client.

Secondly, whats the best website to find a good collection of songs that I can pay for and then use in the videos? If anyone has purchased some music, I'd appreciate any feedback, good or bad, about what to look out for!

Sorry I started this heated discussion.

Annie
Annie Cheatham is offline  
Old May 15th, 2003, 12:36 AM   #13
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 8,308
<<<-- Originally posted by Annie Cheatham :

Sorry I started this heated discussion.

Annie -->>>

Don't be! It's a perfectly valid discussion, and very informative for all.
__________________
Need to rent camera gear in Vancouver BC?
Check me out at camerarentalsvancouver.com
Dylan Couper is offline  
Old May 15th, 2003, 01:17 AM   #14
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Paul Tauger is a litigation attorney with years and years of experience in copyright law and intellectual property rights. We are very fortunate to have his input here; he definitely knows what he's talking about. Hope this helps,
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline  
Old May 15th, 2003, 07:53 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Posts: 366
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.

For a customer wanting a wedding video, the music copyright statutes are impossible to comply with, effectively un-enforced and in a meaningful sense un-enforceable. As Mr. Bumble says in Dicken's "Oliver Twist", "if the law supposes that, then the law is an ass."

The arrogance and shortsightedness of the music industry has already cost it a significant chunk of its market. Only recently have companies like Apple and others, largely from outside the industry, begun to develop workable alternatives to meet the needs of willing music customers. While the corporate enforcers from the RIAA keep coming up with new threats and harebrained demands, like charging royalties on used CDs. They use strong armed threats as an alternative to effective marketing - gee, I must have missed class that day when they taught that bit at business school.

At least in some areas things are getting better. High schools and churches can now purchase rights to music with a credit card over the internet for very reasonable fees. Unfortunately there is no comparable alternative for wedding music, though no doubt that will come to. In the mean time, everyone will have to keep muddling along.
Rick Spilman is offline  
Closed Thread

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Taking Care of Business

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:03 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network