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Old February 16th, 2012, 04:44 AM   #1
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Music use in Web Video - UK


I've put this here, as I can't find another appropriate section, but I'm interested in others opinions.

Royalty Free Music.

My understanding of most Royalty Free Music, is that essentially what you're getting is "mechanically" free music, i.e. the right to reproduce the track into a video or other production.

In most cases any "broadcast" of the work requires cue details to be passed to the relevant party so that it can be included in their PRS (Ascap in the US?) return.

The area of confusion for me, is that in the UK, PRS For Music treat a website as a "broadcast". I believe this is different to many other countries, where it's treated as "non-broadcast".

PRS state that to use music on a website requires that website to have an online PRS licence. Here's a link to the page: Performing Right Online licence

From what I can see most video producers offer "royalty free music" in their productions, but my question is if, and how, they cover off the PRS aspect with their clients.

If I point out to a client that they need a licence to use the video (and rivals don't), I'm at a disadvantage.

If I don't point it out, and PRS come after the client, then am I liable?

Is it just assumed by most that a licence isn't required?

Any thoughts? Particularly if you're a UK based video maker.
Tony Fogarty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2012, 12:46 PM   #2
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Re: Music use in Web Video - UK

Posting to the web, unless it's password protected so that only select people can access it IS "broadcasting" - period.

Think about it this way, if you show a movie in your home, it's "private" use, you put it on the web for anyone and everyone who might stumble across it to watch, well, you have to call it "BROAD-cast"!

Maybe 10 people watch the video, but what if it goes viral and 10,000 or 100,000 or 10 million people watch it?? How would you like to be the IP owner who gives away that much "exposure"? If your clients don't understand the concept, pick whatever their "property" (product) is, and ask if they give away "samples" (I'd imagine most clients do SOME gratis "work" or give away a product sample at some point in time)... now ask if they'd mind givning away 10,000... the "connection" should be made!
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Old February 17th, 2012, 01:49 AM   #3
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Re: Music use in Web Video - UK

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comments. I'm not disputing the literal definition of "broadcast" - more the use of the word in the legal stuff that defines music use and rights.

Many "royalty-free music" providers have terms of use that include statements similar to below. Often they term TV and Radio use as "broadcast" - but not web.

Here's an example from a site I've just visited:

"The Media User can use the Audio for the purposes of synchronisation with media / audio visual production in nonbroadcast media which includes but is not limited to: website sound design, games, electronic devices, software applications, corporate video, multimedia CD / DVD ROM, student / festival films, presentations, audio books, on-hold, hardware and software products, viral advertising, YouTube and social networks."

In Radio or TV, I am responsible for the mechanical aspect of music use - which is often covered off by using 'non-mcps' (UK Term) production music. I then supply the details to the broadcaster - who submit it with their PRS return. Most broadcasters have a blanket licence - and the return is more about dividing up the pot of the money they pay between composers etc.

My question revolves around what other video producers do when creating content for client's websites. The mechanical is stuff is taken care of by the producer. However, the performance bit is the responsibility of the website owner (as broadcaster). I'd suggest that most clients have no understanding of this concept - or certainly within small or medium sized businesses.

I'm not suggesting depriving an IP owner of their fair dues. If anything, I'm seeking others thoughts on how they manage doing this right. Many video companies in the UK promote to their clients that they have access to "libraries of royalty-free music" for use in productions, which if anything may mislead a client as to their responsibilities.
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