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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old September 24th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Colby Knight View Post
Then she asks if she could COPY them
How are you going to stop her?

I encourage it. It's a wedding, not exactly black market material. It's nice to have your name spread around.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 10:41 AM   #17
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I assume there is some equivalent per-copy-payment in other countries that strictly should be applied to each copy?
Not in the US. I would love to have a system like that here. Instead, we have to interpret the copyright law and decide whether we want to take a chance that we interpreted it right.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #18
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Are you taking about photo or video here?

Both.

Any money made from making copies of your finished products etc...
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Old September 24th, 2007, 03:14 PM   #19
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Hm. The UK system sounds interesting. But is that for any song you want? Other media?

In the US, you basically need permission to use anything, and if you have it, then that's probably just fine. If you don't (and this can frequently be the case) it's technically illegal, and probably a bad idea because of it.

Any smart videographer would get some rights setup or use copyright free music or music from a library designed for this. It's just asking for trouble if not.

On the other hand, I doubt it's much of an issue to have copyrighted music IN the film, as part of the ceremony/reception. I'm not sure on the legal issues there, but I think it's just generally seen as a public event that you documented, so probably not something you need to worry about. I'd like to hear from someone who knows the copyright law in this case, though.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 06:11 PM   #20
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I don't think anyone knows the copyright laws exactly Daniel. Best bet is to use royalty free music. Definitely safe that way. Not saying that's what I do, but that's definitely the safest way to do it.

In terms of letting clients copy the DVD I'm all for it. I provide five copies up front, with the couple's DVD in a nicer case than the others. If they want to copy it and pass it around that's great. More advertising for me. If they actually like it enough to pass it around to other people then that seems like a compliment to me.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #21
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Wow... I wish whoever said they did have a problem with their stuff being copied would chime in! :)

Seriously though... in my packages, a certain amount of DVDs are included (6), complete with customized labels, etc. If they make copies and hand them off to someone else, I hate to think that my work was being delivered on a less than spectacular looking DVD. Also, it does affect my bottom line because if they want extra, they should BUY EXTRA.

Just seems kind of cheap.

And I know in the pecking order, the wedding video is near the bottom rung.

For know, anyways...
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Old September 24th, 2007, 11:53 PM   #22
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I think the key here is to deliver a superior looking final product, so that there is incentive to have you make the copies. A high quality (preferably printed on the DVD) "label" is a nice touch, a DVD cover that looks like somthing you'd buy in the store probably helps.

In the end, I concur that if they order up front, I'd appreciate the opportunity to make any "extra" copies they need... what's a few "extras" while burning and printing a project? If they need stuff 6 months later, I've already archived everything, I'd rather they just burn a quick copy...
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Old September 25th, 2007, 01:03 AM   #23
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Wow... I wish whoever said they did have a problem with their stuff being copied would chime in! :)
Who?

I'd have a huge problem with someone copying my short films. But if I did something specifically for someone, such as a wedding, I think they've got the rights to it once it's made.

If you were to record some band's song, wouldn't you get paid to record it and give them the rights?
If you were to film someone's movie as DP, or edit it, wouldn't you get paid and just give the director/etc. the rights?

If you own the rights, what do you plan to gain with them? Would you sell them?

Whose wedding is it? To whom is it of significant importance?
Do you really care about the wedding? About who watches your videos?

I can certainly see wanting to make more money, and you suggesting they pay you more to make 12 copies from the start, but if they want to copy the videos and show their grandmother do you really want to stop them? (and as has been asked, how?)

If you have a good reason, please post. I'm not saying you can't have a reason, but I honestly don't understand it if so.
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Old September 25th, 2007, 08:43 PM   #24
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Daniel, when you make your films, aren't you making those for someone? Your audience?

I am very upfront with couples about what's included with my services. You get 6 DVDs included with your wedding... and additional DVDs will cost 'x' amount.

And to flat out ask if they can make copies?! That's just being cheap.

In my opinion, of course.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 03:49 AM   #25
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Hm. The UK system sounds interesting. But is that for any song you want? Other media?

In the US, you basically need permission to use anything, and if you have it, then that's probably just fine. If you don't (and this can frequently be the case) it's technically illegal, and probably a bad idea because of it.

Any smart videographer would get some rights setup or use copyright free music or music from a library designed for this. It's just asking for trouble if not.

On the other hand, I doubt it's much of an issue to have copyrighted music IN the film, as part of the ceremony/reception. I'm not sure on the legal issues there, but I think it's just generally seen as a public event that you documented, so probably not something you need to worry about. I'd like to hear from someone who knows the copyright law in this case, though.
The uk system is clearly defined (thankfully) and you must have a license as discussed (the hologram sticker) for each disc and it can contain as many tracks as you like. Any incidental music is excluded from the need for a license but if there is a band playing, or you are recording in the church then another license is required to cover this.

Even so, at a price of about 8 per disc for live music and 4 per disc to cover any music you choose to use during the edit it is still quite cheap.

however, the price for a copy of a disc is already 12 ($23) for the licenses and then I add on the price of the disc, ink, box and photo paper....still works out cheap.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #26
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The sticker music license system sounds nice. Wish we had that in the US.

As for copies, I tell couples that if they have the capability to make copies on their own, they can do that. I state in my contract that they do not take the video to a 3rd party for copying, but that they come back to me. Most of the time they come back to me. They say the price ($20 USD) is reasonable, and they like the labels and packaging.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 05:46 PM   #27
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Daniel, when you make your films, aren't you making those for someone? Your audience?
Sure. It's my movie, my story (sometimes, or one I've grown attached to), my directing, etc.
No one else has any reason to have it be more important to them (others are related, but if I'm directing/editing/etc., then I'm usually the most interested).
The audience is the... audience. But not part of the production. "I want to see the movie you didn't make that I don't know about" is not the same as "I wish I'd had someone record my wedding", etc.

In the case of a wedding, isn't it more for the couple?

Whose production was it? Yours or theirs? I see it as a service where you recorded the film and created it within their "production"-- ie, event... the wedding.

Your job is a simple one-- make the film, get it to them, and, of course, get paid to do it.

I can see a legal argument for owning the copies, but that seems kinda extreme.

That would be like the minister charging twice as much if you brought more people to watch.

On top of that, legally, this isn't entirely yours. You don't have releases from the "actors", so you wouldn't be able to sell this anyway.

If you feel you need to charge more then give them full rights, completely understandable.

But why hold back and keep the film from them if not? Does this actually give you any financial gain?

(Again, if they want you to duplicate them, then that's just fine. Charge for your work/time/costs.)


Think of this as a professional relationship with a studio. You are hired, and you make something. But you don't really own it. Legally you own the way the footage was captured, the tapes, the editing, and any other intellectual property, but it's their content.

Or, do you have them sign some sort of release that you own the exclusive rights to the content you record at their event? (Crazy, I say, but then legally correct. -- And if it was my wedding, I'm sure I wouldn't sign such a contract.)

Do you genuinely feel that you can say to the couple, "No. I filmed it, so you need to ask me permission before giving a copy of your wedding video to your grandmother. Sorry. That's in the contract."?

<<>>

As for the sticker licensing, that's very cool.
Still a bit vague-- so these stickers are decided upon between you and the party holding the copyright?
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Old September 28th, 2007, 07:35 AM   #28
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As for the sticker licensing, that's very cool.
Still a bit vague-- so these stickers are decided upon between you and the party holding the copyright?
It is vague - the UK bodies issuing the licences (PPL and MCPS-PRS) don't require to know the exact pieces of music you use, they just pool the income they receive from all sources and divide it up amongst registered artists in proportion to their "popularity" or "volume of output", or some similar statistics.

Not fair, for sure, but pretty convenient for us music dubbers. There are limitations to our use of the system - supposedly only 20 minutes of dubbed music (from memory) but you don't have to nominate the tracks you use.
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Old September 28th, 2007, 11:23 AM   #29
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...On the other hand, I doubt it's much of an issue to have copyrighted music IN the film, as part of the ceremony/reception. I'm not sure on the legal issues there, but I think it's just generally seen as a public event that you documented, so probably not something you need to worry about. I'd like to hear from someone who knows the copyright law in this case, though.
I am not a lawyer. There's an extensive discussion of the issue in an article by Doug Spotted Eagle over in the articles section of the board. The gist of it is that if copyrighted material is used in your production you must have permission from the copyright owner or it's illegal - full stop. There are a lot of myths around that say "It's only 30 seconds" or "I can make less than 5 copies" or "The B&G gave me the CD of their favourite song to use and its legal to copy it because they own the CD" or some such but they're all just that - myths. While there are some possible exceptions for incidental use such as snatches of music overheard in the background during an interview (and those are only *possible* exceptions, not guaranteed to hold up in court should a rights holder want to make an issue of it with you), if the piece is music you added to the soundtrack or is a material part of the soundtrack (like recording the music that the DJ's playing as the sound while filming the couple's first dance), you have to have permission or you can't legally use it. Whether you'll get caught is another matter, but wedding videographers have been nailed on it and lost major bucks if not their businesses and personal assets because of it - they just don't make the press very often because non-disclosure is often a part of legal settlements these days. Even the cost of defending an action would be a major financial hit even if you eventually prevail.
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Old September 28th, 2007, 06:14 PM   #30
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Yes, I meant entirely incidental music, with "IN", which admittedly wasn't very clear.
If you add a track, then you would certainly need permission.
(The only rule I know about is a 10% or 30 second (I think that's the number) allotment of any copyrighted work for purely educational and nonprofit works, and this I have just heard about in passing, though from several generally reliable sources.)

Clearly in the case of a wedding video you are selling, you would need full permission from anything you do. However, anything that was actually recorded as part of the video seems more the responsibility of the bride and groom.


As a matter of fact, this actually ties in very closely with the original question. If you charge for your SERVICES ONLY, then you don't really need to worry about copyright.
Your job is a simple one-- sit at a computer and be paid [arbitrary] $500. Then give them a CD when you are done, as their employee (or something like that), not as an independent production studio.

Issues could still arise from including your own music library if you don't have rights to distribute that, but, really, just like if you were to give them a copy of the CD, except that it might be more noticeable especially as it was related to a financial transaction.

As an example, I know that it's legal to hire an FX artist to work on a Star Wars fan film. But then you can't sell the film itself. People have also paid actors, rented locations, etc.

Your actions are purely your own and you're free to sell them as you want. Selling anything that has copyrighted material in it directly, though, will be a big no no.

But, of course, these actions might be independently illegal (regardless of your pay for working on them), such as duplicating a song on the disc.

If it's their music and you copy it FOR THEM (making duplicate copies might be an issue), then you probably would be fine there.

Of course, it's a gray area still.
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