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


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Old May 13th, 2008, 01:54 PM   #16
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The problem is that people always think it's about rights, or money, or legal things - making a copy for your own personal use is fine? Is it?

I went to a show, as a member of the audience, paying to get in. It was in aid of somebody who had died in tragic circumstances. One segment was some poetry, read by a young girl to some sad background music. The trouble for me was it was MY music. Ten years before I produced a one-off video promo for a piece of satellite kit. The customer was one of the Omani Ruling Family, and this gadget was destined to be stuck in a plant room, in a rack - but GOLD PLATED. The manufacturer commissioned me to produce 3.30 of sad music, which I did and was paid for.

I have no idea how this music was even heard by the organisers. If I'd been asked, I would have gladly given permission, but I expect they didn't even know the source or composer.

The entire point is that if you use music, shoot peoples performances etc - you are stealing their 'ownership and control' of their product.

The idea that it is ok for just yourself to have, makes no difference at all. It was mine, somebody took my property without my permission. Maybe, as in this case, I wouldn't have minded - BUT it's my call - and taking it away from me as if it doesn't matter stinks

Finding an obscure track, and using it is easy. Shooting some video of something interesting is easy too, but what about if it accidentally contains other peoples property - we cannot have a system that says we can do things sometimes, but not others because it's a good cause, or will only be used privately. We have to say no, but offer solutions - awkward as they may be.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:05 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
...
There should be no difference if I bring my camera to film a school play for my own viewing pleasure ... or if I decide to pay someone to film it for me for my own viewing pleasure. ...
There isn't any difference. YOU'RE not doing anything that might violate copyright or the publishers contract with the school by hiring a videographer to shoot it for you but HE might be in violation by accepting your offer of employment. The person that has to worry is the person with the camera, not the person buying his product.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:10 PM   #18
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The entire point is that if you use music, shoot peoples performances etc - you are stealing their 'ownership and control' of their product.
I see your point, but I still disagree in the sense that I think it is "over-protection" of the property. I think protection of IP should cover the realm of the public market, not private domain.

I just don't see the harm if someone purchases your song, thus paying you, and then decides to edit the highlights of their wedding to it for viewing within their own home. I don't think they should have the right to take your work, change it, and then present or market it publicly without your permission. I also don't think you should have the right to prevent them from using your work in the privacy of their own home in whatever way they want.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #19
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There isn't any difference. YOU'RE not doing anything that might violate copyright or the publishers contract with the school by hiring a videographer to shoot it for you but HE might be in violation by accepting your offer of employment. The person that has to worry is the person with the camera, not the person buying his product.
Exactly, then. There is no difference in the end result of the two, so it makes no sense that one option is legal and the other is illegal. The law is broken.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:16 PM   #20
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A copyright holder should have the right to deny use if he wishes (protect his private property), license it for free under certain circumstances (allowing fair and reasonable use and enjoyment to others, with credit to the copyright holder), and charge a reasonable fee for use where appropriate (rent/lease/sell/license a specific right for a specific use/purpose).

...!
And he does, right now and without any change to the law required. What people object to are the copyright holders who insist on either withholding permission altogther or who refuse to make their licenses available at what those who want to use the material consider a "reasonable" fee. But "reasonable" is subject to personal interpretation - if I held the copyright on the recording of this week's number 1 single, I might think $50000 for a sync/master license would be reasonable. If I were a videographer who wanted to use it in an event video, I might think $10 is reasonable. Who gets to decide? In our capitalist system the ultimate arbiter of "reasonable" is the owner of the property - everyone else's choice is limited to either paying the price demanded or going elsewhere with their business.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:22 PM   #21
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I don't think they should have the right to take your work, change it, and then present or market it publicly without your permission. ...
But isn't that exactly what someone who provides a service of making videos for other people, whether as a business or as a hobby, is doing? He's not distributing thousands of copies, true enough, but the process is exactly what you just described whether it's one copy or a thousand.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:23 PM   #22
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But "reasonable" is subject to personal interpretation - if I held the copyright on the recording of this week's number 1 single, I might think $50000 for a sync/master license would be reasonable. If I were a videographer who wanted to use it in an event video, I might think $10 is reasonable. Who gets to decide? In our capitalist system the ultimate arbiter of "reasonable" is the owner of the property - everyone else's choice is limited to either paying the price demanded or going elsewhere with their business.
Still, the problem is that Joe Smith can film his own wedding and edit the footage to a song for his personal amusement and is not violating the law. But if Joe Smith recognizes that he is not good with a camera and doesn't know how to edit, and he pays someone to do the EXACT SAME THING for the EXACT SAME USAGE, then the person he pays is now in violation of the law.

I'm sorry, but that is just stupid.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:01 PM   #23
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I also don't think you should have the right to prevent them from using your work in the privacy of their own home in whatever way they want.
So I wonder for people who submit their wedding videos for international competition, how do they deal with music copyright issues.. Do they acquire usage rights to the video right before submitting the video?
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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:13 PM   #24
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I have two parties that are interested in having me film their wedding and from what I have read here, I think that if I decide to do so I would be breaking the law to do a simple video with some backround music and give that to the bride and groom for a nominal fee for my time.

If I decline the offer they will get someone else to do the same thing. This is a major delima. No one want's to break the law or copy someone else's work but just a small video with limited copies wow! something to think about.
I must assume that most all wedding videographers are in non compliance?

Maybe just blur out everyone but the bride and groom and play a fiddle for backround and call it good. Probably won't get much work though.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:15 PM   #25
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So I wonder for people who submit their wedding videos for international competition, how do they deal with music copyright issues.. Do they acquire usage rights to the video right before submitting the video?
All I'm going to say is that I highly doubt they acquire all of the proper rights.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:40 PM   #26
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I have two parties that are interested in having me film their wedding and from what I have read here, I think that if I decide to do so I would be breaking the law to do a simple video with some backround music and give that to the bride and groom for a nominal fee for my time.

If I decline the offer they will get someone else to do the same thing. This is a major delima. No one want's to break the law or copy someone else's work but just a small video with limited copies wow! something to think about.
I must assume that most all wedding videographers are in non compliance?

Maybe just blur out everyone but the bride and groom and play a fiddle for backround and call it good. Probably won't get much work though.
There are a lot of ways you can provide good music legally. Stock library music doesn't sound like elevator music any more and you can get royalty-free performances of things like the classic Wedding March, etc, in a lot of buy-out or needle-drop libraries. Packages like SonicFire can help. But it's true it would be difficult - for all practical purposes impossible - to legally use the couple's choice of popular music. All of the workarounds that some people advocate from time to time, things like having the couple buy CDs of the music they want, are more akin to urban legend than legal fact. You are correct - it is a major dilemma.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 04:07 PM   #27
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Travis,
My beef is that we have gotten to a point where Joe Smith cannot even legally tape his OWN wedding because he will be capturing some music at some point that he does not own. If he does do it legally and provide all of the music from his own personal collection, then any one else who tapes it is commiting a crime.

I don't think it should be that difficult to define personal use. As absolutley incredible works of art that my wedding videos are, I don't think any one other than the personal friends and relatives of the bride and groom would possibly be interested in acquiring one! The same goes for the Jr. High play, Nobody other than the relatives of these kids would be interested in watching it.
If I hired professional actors, made a movie and distributed it, it would be fairly obvious that it was not for the actors "personal" use.

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Old May 13th, 2008, 04:14 PM   #28
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I couldn't agree more. I think the difference between commercial use and personal use could be defined more clearly and simply, and it would eliminate 95% of the problem situations.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 05:38 PM   #29
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And he does, right now and without any change to the law required. What people object to are the copyright holders who insist on either withholding permission altogther or who refuse to make their licenses available at what those who want to use the material consider a "reasonable" fee. But "reasonable" is subject to personal interpretation - if I held the copyright on the recording of this week's number 1 single, I might think $50000 for a sync/master license would be reasonable. If I were a videographer who wanted to use it in an event video, I might think $10 is reasonable. Who gets to decide? In our capitalist system the ultimate arbiter of "reasonable" is the owner of the property - everyone else's choice is limited to either paying the price demanded or going elsewhere with their business.
And that is exactly why the rules will change, probably sooner than most think.

The inability to negotiate cost for simple music use in wedding videos etc., that are never made a legal contest, and other simple uses that do not generate large incomes for the videographer and private persons, will cause the rules to change.

Sonny Bono (Sonny & Cher), an artist and musician who was married to Cher and who became a US representative to congress, for those who don't remember, played a major part in extending the copyright laws and making it so technical that you probably can't get permission to use the music that you would like. Companies like Disney and such were the major beneficiaries of these new laws that Bono proposed and got passed.

I do not want to argue the laws that are on the books now, but I will say that they will change sooner rather than later. Funny thing is, I don't have a real concern in this issue. I don't take other peoples music and use them. I do have my own royalty free libraries and use them. BUT, I don't do wedding videos, where the client wants his current favorite music as the background. I pity those who do have those clients. You have to, and will continue to use their music in their videos. I support your use for this purpose.

The internet, digital production, easy access, etc. will change the laws,,,,,,,,,,for the better in my opinion.

So, now I await Chris's deletion of my post. But, for those who subscribe, you will get it before it will be deleted! :) I understand business, but I still think that this is a legitimate forum topic. After all, most produce videos with music content.

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Old May 14th, 2008, 03:48 AM   #30
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It's a very legitimate topic, as it affects any event/wedding videographer... "incidental" music is almost guaranteed, and intentional music is often expected... so since no one really wants to be a criminal, it's natural to examine the practical aspects of the question.

I think the most unique and legally supportable argument is that an event that can be privately taped for a limited audience by anyone in attendance at that event (this excludes sports events/concerts/paid theater, etc. by definition, as most have contracts for video/TV or no taping allowed) should be an automatic exemption for a videographer, who is really just being asked to record the event for the private party & perhaps for the convenience of the attendees.

The private party who is determining "distribution and marketing" is hiring a camera operator and an editor, and IF there is any potential liability, it should lie with them - probably a need for a fair use exemption or a "reasonable fee" of some sort there as well... but if we're talking about a limited not for profit event...

The grey area is where somehow that event becomes of more widespread interest or value... but how often does THAT happen??

If event/wedding video has a flaw as a business, it's that "repeat customers" are few and far between (at least you'd like to hope so), and the end product has a shorter lifespan than a fruitfly, except for maybe a handful of people who will watch it more than once. The likelyhood it will surpass sales of even the worst box office bomb is virtually nil. The "value" of any infringement is probably next to nothing in practical terms, thus why we are all scratching our heads!

The "commercial" value is in the recording and editing of the event for those few people, not in distribution of someone else's copyrighted work by any stretch of the imagination. With the cost of technology coming down, you increasingly must compete with "free" unless you've got some chops, there's not a lot of room for a legal team to go negotiate clearances... and yet there is demand for someone better than Uncle Bob... and maybe a familiar tune... so what to do...?

IP law has some major challenges/changes ahead to address the realities of the digital media age - no one could have envisioned the revolution that is still underway, and it's probably on par with the "industrial revolution"...

One unique aspect of law, it can and does change and adapt over time, usually because of needed changes and concerned citizens making enough noise to get someone to pen a bill and tack it on the back end of a budget measure or something <wink> - probably how Sonny Bono got it through...

The key is in figuring out a way to keep the wheels of commerce turning at least somewhat smoothly in the meantime, which ultimately should create profit for ALL the legitimate business people... but that would be common sense. Law and sausages are somewhat different.
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