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Old July 10th, 2009, 02:56 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Vito DeFilippo View Post
I think this would be great. Right now, we break copyright constantly because if we refuse to use the songs the couple wants, we don't get the job. So this topic gets hashed and bashed around over and over.

Wouldn't it be great if we could just all get to say to our clients "nope, can't do it. Here's a list of royalty free stuff from my library that I can use in your video. The music police have shut us all down."

Then we could just get on with it.
Actually.. you nailed it on the head for me. Thinking of going into this business.. this is the only way to go. Seriously. I don't know if it would make sense to have say a page on my company website that lists the hundreds if not thousands of songs (maybe with a nice search facility) so someone can check what songs they could be allowed in their wedding video. I do think as time goes on with all the issues going on with this, more and more musicians will sign up for the royalty free avenue as they'll have yet another outlet for money.

So..question then for Chris (or anyone who knows), what if the wedding client has purchased a CD of music that they want to use. Can I legally use that music in their wedding video since they purchased the music legally and the video is for them and nobody else? It would mean I can't show their video on my site, sure.. but could I legally use the music they purchased in their video? OR.. could I go out and buy a CD (or itunes music), and put it in their video for their use only? If so.. how does this apply to making copies of the DVDs for their friends/relatives? I am guessing that would NOT be allowed due to multiple distributes of the music without paying for it... hence what a royalty free license covers.

I haven't looked at the sites yet, but was is the average price for a single song royalty free to use? And.. if I myself pay for that song.. is it normally a one time use, or can I use it in anything I want from then on (or some duration probably the license covers)?

Thanks.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:00 PM   #32
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Kevin, do a search on the site. This topic has been discussed a million times and you'll get lots of info.

Cheers...
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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:02 PM   #33
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There was a huge thread about the music licensing issue a while back and there have been numbers of threads about this issue.
I started this thread just to share that twitter and facebook could very often be used against you... More on that subject than the actual music licensing.....
But, really, I want to thank you all for your advice and help.
Hopefully things will work out OK...

JJ
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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
what if the wedding client has purchased a CD of music that they want to use. Can I legally use that music in their wedding video since they purchased the music legally and the video is for them and nobody else?
Copyright = the right to copy. Even if they have bought a hundred copies of the CD you still don't have the right to copy the song and sync it to video.

I often fantasize about Vito's idea of our industry collectively telling our clients, "Sorry, can't use that Madonna song." But as long as the majority of us are giving the option of using any song, licensed or not, it's a death sentence.

I often wonder how the higher priced studios with the most exposure get away with it. Uncle Bob with the handycam who charges $500 and does five weddings a year I can see flying under the radar, but I would think more companys that are featured on popular wedding websites and magazines, would be caught by now.

But I don't want to get off track so I'll zip it :)
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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Chris Davis View Post
Why? If you're going to use obscure music that the client has never heard, why not use legally obtained royalty free music from Stock20, Digital Juice, Free Play Music, et al?
Because that music is created on a computer, and it sounds like it. Nothing says 'cheese' more in a wedding video than music that sounds like it should be playing in an elevator somewhere.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
Because that music is created on a computer, and it sounds like it. Nothing says 'cheese' more in a wedding video than music that sounds like it should be playing in an elevator somewhere.
Maybe some, but I've found several that work well with my corporate productions. I get lots of comments about my choice of music fitting perfectly with the video. But perhaps my ear is not as educated as yours. Laws be damned - we're in it for the art! :)
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Old July 10th, 2009, 04:09 PM   #37
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I use royalty-free stuff from places like Digital Juice for corporate projects, but wedding clients are a whole 'nother ball game. d;-)
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Old July 10th, 2009, 04:14 PM   #38
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I second Travis' comment. I use Stock 20 for most of my non-wedding client and they always loved it. It's the wedding clients that I can show 1000 songs to pick from my royalty free music library, and honestly, I have used some royalty free music for some weddings, but it is very very rare...
Still waiting from their attorney...

JJ
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Old July 10th, 2009, 04:34 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
Why is that do you think? I mean, from my perspective it takes care of the legal issues AND provides additional profit all at the same time. Even if the legal issue solution doesn't motivate them, I would think profits would. Is it that they don't believe they would make a profit off of such a system?
When I used to work in aerospace (my day job while I was a professional actor), we always had two reasons not to change something:

1. We've always done it this way.
2. We've never done it that way.

My expectation is that the copyright owners don't see wedding and event videography as a significant source of potential income. Though I think they wrong in this assessment, there's little I (or you) can do to change there minds. I do think that WEVA and similar organizations can and should lobby for this change. Perhaps you should ask them. ;)
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Old July 10th, 2009, 05:08 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
Hey all,

I read all the posts with great interest because I read the thread a bit a while ago about the discussion of using music as a DJ or in wedding videos.

I am confused by a few issues. I am hoping some of you can clear these up based on J.J.'s issues at hand. As he said..he used this guys music in a video trailer that is on his sight. He didn't credit the guy..ok.. but JJ isnt making money (yet) off of the videos. If I understand correctly, isn't JJ selling the video as part of his service for shooting the wedding video? Thus, there is only 1 person buying it? It's not like he's redistributing this guys music and making money off of it. So how much "license" can a song demand?
Copyright law reserves to the copyright owner a number of protected rights. Among these are:

1. The right to make copies.
2. The right to distribute.
3. The right to prepare derivative works.
4. The right to publicly perform.

By posting the video trailer on a website, the OP has infringed all four. Copyright confers and exclusive right, meaning you can't "make" a copyright owner let you use something (absent a compulsory license or fair use, which this is not).

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I ask this because, I have been wanting to get in to the wedding video business, but after reading this, I don't think I do now. This is insane.
This is the law. I won't comment on its relative sanity or insanity.

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I agree a musician needs to make his money, and if J.J. Were selling his music on some site and profiting from it without permission, J.J. would be in a heap of trouble.
J.J. is already in a heap of trouble. The remaining questions are only two: does the copyright owner intend to sue and, if so, what will be the amount of damages for which J.J. is liable.

As I said, "exclusive rights," means exclusive as in, "the power to exclude." The purpose of copyright is as an incentive to creation by authors. I happen to write music. Suppose I think wedding videos are tacky and cheapen my compositions (I don't, by the way -- this is a hypothetical). I have an absolute right, confirmed by the Constitution, to say, "I don't care whether you're making money or not -- you can't use my music for a wedding video."

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That is mostly common sense.
And this is the law.

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We see pirated DVDs, CDs, etc all over the place and we read about places that get caught and their owners go to jail.. etc etc.. but they are redistributing music possibly in quantities for profit with not even a penny going back to the original musicians and parties involved in the production of said music. That is illegal.
It would also be illegal if they were giving them away for free. The fact of profit on this scale renders it criminal.

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agree. But J.J is simply using his song in a video that he is "showing off" so while somebody can watch it.. it's not the full song and it's probably not even CD quality and it's not being sold.. so how the heck can he be charged any sort of nominal price for using a portion of the music in a non-profitable way?
I have own a vacant house in San Francisco. I'm not using it and it's not making me any money at the moment. Do you think that means you can spend the weekend there for free without my permission? Like real estate, copyright confers the power to exclude for any reason or for no reason.

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By that I mean..if this musician has lawyers involved (plural mind you),
And it appears that it does.

Quote:
that's costing the guy a lot of money..probably a lot more than the money JJ was going to make off the whole wedding video service. It would be my guess that he would then try to sue JJ for at least the costs of his lawyers + some sort of cost for the use of the music. I don't know for sure how that works..but it's a guess..
And you've guessed wrong. Intentional infringement does result in liability for attorneys fees, but it also includes statutory damages, which can be elected instead of actual damages. Statutory damages for intentional infringement are awarded in an amount at the discretion of the judge and can be up to $1,000,000.

However, you also said you read the thread. You must have missed my post in which I explained that people rarely sue for copyright infringement because they think they will make money from the litigation. There are many other far more valid reasons to sue.

Quote:
why have lawyers looking into this one use of it and pay their astronomical fees if you don't plan to recoup the costs of their fees at least?
What is "astronomical" to you isn't astronomical to a business that derives its income from license fees and royalties for its intellectual property.

Quote:
That said, now that I am also scared about thinking of going into this business.. how does one in the US of good o'l A license music for videos?
You either obtain a license from the copyright owner (and, because we're talking about recordings, there are multiple copyrights involved, i.e. the recording and the underlying composition constitute separate copyrights), or you use royalty-free or public domain music.

Quote:
I ask this primarily because I have no money and wanted to offer some free shoots/editings to get a portfolio going..but it sounds like I may get my house taken from me if I try to use any song at all without paying some license?
Legally, you could. Whether it's likely that would happen is another question. I'm a lawyer and can only offer opinions about the law. Whether or not you will get caught is not something I could or would advise about.

Quote:
I have read that there is a new site that offers music for wedding videos, events, etc at a low price.. forget how much it was per use, but it wasn't too bad.
There are lots of sites like that. I'm just an amateur, but I post my videos on YouTube. I use royalty-free music from SmartSound for my videos.

Quote:
Naturally wedding people have to work that in to their prices. I would love it if someone could point me to some info on that so I can get a rough idea of what will be required to actually use any music I want in a video.
Do a search here on "royalty free music." You'll find lots of suggestions.

Quote:
Incidentally..what about videos people post on YouTube and Facebook and such? If this guy can go after J.J for this.. why can't everyone on youtube and facebook be sued for posting videos with illegal music and such?
Everyone can. I've sent take-down notices and cease-and-desist letters to people who have pirated my videos (though why they would want to do so is absolutely beyond me -- I'm just not that good).

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You wonder why people download mp3s.. it's because of this crap exactly.
I don't understand why you think this is crap. As I said, I write music. Why would I want to let anyone have it for free?

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People are tired of paying $16 for a CD that costs less than $1 to make an distribute.
That's the cost of physical production of the CDs. It doesn't cover marketing, distribution of CDs, financing recording sessions for unknown groups (though many -- at least those with bad contracts -- are required to self-produce), clearances, insurance, etc. However, if you think the cost is too high, don't buy them and the record companies will be forced to lower their prices. I think the cost of houses is too high. That doesn't mean I can steal one.

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This is why iTunes has done so well and frankly the music industry is in serious trouble.
iTunes has done well because it is selling popular music. If your music tastes are more eclectic, you won't find the music you want on iTunes. Music or, for that matter, any other art shouldn't be based on lowest-common-denominator commercial appeal.

Quote:
even more so with the higher bandwidth internet to homes, more musicians doing it themselves because they don't want to wait for BMI and whoever else to try to sign them and take 90% of their profits, etc.
BMI doesn't take 90% of the profits -- it collects royalties for musicians. Your complaint is with the record companies, not the agencies that represent artists.

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Sorry for the anger.. but this is just sickening how this happens.
No offense, but your anger is completely misplaced.

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Lawyers have been tearing apart people's lives with all kinds of loopholes for decades now and our country is a damn sue happy country at any cost.
That's the populist myth. And it's completely wrong. Don't confuse IP lawyers and commercial litigators with personal injury lawyers.

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This is just one more case where a musician could have taken a very professional approach and simply said "Hey, I notice you're using my music.. I like to be credited for it and I ask a nominal fee for use.." Bam.
And that's exactly what is happening. The copyright owner is negotiating a license fee. Just like you can say, "Hey, I hear you have a vacant house in SF. How much do you want to rent it to me for a week?" Note that I'd be less inclined to rent it to you if I find you've already moved in before I said, "yes."

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I am sure JJ would have obliged and everybody would be happy.
See above.

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If this guy is going to try to sue JJ, frankly I think his music career is going to have a rough ride.
Please re-read my posts in this thread about why people sue.

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There are professional ways to handle things in small situations like this,
What makes you think it's a "small" situation? Do you think I wouldn't call the police if I found you in my house in SF and you said, "Hey, I only jumped in here to get out the rain"?

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I don't think involving lawyers right off is the right approach.
On the contrary, it is critical. Lay people waive rights when they try to handle things like this themselves. Worse yet, lay people find themselves sued for declaratory relief if they hand things like this the wrong way by, for example, threatening to sue.

Quote:
Why not be professional, ask JJ for a little compensation that is fair and some credit.
I'm sorry, but what you are suggesting is unprofessional.

The professional way to handle this is for JJ to have approached the copyright owners and requested a license. It's possible they might even have given him one for free. Instead, he simply appropriated for himself something that didn't belong to him. Instead of just immediately suing him (which the copyright owner was completely within his rights to do), they contacted him first and, now, are discussing a license.

That is professional.

Approaching someone and saying, "hey you took something that's mine -- how about putting my name on it and giving me a few bucks" is not, in the least, professional.

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That would go a long way in bringing this guy more business.
You don't get it. This guy doesn't want wedding business. He thinks, rightly or wrongly, that he doesn't need it. His business is recording music, selling records and giving performances.

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I for one would rather have seen JJ say "Hey guys..I got caught on twitter by a musician for using his music, but this guy was really professional.. asked me to credit him and pay a nominal fee for each use.. you guys should check out his site and music.. give him some business." To me..that would have been far better.
It might have been better for you, but it would have been incredibly stupid as it could be construed as dedication to the public domain or, at least, grant of an implied license to anyone who came along.

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But our country is no longer built on good morals like this.. everyone is out to make a buck and screw the next guy over.
There is so much wrong with statement.

1. Law has nothing to do with morality.
2. Copyright exists because it provides a social benefit.
3. The Constitution guarantees that the only one who can make a buck from a protected work of authorship is the author.
4. Enforcing copyright has nothing to do with screwing anyone over, anymore than my throwing you out of my vacant house in SF is screwing you over.

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Ugh.. JJ, I feel for you man.. this makes me angry just reading this. I am really sorry you're going through it. :( I hope it turns out ok.
I hope it turns out okay, too. I also hope that people spend a little time understanding the nature of copyright, why it exists, and what purpose it serves. It is painfully obvious that quite a few folks simply don't understand it.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 05:23 PM   #41
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Thank you Paul for that very complete post. If I could close the thread I would, so it doesn't go down the "here is how things should be" road (which is an endlessly speculative road).

Suffice to say, use this experience of JJ's as a good warning.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #42
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It kinda sucks to be a bad example, but I really hope he would just send me an invoice for usage of his music and get it done.
I don't want any court appearances in NY.
Thank you for your detailed advice, though, Paul.
I have a wedding to shoot tomorrow and I am not feeling it..
I couldn't do any editing today, no nothing....
It simply sucks to get into something like this.
If I didn't follow him on Tweeter, I could have avoided this...at least for now.
Again, just like the title says, stupid of me...

jj
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Old July 10th, 2009, 05:41 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Matthew Craggs View Post
I often fantasize about Vito's idea of our industry collectively telling our clients, "Sorry, can't use that Madonna song." But as long as the majority of us are giving the option of using any song, licensed or not, it's a death sentence.
I do EXACTLY that ALL THE TIME. I even have TWO points in my FAQ on my website addressing the fact that I will not use non-Royalty Free music in any video I produce UNLESS the client sources the rights to use and provides me with written proof PRIOR to placing said music track in my production. Only ONCE has a client gone ahead.

I don't do wedding videos as a direct result of this moral and legal position that I am VERY comfortable with. REMEMBER that every corporate client wants to use Tina Turner's "Simply the Best" for advertising and years of service acknowledgments.

I understand that it is difficult (if not impossible) to convince a bride that you CANNOT legally use her favourite songs in her video (because face it, it's the bride's, not the groom's...) BUT you ARE BREAKING THE LAW in many countries if you do this.

I'm sure if you told a couple you couldn't steal a Ferrari so that they could arrive in style at their wedding, they'd get it. Every videographer that uses copywritten music illegally is helping to perpetuate the problems that you are facing.

AGAIN, for those that CAN legally buy rights en masse as discussed (Australia) POWER TO YOU.

The rest of us make choices: I CHOOSE to use Royalty Free and I face the realities to my business that perhaps I won't get that next corporate piece where someone who hasn't discussed the issue with Legal wants to use "Born in the USA" for their next marketing piece. I ALSO won't have to wait for the lawyers to show up...
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Old July 10th, 2009, 06:13 PM   #44
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Shaun - can you do one thing for the board.

On Monday phone the RIAA in New York. Tell them you want to license music for a wedding video. I can't remember the reply verbatim - but two points were made when I made a similar call a couple years back.

1. You don't need a license
2. Many top attorneys and judges, including Supreme Court Justices have commissioned wedding videos.

If you could reserve judgment until you've made the call that would be great. Once you get an answer do let us know if it's changed from the ones that have given me and many others over the years.

For those who don't want to make the call themselves but still require incontrovertible advice - why not check out what NPR's Intellectual Property attorneys and NY Times ethicist think of it: "Could a wedding dance turn into a copyright infringement if it's videotaped?" -

Is Videotaping a Wedding Dance Illegal? : NPR

Including copyright music in a wedding video is neither illegal or immoral. If you have a problem with that view - why not phone NPR? I'm sure they would be really interested in your viewpoint, although in the interview they are pretty scathing about people who hand out bogus legal info on the net.

On the other hand setting a montage/highlight reel to a piece original music without crediting the author is illegal. Hoping to secure some commercial advantage from that is immoral.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
Thank you Paul for that very complete post. If I could close the thread I would, so it doesn't go down the "here is how things should be" road (which is an endlessly speculative road).
Not to worry; the end is growing near... I fully agree with you that Paul's post would make an excellent conclusion to this thread.

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Originally Posted by J.J. Kim View Post
If I didn't follow him on Tweeter, I could have avoided this...
J.J., I'm sorry about your situation and I wish you the best. However, this could have been more easily avoided if you had not uploaded that video clip to the web. For anyone out there who is using music without permission of the copyright holder, this is a good example of why it's never a good idea to put that material on the internet.
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