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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old August 27th, 2004, 01:09 AM   #31
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Los Angeles (recently from San Francisco)
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I saw a commercial a few years back about cd burners- in the commercial they used an example of how you can use the burner (and this was from a major manufacturer, Phillips or something)- a guy was burning a mix of a few different cd's onto a new blank cd, thus making his own new cd mix of songs he got from his previously purchased cd's. - if what your saying could possibly be against the law, then there would be no way that they would have made that commercial- because as far as the purpose goes, its the same thing- SO, then concluding that it is legal for you to make your own mix (copying your own purchased songs onto another object for playback), then I CANT see how it would be illegal to make a mix for playback, only instead of mixing it with other songs on a cd, you mix it with video--- I cant for the life of me understand how that is different in the sense of the Fair Use thing. YOURE USING IT FOR YOURSELF-thats the point of what the Fair Use thing is supposed to be about- I just dont see how its any different- what?, is there a law defining that you can listen to a duplicated song, but you cant listen to a duplicated song with video- If thats true, then thats ridiculous.
You need to read the thread carefully. The AHRA (as well as fair use doctrine as applied in a number of published decisions) essentially allows copying audio recordings for personal use. The AHRA does not contemplate preparation of derivative works, which is what you have when sync audio to video. It may or may not cover such use -- it's not express in the statute, and it hasn't been litigated.

Fair use is an equitable doctrine which is codified in the copyright statute. The statute lists 4 factors, none of which are dispositive, meaning courts, in determining whether a given use is fair use, may use all of them, some of them, or none of them in reaching the determination. However, the two most important factors are whether the use is commercial or non-commercial, and the impact on the market for the original. Wedding and event videography are commercial activities, which mitigate against a finding of fair use. Music _is_ licensed for syncing to these kinds of videos, and the demand for any given song is diminished if everyone is using it. This impacts the market for the original, and mitigates against a finding of fair use.

Nonetheless, my personal opinion is that this kind of thing should come within fair use.

Until a court litigates this, and an appellate court affirms the decision, and other appellate courts adopt it, it is impossible to say whether it is fair use or not.

I dont mean to sound mad, I just dont see how thats possible using common sense
If the law was simple enough to be able to apply it based on common sense, I wouldn't have had to spend years in law school, and my clients wouldn't pay me the outrageous hourly fees that they do. Copyright law is complex and arcane, as it must balance a number of competing, and frequently contradictory, interests. The copyright statutes themselves run several hundred pages, and can only be understood in the context of 200 years of published decisions.

- and nothing against any of you who do say that this is illegal, but id have to hear that from a judge after ive explained it to them like that, before I'd believe it.
First, I didn't say it's illegal -- I said my belief is that it should come within fair use. However, under no circumstances would I advise my clients to operate under that assumption, given that the cost of defense of a copyright infringement suit can easily approach $250,000, and statutory damages for infringement can be as high as $125,000 per infringement.

I'm not a judge. I am, however, an experienced intellectual property attorney. You can see my bio here:

It just seems like any judge in our courts using common sense would acknowledge the obvious comments im making and declare this not to be illegal.
Judges decide cases based on the law. I don't know a nice way to say this, so forgive me for being blunt, but what seems like common sense to you is only because you have an extremely limited understanding of copyright law and the different interests that it tries to balance. Fair use doctrine is one means of addressing the inherent tension between copyright protection (which is authorized by the Constitution at Article I, Section 8) and the First Amendment, which precludes government restriction of speech. The original intent of copyright, both constitutionally and prior (copyright protection dates back to the 18th century Statute of Anne in England). The purpose of copyright protection is as an incentive to creation -- the theory is, if authors can profit from their work, they'll produce more work. The ownership interest accorded a copyright owner is absolute, meaning _no_one_ has a right to make an unauthorized copy. Period. Fair use recognizes exceptions based on some overriding justification in the public interest. First Amendment concerns are in the public interest so, for example, there is a "news reporting" exception under fair use doctrine. A family wedding video is not quite as compelling an interest as an informed populace -- there are a lot of factors which mitigate against finding fair use in such circumstance.

And another question: if i dont have a cd burner, but i want to make a mix of my cd's, so i give some of my cd's to my friend to make me a mix- and i then get my cd's back and he gives me the mixed cd and keeps no copy for himself- is this illegal?
Yes. The AHRA authorizes copying only for personal use, not for the use of one's friends.

And if you say it is, then WHY??? Legally explain to me why i can do something myself, but i cant let someone else do it for me-THAT I DONT UNDERSTAND-- again, im talking about specifically not charging any money for this, so you cant say im making money from this action-
Because that's how Congress wrote the statute. Blame your congressperson if you don't like it.

i despise this legal system- or atleast the companies that make these laws.
Companies don't make the laws -- Congress does. Some companies have an undue influence over Congress (Disney comes to mind), but it is still the people you elected who enact the laws.

Who did you vote for in the last election? (That's a rhetorical question -- this isn't the place to discuss politics).

Why cant they just make a simple insertion into their legal statements that says if you want to sync music for weddings then you have to buy the cd that you are going to use brand new or something.- therefore it offsets any costs the music people think they are losing from the music being used on the wedding videos.
That's a great idea -- why doesn't WEVA pressure the music publishers to do it? It would certainly make things easier for everyone. Understand this: I don't _like_ the fact that it's so difficult to incorporate legitimately-acquired CD music into wedding and event videos; I do videos myself, and it's a pain to have to pay for rights to music to put in videos that I distribute commercially. However, I don't _make_ the laws. I just practice law, and I know what the law is.
Paul Tauger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 27th, 2004, 10:18 AM   #32
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Manchester, NH
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You may wish to try out

They have some great music that you can pay for.
It's needle drop and it's not cheap but it's legal.

You can preview their music.

I am thinking that I may end up expanding my business so I will likely start using them again.

They're real nice to work with.

Cana Video Productions, LLC
Manchester, NH
Cesar Ruiz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 27th, 2004, 10:25 AM   #33
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Location: Charlotte, NC
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Paul, You have been both patient and knowledgable. I humbly thank you.

I see clearly from your posts that you want to see this changed for the most part as well, and I hope it does.

One more question- last night i looked around to find out about sync licensing, but did not seem to find how to really find how to find the specific songs i would want so i could get the licenses for them.- also, how much usually does such a license run? - i know prices have been covered before, but i found a few different answers and just kind of want a general ballpark area of what is common.

Thanks again!

p.s. - do you think if all of us videographers got a petition started and sent it to WEVA, that they would do something about this whole thing? I'd be willing to start it.
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