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Old January 18th, 2010, 03:45 AM   #31
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Taking the UK system as an example, the key decision to create a system has to be made by the copyright machine by which I mean the organisation/s which collect and distribute the fees.

Most composers/musicians aren't innately litigious but equally they're not familiar with the economics of all the businesses which use their work.

As someone who plays by the rules, what really tees me off is the number of established, full time wedding video production businesses that still don't pay the fee of 5 (say $7.50) per disc but would rather take the risk.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 07:11 AM   #32
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That's the real issue for me. I'd happily pay a reasonable fee for song or other music usage if a) there was a central rights clearance site that issues definitive and unencumbered rights to works without months or lawyering or hassle; and, b) the fees were reasonable, i.e. based on actual use and classes of use.
The problem with a central rights clearance site is that most publishers refuse to go along with this scenario - because they make their money by negotiating individual deals for use of their properties, based on what they see as the perceived value for any particular use. In other words, they charge what they want to based on how much they think it's worth to you. They like it this way, and they do NOT want this to change. To make things worse, many of these publishers are mom/pop operations and they hang their entire business on the ownership of one or two really popular copyrights.

As long as this model exists there will never be a completely seamless way to obtain rights. You're always going to have to deal with some starved-for-cash publisher who just happens to own the rights to that one song you want to use, and they are the gatekeepers. They will milk you for what they believe the song is worth, and they won't hesitate to sue you if you don't comply. Not only that, but just asking them about using the song is enough to put you on their radar in terms of your using the song without permission. So if you contact a publisher and then don't play their game and use the song anyway, you can almost guarantee they will be hunting you down.

This is the part of the music business that just gets really slimy and nasty, and it's unfortunate but it's been this way for many years, and these small publishers who make their entire fortunes off of the ownership of one or two great songs will never acquiesce to a new model if they can't negotiate each deal individually.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 07:36 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Ryan ONeil View Post
Question: What if the bride/groom have purchased the song and thereby have the right to have it used on their personal videos? Should not that be legal?
If you're in the US, purchasing a CD copy of the song does not give one the right to use it on one's personal videos.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:09 AM   #34
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As long as this model exists there will never be a completely seamless way to obtain rights. You're always going to have to deal with some starved-for-cash publisher who just happens to own the rights to that one song you want to use, and they are the gatekeepers. They will milk you for what they believe the song is worth, and they won't hesitate to sue you if you don't comply. Not only that, but just asking them about using the song is enough to put you on their radar in terms of your using the song without permission. So if you contact a publisher and then don't play their game and use the song anyway, you can almost guarantee they will be hunting you down.

This is the part of the music business that just gets really slimy and nasty, and it's unfortunate but it's been this way for many years, and these small publishers who make their entire fortunes off of the ownership of one or two great songs will never acquiesce to a new model if they can't negotiate each deal individually.
Bill I realise this is the status quo but isn't there a conflict in what you describe? If the Mom and Pop outfits are cash strapped (and I think you're probably right) then taking legal action which is going to cost them plenty (unless things are very different in the USA) with little or no hope of actually getting whatever the court awards them is a waste of money they don't have. The smaller the business the more they stand to gain from an industry-wide solution. Even if the big companies get the lion's share of any deal, the small share the small businesses get could well be worth more to them.

My point is that it is the organisations who (in the UK at least) act for the publishers in collecting fees who are likely to prove the best channel for success. Do you not have such arrangements in the USA?

Changing mindsets that have been fixed for years is certainly difficult but I hope worthwhile in the end.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:41 AM   #35
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I see plenty of legal ads on the tv and in print around here where the lawyers advertise "you only pay our fees when we win your case for you." The cash stapped mom and pop's will have no trouble finding a lawyer to carry out their suit, if the lawyer believes he will win a big judgement for his client, and a nice fee for himself. The videographer will have to come up with the cash to pay HIS lawyer. The advantage both legally and morally, is to the copyright holder.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 09:04 AM   #36
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Roger, of course you're right, but assuming our legal systems have much in common, winning a civil case is only the first part. Enforcing the judgement is something else entirely. And if the person who loses hasn't got much money anyway, it's a pyrrhic victory at best.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 01:36 PM   #37
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I don't really have a good showreel

I don't have a really good showreel for wedding fairs and my website.

Can someone give me a link to one to copy?

Im going to change the music to music of my own composition, so it will be okay legally.

Thanks!
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Old January 18th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #38
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That's a great way to make the point Jeff. When someone can see the point closer to their perspective, it registers better.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 02:40 PM   #39
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I understand your point Philip - and yes, it would be a burden on the publishers to pursue each infraction in court. Luckily for them, they can just send the attack dogs (the Performing Rights Organizations - ASCAP, BMI, etc.) to do that for them, and those organizations have legal staff and their own enforcement staff who do nothing but pursue people who are in violation of their policies. If publishers (or writers) are aware of an unauthorized use, they can report it to their PRO and the PRO will do the rest, first through a threatened fine, and after that through a lawsuit, or both.

I totally agree that there SHOULD be a better way, and I don't condone the way things are by any means. However, as I stated before, many people have a serious stake in keeping the status quo. If things change in favor of a more equitable means of intellectual property usage, than individual negotiations with publishers is the first casualty - and the publishers know this. The rights of publishers (and labels) to negotiate (on a per use basis) the usage prices of their properties is at the heart of this problem. They balk at even the thought of giving up that power, because they know it would significantly decrease their overall revenues.

This issue really touches the heart of the free enterprise system - the ability to charge whatever the market will bear for a particular product (in this case, to license a particular song). It's similar to me wanting to buy a Rolls Royce. I might believe that Rolls Royce charges too much, and that it's totally unfair that they control the ridiculously high price of their cars. But to try to get the entire auto industry to come up with a "standard affordable price" for ALL cars is unfair to the individual auto makers - especially just because I want a better deal on a car I want. That is the situation we face, and I don't think it's going to change (at least for the hit songs). For lesser known (i.e. nobody wants them) songs, publishers might be willing to allow them to be used in a blanket type of situation because the potential for profit is better.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 09:24 AM   #40
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My 2 cents....

I can't count the CD's I've purchased because I saw a wedding video online and liked the music they used! I just bought the album by "Plain White T's" for the song 1,2,3,4... just because I saw it used in a video on Vimeo. Oops.. I just said their name.. Should I be charged for that too?

Should the videographers start charging the artists and record companies for advertising their songs?

I say this will bite them in the rear and they don't even realize it! I understand copying music and distributing it for profit without the artists permission, but in this case I don't see the harm as long as credit to the artist is given. Maybe even make it a rule that a link to the artists/companies online store be made available with the video?
(By the way... I'm also an artist who played guitar in a band in college. We recorded a few songs as well so I do understand.)

We (the video producers and artists) can both win if we work together on this.
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