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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:41 AM   #1
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Live music event copyright question: sorry

OK, I really searched the forums for discussions on this topic, and I didn't find anything that addressed my question. If there is such a thread, please direct me to it.

Also, I realize this is a legal question, so I'll be asking lawyers as well, but I'm sure folks on this board have dealt with this issue.

I tape a musician's performance. I have permission from the musician to do this, but the musician mentioned the songs she performed were not her original songs. Someone else wrote them and owns the copyright. I don't what permission, if any, she got to perform in the live venue.

So - we want to put that performance on a dvd for sale to the general public. The only legal way to do this would be to contact whoever has the copyright of the songs, and get their permission (presumably in exchange for $)?
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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:06 PM   #2
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Many lengthy and comprehensive threads on this over in Taking care of Business subforum.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:12 PM   #3
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I searched that forum, I didn't find anything that matched my exact situation.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:23 PM   #4
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The short answer is yes, you are liable for obtaining the rights.

No thread will likely match anyone's exact situation, but the legal principles are always the same: you can't use what you don't own.

Copyright Protection Question

Music Rights for College Website Video

Why do publishers let people put school plays on YouTube?

event music copyright issue

Music "used with permission"

...and those are just a few recent threads that cover this or come close.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:32 PM   #5
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Exactly and if you ignore this issue it could come back years from now accompanied by snarling hungry dogs.

It depends on which songs are involved as to the trouble, price and whether it's worth it. Get the titles, do a search even go to a CD outlet and read the labels. Find the publishers, get letters out and go from there.

Unfortunately, from many others experience the 'bigger' the composer/publisher the higher the royalty cost and whether in fact they actually reply.

We were shooting an airshow for DVD sale last Sunday and were told definitely no background PA music from x to x. No they ignored that and we turned the cameras off.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 07:48 PM   #6
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Dennis, the crucial bit of info you omit is to identify the producer of the DVD who's going to be selling it. If that person isn't you (and especially if you're working for a fee not a per disk share) then be sure to get a water-tight indemnity signed by them in which they accept unequivocally the responsibility for clearing all the material for recording and sale.

This is not a legal opinion and your lawyer might prefer you to have done even more to absolve yourself, but I think most jurisdictions will accept that if you were working for a fee you will have shown that you knew the clearance was necessary and that somebody else took the responsibility for clearing it. That should ensure that most of the hungry dogs look elsewhere for their feed but it's still a risk.

If the DVD's likely to be a big hit, I'd certainly get a legal opinion.
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