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Old July 31st, 2010, 10:32 AM   #1
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UK Videographers: Licence for church ?

This seems a bit of a grey area - I'm not normally asked for 'licences' of any form before shooting in churches.

However, one client's vicar has told him that 'your videographer needs a licence' to film. I've done this church before with no such requests. Perhaps a different vicar = different rules? Or has anyone noticed a recent change in church attitudes/requirements?

Before I find out what they are looking for, I assume the usual WVRL licences to cover the use of commercial or church music in the DVD is going to be sufficient?

I'm guessing any issue may be over the recording of the choir/hymns, since as far as I'm aware there are no 'licences' required by law for general 'filming of church weddings', and the music licence is all that is required to clear the music and hymns?

I found some info here:-

CCLI : Licences for Wedding Ceremonies : Christian Copyright Licensing International (United Kingdom)

Just wondering what UK videographers here experience in this area.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 10:51 AM   #2
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Not really - the UK situation is that you need mechanical and sometimes performance rights, but although I never do weddings, many people use these people as a one stop shop for licenses.

Wedding Video Licences : Welcome

It's quite legit to obtain all the clearances yourself, and even a bit cheaper - but far too much hassle - and using a company like this gives you paperwork the vicars will have seen before!
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Old July 31st, 2010, 12:35 PM   #3
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Paul (one of the experts I had in mind when I wrote my previous post) is right, and though as he says buying from WRVL is convenient, I buy mine separately mainly because I sell different numbers of DVDs and buy PPL licences 50 at a time.

You need an MCPS licence for any music, live or otherwise and a PPL for commercial recordings.

The CofE also has copyright in the words of their service but most include the right to record them in their fee - which considering their fee is sometimes 800 or more, seems not unreasonable.

Finally, some organists and choirs have negotiated special rates for videoing them. At a church we worked in recently charged double fees if the cameras were pointed at them - pans past them were OK!
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Old July 31st, 2010, 03:58 PM   #4
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I suspect that pretty well every person (me included) gets it wrong. The problem really is that you just need to be seen to take copyright into consideration.

All these licenses - essentially we're really talking about PRS/PPL/MCPS but being administered by private firms who are effectively doing the paperwork and taking a fee - make an assumption that they represent the actual rights holders, and very often, they don't! In fact, if you are a composer, and a member of PRS - then one question they ask when they register your work is are any rights held by other people. One of my songs was co-written by the singer it was written for, and she is not a member. I included her name and address on the forms, but to the best of my knowledge, she's never received any fees.

So in practice, at a wedding - you could have a harpist playing something like Ave Maria - but the original composition is out of copyright ... but are we talking about the Schubert piece or the Gounod version that was in essence a new melody on top of one of Bach's 'tunes'? Let's assume it's the Gounod version but the harpist has re-arranged it to suit their playing style. So probably, we should be paying her, but she won't get it.

So my real feeling is that even attempting to do it properly is better than not doing it at all, but would our average parish priest really understand all this.

Worst thing is that doing it direct is done AFTERWARDS - you can't fill in the form in advance because you don't know what is going to be used - so you wouldn't have any paperwork to show them. Using one of the one stop shops provides you with generic permissions, not specific ones.

Just to throw another spoke into the works - it's quite common for rights holders to remove some popular songs from PRS control when they wish to handle it separately. So using these songs could be a real problem, because permission, let alone a fee, could be something you won't get (if you actually asked).
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Old July 31st, 2010, 11:10 PM   #5
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Rob, this isn't going to change the requirements - you still need both an MCPS licence for the event and PPL licences for each copy but in practice I find many of the live performances, especially by church organists and choirs quite frankly dire and invariably not worth including in the edit.

The indifferent choirs aren't usually a problem because most clients choose to have the singing of the hymns omitted from their programmes. Subject to my next point, we include merely the introduction to the hymn, fade to black (audio and video) for two frames and fade up to the next stage of the ceremony.

However, our solution to the indifferent playing of the processional and recessional music (if they're the standard Wagner, Mendelssohn, Pachabel pieces) is to overdub the live performances with alternative recordings played by competent organists.

The only drawback is that most commercial recordings of those pieces are on large cathedral organs which sound wrong when the images are of a small parish church. We are fortunate that we were able to record (as part of another project involving a British Brass band on tour) the two wedding marches played by a well-known French organist on a small church organ in France which fit very well but I'm told there are a couple of commercial recordings on smaller organs - worth hunting down because they'll be covered by your PPL licence.

There are exceptions of course and my comments aren't exclusive but it is very sad that this state of affairs has been allowed to evolve. The reasons seem complex reflecting many different social conditions - and here I write principally of the UK. These include the decline in church attendance and thus income, the cost of maintaining traditional organs, the relative robustness of electronic organs - considering that for much of the week they're left unplayed in unheated churches, the demise of classical organ teaching and the growing trend to replace both organ and organist by the church juke box. Whatever the cause it's not good for those who, like me, prefer live music.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 04:55 AM   #6
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Philip - you were up early!

Copyright is a minefield and as a member of the IOV have seen many posts relating to this issue and the 'significant' fees charged by an increasing number of churches.

Sight of the MCPS licence will keep all Ministers happy. Ministers are regulaly reminded by their superiors that they should ask to see the licences. Some do and some don't.

You must remember that the church service itself is copyright, albeit permission is given to record it provided you comply with certain restrictions on quantities produced and NO public showing etc.- How many of these are available on the internet?

Many Churches are, in my opinion, making it very difficult for couples to have any decent record of their service. I regulaly come across ministers who will not allow you to mic the groom, give you poor locations to film from etc. etc.

Much easier to film a civil ceremony. I have always founs registrars to be much more relaxed. Having said that there are always exceptions, and we had one last week where the vicar was very accomodating (and never asked to see the licence).
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Old August 1st, 2010, 08:20 AM   #7
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David, your experience is, sadly, not untypical. In fact I am the co-author of an article appearing in a forthcoming edition of a bridal magazine which contrasts the "official" line of the Church of England as evidenced at their stands at Weddings Fairs and the reality in some churches where things are purposely made difficult if not impossible for the photographer and the video cameramen.

The fact is that despite the "official" welcome the CofE stands would like to convey, some Vicars and/or their PCCs actually run their parishes they way they want to and no edicts from the diocese or even Lambeth Palace (official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, after HM Queen, the head of the CofE, for non-UK readers) carry much weight.

Having said that, and it is we hope a balanced article, and much of the blame for the attitude of some vicars lies at the door of the photographers and video cameramen who in the past have treated churches as extension of their studios or the foyers of Leicester Square cinemas at film premieres. I've had charming lady vicars stop the wedding service and ask photographers clambering all over the church equipment to leave the church; other vicars have paused aghast at photographers lying on the steps between them and the couple to get a "different" angle on the ring exchange. It's simply not acceptable.

Other instances of photographers and video cameramen pushing cameras over the Vicars' shoulder stepping over the altar rail to get a shot of the couple saying their prayers are sadly not isolated.

And let me make it absolutely clear, whilst this is definitely a trend, there are many Vicars and PCCs who make every effort to accommodate the cameramen and photographer provided they behave with dignity and discretion.

Our view (and my co-author is a photographer) is that Vicars should demand to meet the cameramen and the photographer before the wedding rehearsal and discuss what each wants to do. That will establish the professionalism of the creative people and satisfy the Vicar that they're going to observe the solemnity and dignity of the ceremony.

Equally, it will enable the Vicars to understand that whilst the photographer will be happy to remain at the far end of the nave, if forgetful bridesmaids or recalcitrant pageboys have become rooted to the spot in the aisle it's up to the Vicars to move them so the photographer with his long lens can get that vital shot of the ring exchange.

Without that important meeting and mutual assurance of the utmost professionalism it's difficult for the Vicar to tell who's the professional, who's the wannabe paparazzi and who's the keen amateur - after all who can tell at a glance the difference between a Nikon D90 and a D3S?

Professionalism is the key and that doesn't mean being committed to your profession - on the contrary it means remembering that you're being paid by people who've chosen a church wedding and regardless of your own views about religion it's your place to observe and respect the mores and conventions of the ceremony, if necessary suborning the demands of your profession to the preferences of the client. Properly explained, the clients will understand that they can't have a snap taken from the back of the church that shows their rings looking like a full page magazine ad for de Beers or Van Cleef and Arpels.

Finally, I've just written to the General Manager of a well known Wedding Hotel in the south of England (in the news recently) suggesting that cramming seats into the front of the wedding room so that the bride's 1000 dress is draped over her father's knees and the couple can't walk side-by-side down the gangway (it didn't deserve the term "aisle") isn't helping anyone - especially as the party wasn't near the capacity of the room and there was 15ft of clear space at the back. Weddings have an element of theatre, about them and cramming people together when there was no need is simply not making the best of the occasion. Although they're doing it for different reasons, it's good to see some churches removing the first four rows of pews. As I say weddings aren't the first or only reason but the extra space does make for better "theatre".
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 12:50 PM   #8
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Philip, Perhaps you can publish your article on the forum after it has been published in the bridal mag?
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 08:27 PM   #9
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David, thanks for your suggestion. However, given the limited relevance to most readers of this international forum, it might not be appropriate to publish the whole thing. Since I've already mentioned the relevant themes, it might also smack of self-publicity and I have no wish or need for that - it is, after all, only two people's opinion. Unfortunately the magazine isn't available on the Internet otherwise I might publish a link.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 04:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Lamb View Post

Sight of the MCPS licence will keep all Ministers happy. Ministers are regulaly reminded by their superiors that they should ask to see the licences. Some do and some dont.

Hi David,

Just a quick question regarding your above comment.. I'm in the process of getting some licences for my first paid weddings and i thought you just got some stickers to stick on your DVD case. How do the Ministers see this or as well as the sickers do you get some sort of certificate to show?

You see i wasnt going to be purchasing the licences untill i had done the edit and it was ready to send but if the Ministers aks for something i wont have anything to show.

Cheers
Craig
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 04:49 AM   #11
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Craig, in case you're talking about a wedding this weekend, may I offer an answer until you hear from David? I think you're confusing licences and what you're referring to are the PPL licences. These are per disk, in the form of holographic stickers that are affixed to each DVD case.

You also need an MCPS licence which is obtained beforehand, is per event (subject to a maximum number of intended copies and duration of the music within the programme).

You need the MCPS licence in all cases, regardless of whether you have live music or not; the PPL is additional if you include commercially recorded music as well.

In practice (since I guess most clients don't need more than five copies) the cost for licences per disk of five works out at about 6 including VAT. This is worth thinking about when you see people charging 5 for an extra copy - you can bet the ranch they're not paying for any licences. Mind, don't assume people charging 20 per extra copy are paying licence fees; they may be making a business out of dupes. We don't but there's nothing wrong in doing so if you want to.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 04:55 AM   #12
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Craig,

I would recommend setting up an account with mcps which you can then use to purchase their licence which is what the minister needs to see. You need a limited manufacturing (LM) mcps licence which you can print off once you have paid your fee. Fees are based on volume and music duration. I always go for over 25mins just in case and up to 5 DVD's is 8.00. If more copies are required you just log back in and add what you need to your existing order at any time. Here is the link.

Limited Manufacture (LM)

The PRS stickers are the ones that you put on each DVD case and cover the use of most commercial music that you may include. I usually buy my PRS stickers in bulk via the IOV. You can also buy your mcps LM licence through them if you wish.

You need both PRS stickers AND mcps LM licence unless you intend to use copyright free music in which case you only need the mcps licence to cover the church hymns and organ music etc.

Hope this helps.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 05:46 AM   #13
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Thanks to both David and Philip for clearing that up for me. My first one is Friday 13th of all days then sat 21st so I will go straight to MCPS and get the relevent stuff before hand.

Cheers
Craig
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 06:07 AM   #14
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One more quick question would you need an MCPS for a civil ceremony in a hotel?
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 06:39 AM   #15
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The mcps licence is on behalf of the composer and publisher & PRS on behalf of the record company and performers. You will not need the PRS licence if you are ONLY recording live bands/singers. It will depend on where any music comes from during the civil ceremony. I always purchase both as I find copyright a minefiled and for 8 it is not worth the potential ramifications. I am no expert but would say if you have a singer/band/piano player during the ceremony or at any time during the event then you will need the mcps licence. If everything is from CD than I believe you need both. As you would usually dub commercial copyrighted music onto the DVD then you are going to need both.

Singer/Band/Piano Player etc - mcps only
Commercial music - mcps & PRS (this includes any incidentally recorded commercial music)
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