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Old August 4th, 2010, 09:06 AM   #1
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Brides who want copyright music

Ok, so I first wanted to say this is not a copyright thread. I have already made the decision to use royalty free licensed music. Instead, I want to know what you guys would say to a bride who insists on using copyright music? I would hate to lose a client because of a situation like this and so I am wondering how you guys would handle it.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 09:20 AM   #2
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I tell them that it is very much akin to receiving stolen property. If you ever were to be caught and punished for using that music, they could be caught up in it as well. Given, that's a very big long shot, but you never know what could happen. I don't know if I have lost brides because my competition uses music straight off of iTunes, but I would much rather know that I have the rights to use the music.

It's a very big gray area around music and how we use it. I would rather pay a little extra and have the knowledge that I'm not going to get busted some day.

Just my $.02.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 09:28 AM   #3
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Let her have it.
My attitude is that I am making my video but it's for the couple. I'd much rather a happy couple who like the music than one who puts up with my choice of music under sufferance. Music is such a personal preference. Having said that I do talk through with them some of the problems of using specific songs and how often the lyrics work against the flow of the images, or not as appropriate as they may seem, and if necessary I will tell them if I believe that it won't work but most of my couples leave it to me to pick the music, as they say "you have the experience and know what will work"

I don't know what the music copyright situation is with you but here in the UK we can, for a small fee, buy a clearance licence which allows the use of copyright commercial music dubbed on to wedding videos.

If you look on almost anyone's website you'll notice that most are using copyrighted music behind their showreels. Incidentally the copyright clearance available to wedding videographers here in the UK specifically bars it's use on the internet, it is intended for DVD delivery only, but no one seems to bother.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 09:54 AM   #4
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Hmmmm..I read an article once that at least half of high end world class videographers that submit their videos to WEVA use copyrighted music without proper authorization and they've never heard of anyone getting sued...although WEVA is working very hard to work on this problem, there have been no major breakthroughs so far...

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Old August 4th, 2010, 09:57 AM   #5
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I personally would sleep better knowing I am legit as Mark said, since the only way to legally use music in the USA is to license it. Part of me wants to tell the bride that I can contact the copyright owner and pass along the cost, but I know the numbers would make me sound like a jerk and probably cause them to stray. Fortunately I have not encountered this issue yet, but I want a solid plan when it arrises.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 10:47 AM   #6
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Hi Jeff. Out source it to UK for dubbing. Only joking.

Here in UK there's an organisation that has been battling on behalf of videographers in the minefield of complexities of using copyright music on what are essentially private view, small run productions for as long as there has been a wedding video industry. Since about the mid eighties. They have managed to secure some semblance of sense in the matter by securing agreements with the PRS, the main organisation that oversees the collection and distribution of copyright fees on behalf of most major music producing and publishing companies. Under their umbrella organisation they will issue licences for the likes of me. By paying two small fees (in total less than $15) I can confidently record music in actuality (that is anything that happens to be playing as I'm recording) and then to dub recorded music during the edit. They are authorised by means of a paper licence in the first instance and a small holographic sticker that attaches to each copy of the disc, (actually attached to the case not the disc).

I guess that as the USA is so big and diverse it's a bit more difficult to get that that sort of blanket agreement.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #7
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contacting the label that owns the copyright might not be so bad as it sounds, I've gotten popular songs free because they cant be bothered to charge me the couple bucks.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Kilroy View Post
If you look on almost anyone's website you'll notice that most are using copyrighted music behind their showreels. Incidentally the copyright clearance available to wedding videographers here in the UK specifically bars it's use on the internet, it is intended for DVD delivery only, but no one seems to bother.
Sorry George, I think you're wrong. You Tube is regularly removing videos now using commercial music, I think Vimeo is a little less precise but no doubt the pressure will be brought to bear on them also eventually. And not all of us simply put commercial music on our showreels (or on the demos we show at wedding fairs - ours all have royalty free music dubbed on in place of the commercial music we sold our client - and we're also one of the few companies that doesn't put its work on the Internet anyway.

As far as getting away with it is concerned, back in the 80's, long before the PPL scheme we all now enjoy in the UK, my company was producing Multimedia AVs and using production music for commercial clients, many you'd describe as blue chip. Clearance for UK use cost us then 30 per 30 second segment plus dubbing fees etc and there were plenty of small production companies that didn't bother to get clearance - though of course they were happy to receive the free disks from the production music libraries.

Then one day the MCPS caught a major London outfit which had produced a top line programme for a major oil company and not submitted a return or paid the fee - and went straight to court and of course won substantial damages which they had no trouble in collecting. Suddenly everyone, big and small, was clearing their music.

It'll only take the MCPS/PPL (not the PRS incidentally which is concerned about the public performance of music) to catch a prominent wedding production company making a celebrity wedding video but not paying their dues and they'll be in court in a flash.

We've been contractors to the MCPS (we produce copyright music releases as well as use production music etc) since the 70s and frankly the sooner this happens the better. It's not a matter of being goody-goody, simply that we pay our fees and everyone who doesn't is not only stealing from the copyright owner but stealing an unfair advantage over us too. You rightly make the point that the licences are peanuts - yet look at how many UK production businesses don't bother to buy them.

David's point is also very valid - we did a deal with Warner Bros for the release of a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recording for a commercial production which eventually cost us nothing - just the postage for a couple of air letters.

Finally, I know you were joking about doing the work for overseas businesses - but unfortunately the MCPS/PPL scheme is only applicable to productions made and exhibited in the UK - which means that those of us hoping to expand overseas have to meet the regulations applicable there, not here. We were considering an offer to work for 3 months a year (the wedding season) in Thailand but frankly copyright clearances were one of the considerations that made us decide against it.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 12:06 PM   #9
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Thats impressive David. I suppose the label companies would rather have the free advertisement, not to mention the videos wont be making tons of money. I'll check into that in the future.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 12:16 PM   #10
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Would you contact to record label, ascap, bmi, or producer to license the music for video?
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Old August 4th, 2010, 12:46 PM   #11
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Philip, thank you for you're knowledgeable response. I wasn't implying that [I]everyone[I] on the internet uses copyrighted music.

As I understand the situation in the UK the MCPS and PPL are under the administration of PRS who authorise agents such as the IOV (and possibly your company) to issue the MCPS LM licence per production via a printed sheet and the PPL licence via individual stickers that are to accompany each and every disc supplied. As far as I am aware those two licences are all that are needed to legally produce a wedding video for limited viewing; in terms of the use of music on DVDs. I know that some musicians (organists in particular) will request what they call copyright payment to be made locally for the use of their 'performance'. I leave that firmly with the couple to negotiate and pay.

As I understand it the licences do not permit the DVD to be played in any public capacity such as wedding fairs and specifically not on the internet. I merely mentioned that many (not all) wedding video websites do not seem to adhere to that. From my contacts with the MCPS and PPL they do not licence the use of music on the internet , but I'm happy to be corrected.

For many years I would only use copyright free music on weddings. Early on I use to get an MCPS licence that they stated cleared the use of recordings in church, many vicars in this are would not permit weddings to be recorded without one but obtaining clearance for dubbing was too difficult and costly compared with the value of the overall production. However now that it's settled into a sensible charge I'm happy to absorb that small fee in order to keep my customers happy.

If you can inform me if my understanding is not correct I'll be very grateful.

Are you connected to the CCCL who issue licences?
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Old August 4th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #12
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George, we're jobbing video programme makers and have been for 30 years. We're in just the same boat as you and I assure you nothing I wrote was intended to cast aspersions on you or any other specific production business. As you've written it our understandings regarding the various organisations are essentially the same.

Like you I won't get involved with musicians who want extra fees because they're being recorded - but I do get them to sign a release indemnifying me and the couple from any claim eg the composer. If they're charging for recording rights the composer should probably also get a cut - that usually stops any more nonsense.

And you're absolutely right about the Internet - as I wrote earlier, that's broadcasting and specifically not included in the PPL licence.

It's only when we learn how difficult things are for the overseas guys, especially those in the USA, we begin to appreciate how lucky we are the UK copyright organisations have seen sense. Realistically from their point of view policing the use of copyright music by small businesses which made typically no more than five copies was never going to be worthwhile. This way they get something - and given how modest the licences are, they should get a little from everyone. As I said, what annoys me is the number of people who still won't buy licences.

Best of luck; you sound like one of the good guys.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 09:27 PM   #13
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We have a new annual licence by RIPS (what a name!!) which is handling the royalty fees for record companies and musicians. However the MPS which handles the composers and lyricists rights have not given any solution yet.

The licence cost USD1350 per annum and allows unlimited use of copyrighted songs from 14 record lables. This too does not allow internet usage. Most of the Singaporean videographers lie low and cannot show our works on the internet due to this. The petrols are strict and many have been hit with hefty fines already. Market rate per song per offence is USD1350.

RIPs has an ad-hoc licence but that is only for couples who make their own video montages.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 02:12 PM   #14
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Sometimes it's satisfying when a piece of music you expect will be a license nightmare works out fine - like the post above, I too have had very big firms (EMI was one) who just said "use it - we really don't want to know". In this case, the track concerned would have generated around 70 in rights, however, their lawyers estimated that to issue permission would cost around 150 in fees, so the artiste would get zero, and the company would lose 80 just doing it! The circumstances of the use were obviously a non-commercial activity, with no possibility of making money from the duplication, so they were happy. You cannot count on this, because one 3 minute one-off-wonder from the seventies took the money!

Another time we wanted to do something educationally worthwhile (it was actually for a public examination) and a Mr Ritchie was personally very helpful, overturning a huge fee required by the arranger - pointing out he had been paid to arrange it and held no long-term interest. The rules required a payment, I believe it was $10 which was simply so that everyone could say payment had been made.

In practice, certainly here in the UK, we can license music - for almost any use, and most is done simply by PRS/PPL/MCPS assuming they are the rights managers.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #15
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This was one of the main reasons I no longer shoot weddings. However, I still have clients that request certain copyright songs for their video. I first try to determine how important it is to them. I'd say in 90% of the cases, they simply named a familiar song. Once I mention the availability of royalty-free music, they're fine with it.

For the other 10%, I have to get through the typical questions: "Why does everybody else do it?", "How likely are we to get caught?", etc. After that, most of them are good with the royalty free stuff.

For the few that are still demanding a song, I have to determine if they're willing to pay. Most aren't and I just show them the door. A few have been and we've been able to secure those rights (in two cases.)
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