How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 3rd, 2012, 10:03 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 309
How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

From reading about copyright restrictions in this and other forums it seems that videographers are banned from doing lots of live events or risk losing their business to a lawsuit at some point. For what I read you can't even record a dance recital or a school play unless they only use public domain songs (which probably most of them don't), or the part of a wedding where people are dancing to pop music, and many other type of events where at some point copyrighted music is being played.

So I'm wondering, how are most videographers dealing with this? Obviously no one is going to pay the excessive copyright fees to use 20 or 30 songs in a dance recital, so doing those is out of the question, and probably a couple getting married will not be happy when you tell them that you can't include any of the dances (including the first dance as husband and wife). They will most likely keep looking for another videographer that is willing to include everything in the video, including making a montage to their favorite song. Of course any videographer doing that is risking losing everything at some point.

So other than doing videos that don't require any use of copyrighted music, what is there left to do for a videographer? Are most videographers nowadays still working on weddings and school events with all these copyright restrictions?
Sebastian Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 11:03 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Green Bay Wisconsin
Posts: 553
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

As I understand it Sebastian it has most to do with where the recorded audio originates from and if that reproduction was a licensed use of the songs or not. Where you get into trouble real quickly is when you embed in a nice clean version of a song from a CD or other source, and are not using the ambient audio recorded from the room. The case can be made that in one instance you are recording an event, where in the other you are using the artist's work to enhance your own video production.
Chip Thome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 11:12 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 309
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

I thought that was the case, so that would be easy, just use royalty free music for highlight videos. However, for what I'm reading, you are also supposed to purchase usage rights for any music that is used at the wedding or dance recital. Like the typical "At Last" normally used for the first dance, and then any other music used by the DJ. Sure, if you don't post that online, you may be safer, but for what I read it's still infringement. And, even if you don't post it online, the client can always rip the DVD or Blu-ray and post a portion online. If that happens and the music labels find it, it's you who they will be coming after.

But realistically speaking, if you tell a couple that you can't record their first dance or any of the party (because most likely there will be background copyrighted music playing all the time), then nobody will hire you.

I'm seriously thinking about selling my video gear to get a good DSLR and become a photographer. I prefer video, but photography seems far less stressful.
Sebastian Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 11:36 AM   #4
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebastian Alvarez View Post
...photography seems far less stressful.
Hmmm. How does that saying go? "The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence."

I would like to lobby for a *practical* music licensing solution for wedding videographers...
you would pay a *reasonable* amount for either a per-use basis or an annual fee. The
recording industry would make a tide sum, it would de-criminalize an otherwise innocuous
profession, and it would make a lot of brides and their families happy.
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 01:05 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Two concepts...

Incidental capture - meaning you are recording an event, and just happen to record the audio playing at the time - the focus is the EVENT, not the audio. May or may not be an effective affirmative defense, but it's as good as any.

Second, "Carterphone" (courtesy of Mr. Hurd)... look it up here on DVi, worth considering that, presuming you purchase a license for playback, the media you play it back from is effectively moot, with the Digital revolution... The only rub is the concept of "sync rights", but one could argue that it's still EFFECTIVELY a playback of the audio and that anyone could achieve the same thing by playing back the audio and video tracks SEPARATELY on two devices without violating the coyright - the utilization of media transfer to a
single playback source is a logical and legal "use".


Of course, IF you "broadcast" (meaning post on the web...), all bets are off, and the above defenses probably won't help you much...


Law takes time to "catch up", there's lots of code still on the books that refers to technologies that are effectively extinct... and things like IM and e-mail and digital copies are still sort of "unknown"...

AND, if you try to buy a "SLR" without video... good luck! I don't have ANY cameras that cannot also shoot good HD video... in fact, even the tiniest point and shoot nowadays can do a pretty good job of image capture... Photography and video are rapidly becoming a merged technology, and for the most part are seeing cell phones take over the "function". Gotta love technology!
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 01:14 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 309
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
would like to lobby for a *practical* music licensing solution for wedding videographers...
I've read a lot of posts on different forums about lobbying, but who's going to do that? Sure, you can write letters to all the music labels detailing all these problems, which most likely is going to go to their legal department, full of obtuse lawyers that would still see the way to make money for themselves rather than work on productive changes to the law that would help both musicians and videographers alike.
Sebastian Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 01:22 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 309
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Incidental capture - meaning you are recording an event, and just happen to record the audio playing at the time - the focus is the EVENT, not the audio. May or may not be an effective affirmative defense, but it's as good as any.
It should be, but for what I read any piece of music that you use that is copyrighted and you don't have the license to use it can get you in trouble if the lawyers at the music labels find out about it. So in theory you cannot shoot the first dance, or any other portion of the party where the DJ is playing music, or if there's a cover band, you can't shoot that either, or at least you can't use it in the final video you give to the couple, because if they at some point put it online, you can lose your business, unless you have worked for several years and have far more in the bank than they're suing you for.

My problem is not the music you use over the highlights video, since there are a lot of royalty free music services now and you can try to explain the bride and groom that because of the copyright laws you can't use any song they want. But when you tell them that you cannot record their first dance, most likely they will go to another videographer who will. Problem is, one day that videographer can get sued and lose everything. You can swim in shark infested waters and not be eaten for a while, but eventually the sharks are going to get to you.
Sebastian Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 02:20 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

#1 - there are plenty of unemployed/underemployed attorneys out there, and anyone can sue for just about anything anymore... so any belief you have that you are "safe" from litigation is whistling in the dark, unless you do basically nothing...

#2 - Event video presents some very tricky challenges - as long as there is a finite "audience" for the end product, and you are not broadcasting, there are some possible affirmative defenses IF you find yourself "served", but litigation is ALWAYS possible (see point 1), and if you can't handle the risk, perhaps you should consider other options...

There's a risk to getting out of bed, getting in your car, and going to the corner store... going into business has risks too.
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 03:02 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 309
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
There's a risk to getting out of bed, getting in your car, and going to the corner store... going into business has risks too.
This is different. You can get ran over by a car every time you go out if there's a stupid driver. And going into business has financial risks, like any other investment. But it looks to me that if music labels get their way, the wedding videography business will be restricted to just barebones videos that have the ceremony and the cake cutting, and little else. If the law is applied, any music played at the wedding is copyright infringement the moment it gets into a video produced and sold by a professional. Since getting the rights to even one of those songs would be impossible for cost and time reasons as far as I've read, then what choice does a wedding videographer has?

I mean, is it worth it to try to start a business and work really hard trying to make it work, only to lose it all a couple of years later to the music labels? Until recently, I thought it wasn't a big deal as long as you use royalty free music for any montage in the video and on your website, but given the current sue happy climate nowadays, every time you produce a wedding video that has the first dance, or even the standard classical music when the bride walks down the aisle (which may be public domain, but the performance is not if it's on a CD), you are risking a copyright lawsuit for tens of thousands of dollars.

And what about other things such as dance recitals? Last year I was hired by an out of state production company to record a dance recital at an institute that was like three hours long and had like 40 songs. I didn't sell it to the dance institute, I just sent the raw footage to the production company. I suppose the institute probably can use the songs under fair use because it's for education purposes. But I would love to get into that market, except that the market doesn't exist with these ridiculous laws. Because imagine that if I have to pay a license fee for each and every song it would be impossible for the dance institutes or me to afford.

So the more I read the more I'm arriving at the conclusion that to be a videographer you have to stay out of the wedding and event business, maybe with the exception of some school play that has only their original music. While I believe that artists deserve to be fairly compensated for their work, it's ridiculous that we are in this situation where hard working videographers can get sued for recording a dance recital where the focus is not the music but the kids dancing, or that we can't record a just married couple dancing to "At Last", where the song is secondary and the couple is what's important.

Last edited by Sebastian Alvarez; March 3rd, 2012 at 08:24 PM.
Sebastian Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 05:52 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Hmmm. How does that saying go? "The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence."

I would like to lobby for a *practical* music licensing solution for wedding videographers...
you would pay a *reasonable* amount for either a per-use basis or an annual fee. The
recording industry would make a tide sum, it would de-criminalize an otherwise innocuous
profession, and it would make a lot of brides and their families happy.
I've been saying this for years. Give me a reasonable fee based on the number of licenses I want to purchase for a year and I'd happily pay it. Remember I said REASONABLE. Even at $10.00 per song, if I do 50 weddings in a year and use 2 songs per wedding (even if a particular song or 2 or 3 is used in more than 1 video) everyone involved in that song would make something. Not a lot, but 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. If there were say 100,000 videogrpahers that participated in this program the writers, publishers, artists', studio labels, would ALL make a little bit andI would have the knowledge that I would be operating within the law. Now having said that, the chances of this happening are, IMO, slim and none and slim is getting on the train to get out of town. I'm happy I'm looking forward to retiring from the wedding industry in the very very near future.
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 06:04 PM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Hi Sebastian

You also need to look at the fact that, as Dave says, most audio at weddings and dance recitals is incidental..you are not creating it nor playing it from a CD player...AFAIK DJ's do actually have a performance licence here (well, whether they actually buy one is another story) which allows them to play copyright music to guests at a wedding. Videographers can also get a licence on behalf of the bride which allows us to create up to 20 DVD's for each wedding and use copyright music which seems to be going in the right direction. Of course YouTube and the like is broadcast and you are not covered there!!

The music world has gone totally crazy..if they just sat down and came up with a simple "pay per show" fee of say 99c per song they would make a killing!!! However the craziness still continues !! (I guess lawyers need more business??) I heard about a video online where the videographer was filming family and in the corner of his shot happened to be a TV in a shop window with the Simpsons on it..He was sued by Fox!!!

I would say that this isn't going to solved soon or easily (if ever!!!) so you should be fairly safe giving a bride a few DVD's with her favorite songs on it but if you do an online clip just replace the music with Royalty Free stuff..that's what I do!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 06:08 PM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Hi Don

Don Bloom ??? Retire ???? I'll believe it when I see it!!! I would have thought our famous Don would keel over, camera in hand and the ripe of age of 97 shooting his last wedding.

We don't retire Don we just do a lot less weddings ..gotta keep active physically and mentally!!!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 06:26 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 309
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Videographers can also get a licence on behalf of the bride which allows us to create up to 20 DVD's for each wedding and use copyright music which seems to be going in the right direction.
That's great for those of you living in Australia, but here in the US there's a medieval system for which you either work and risk losing tens of thousands of dollars in a lawsuit, or you don't do any wedding videos. I can deal with being forbidden from using commercial music to do a highlights video because there are lots of royalty free music services now, some with decent music. So it may take more work and you may have to charge more to pay for the licenses, but there is a way. But when it comes to the music that you capture with the camera microphone, such as the first dance and the music at the party, there's no way around that. Either you don't include it in the video and lose most clients as a result, or you do and you risk getting sued for tens of thousands every time you give a couple their wedding video. If you do 30 or 40 weddings a year, that's 30 or 40 possibilities that your video may make it online and you get sued. So if things keep going in this direction, everybody gets hurt. Married couples won't have a decent video of their wedding, they won't be able to see their first dance, or themselves dancing to the latest hits. The wedding videographers that are more adventurous are going to get the most jobs, but eventually will start getting sued and stop doing wedding videos because of the legal risks.

If nobody does anything about this hard headed copyright system where even including the couple's first dance in a video can get you sued, that's what's going to happen. As far as I've read today from many articles on copyright, the only instance where you can use music that was recorded on location is if it's way in the background and people are talking loud so you can barely make out the music. But when people are not talking and music is playing, such as the first dance and the party, if you can't have a license, you can't use it. That's outrageous. That's a situation where nobody wins.
Sebastian Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 08:26 PM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Don

Don Bloom ??? Retire ???? I'll believe it when I see it!!! I would have thought our famous Don would keel over, camera in hand and the ripe of age of 97 shooting his last wedding.

We don't retire Don we just do a lot less weddings ..gotta keep active physically and mentally!!!

Chris
Chris, I've already put the wheels in motion. This year I'm at 30 with only enough days to add perhaps 5 more then I'll close the books on 2012 and I believe that will be it for weddings. I'll still continue to do a certain amount of non-wedding work but the music copyright issue is still there even for that.

Yes its true. This is it. Yay
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 3rd, 2012, 08:37 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: How are videographers dealing with copyright restrictions?

Hi Sebastian

In practice who is really going to have access to the DVD's ..the bride and groom and parents and then it's put in the cabinet forever and a day. Wedding videos are almost 100% privately viewed so unless the bride's Uncle Tom just happens to be a hotshot lawyer who specialises in copyright law...there is very little chance of anyone apart from the family who will actually view the video who could raise the roof about copyright!!!

I know it sound "illegal" but I sure that's what most videographers do nowdays. In the USA how is the DJ covered for copyright when he plays a commercial song at the wedding??? If no licences exist then surely DJ's are in the same boat as videographers???? Remember they are actually "broadcasting" the music to the crowd...your mic is picking up the ambient sound along with everything else so in my view you are being a lot less "illegal" than the DJ. (Unless he actually CAN get a licence to play copyright music)

Is it only the USA? I'm sure Ken in Canada said that they can get a licence to cover themselves and I know that in the UK the same sort of facility exists.

Don?? I can see many brides being disappointed when they realise that Chicago Master has retired!! It's nice to know you are still keep your cameras and doing other things!!


Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:44 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network