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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old July 16th, 2012, 06:48 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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"Filming License"

Hello everyone, long-time reader first-time poster here. My name is Bernie and I run a wedding videography business in Brisbane, Australia.

I just got an email from a client whose wedding I'm filming in September, asking if I have the right license. This will be my 14th wedding, and I've never heard of the phrase before. I tried to figure out what they meant by googling, but to no avail. Here' an extract from the email.

Originally Posted by email from a client
We're being married in St John's Cathedral they only allow filming when the videographer has a 'filming license'? I don't know much about the license but apparently there is one and we'd need to check our videographer has one? Does that make sense and you do guys possess such a license?"
Does anyone here know what they're talking about?
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Old July 16th, 2012, 07:01 PM   #2
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Re: "Filming License"

If I understand correctly, the cathedral is asking you to pay them to get a permit to film inside their premises.

I would contact the cathedral to get some details before getting back to the bride.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 02:07 AM   #3
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Re: "Filming License"

Hi Bernie

I have never had a Church ask for a "permit" to film. The only license as such you need in Australia from a business POV is a business registration and ABN number. I would ask the Church first why they are trying to extract money from you and for what..if they don't know what you are talking about then all you need to quote the bride your ABN. AFAIK any fees for the wedding, Church, organist etc etc is the bride's responsibility not yours. I have certainly never been asked to pay the Church anything and if they decide to charge for filming then if the bride wants a video, she must pay them.

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Old July 17th, 2012, 02:24 AM   #4
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Re: "Filming License"

They may be asking if you have Public Liability Insurance?
Simon Denny
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Old July 17th, 2012, 02:41 AM   #5
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Re: "Filming License"

I sounds as though someone from the church has made a visit to UK and discovered that nearly all the churches here make an additional charge to video weddings. They put it under the guise of a copyright fee. They charge that even when you hold a copyright licence for wedding issued by the PRS/MCPS, this is their own self-imposed charge for recording the liturgical words and music of a church service. The church last weekend charged the couple £75 split between the parish and the organist. When I arrived at the church the organist was most concerned that any bad notes or mistakes would be recorded despite having taken the fee from the couple. I sometimes think that it is uses to deter couples from having the ceremony recorded.

I include the following in my terms and point this out at the time of enquiry:

You must obtain permission from your church or registrar for recording. Many churches charge an additional fee for recording a wedding ceremony, often referred to as a copyright licence. This is their charge for recording the liturgical words and music of a wedding ceremony. This fee appears to be arbitrarily applied and sometimes negotiable and as such is not covered in my charges. It is entirely the clients’ responsibility to pay such a fee. *** will not be liable for not recording ceremonies where the church refuses permission due to the fee having not been paid.
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 10:12 AM   #6
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Re: "Filming License"

Hi everyone, thanks for the help and suggestions, it turns out they were just referring to the Domestic Use Music License which refers to reproducing recorded music in my works, and I already have this license. Why the cathedral thinks its their responsibility to find out beyond me. If I shot weddings without the license (as I did for the first few), and was caught and prosecuted by the music copyright authorities, it's not like the cathedral would be liable for anything.

But whatever. I have the license they were asking about, so now it's all good.

Last edited by Bernie Johansen; July 23rd, 2012 at 10:13 AM. Reason: Type-o. My bad!
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 10:50 AM   #7
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Re: "Filming License"

That's the rub - although the copyright agencies would usually go after the end user - the bride and groom, if they found out material covered by rights was being distributed, the person who used the music - i.e. the video firm would have certainly broken the rules (well, here in the UK at least) In fact very few video people realise that copying music from a CD to a minidisc, or from a usb stick to a computer is technically dubbing/copying which also requires permission. every UK radio station who copy their CDs to a computer play out system pay for the privilege. The church would have also contributed - buy hiring the venue, and allowing their organist and perhaps choir to be recorded and distributed. Plenty of modern church music is still in copyright, so composers like John Rutter are still due royalties. If the music is ancient - then maybe the choirmaster/organist re-arranged it, granting him rights. So if the church permit you to record it, and you don't have a license, how about the promise the church may have made to the copyright owners?

It's a huge, complex issue, and now the churches are scared of the rights people, it's going to get worse!
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