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Old September 12th, 2012, 05:34 PM   #1
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What to do about song rights

I know this has been talked about, but wondering if there's a solution for recording wedding events such as the dances that have music playing. Since we're hired professionals, is there any way around this other than using less that 30 seconds or telling the client that they have to buy the rights to all the songs played? The way that I have read the law is a "hired" work is different and requires rights to the music. Also I figured that adding "clients are responsible for obtaining all copyright music" in my contract wouldn't hold any water. Any thoughts? Thanks!
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Old September 12th, 2012, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: What to do about song rights

Do a search please cause your question has been answered numerous times!

If it's going online you want the rights to it. If the client is not gonna post their film online then you might get away with it.

Use sites like SongFreedom.com, Triple Scoop and MusicBed.

You should be picking the music for your highlight videos you post online anyways, not the clients. You'll be using the same songs over and over again if you let them. Secondly, what if the footage doesn't match the style of your shooting or the feel and energy of the wedding.

I highly recommend that you come up with a solid sales pitch on why you chosing the music benefits the client better than if they pick it.

You can also send a link to the Joe Simon article where he talks about being sued and tell your clients that they and you can be sued and you'd rather be safe than sorry.
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Old September 13th, 2012, 12:31 AM   #3
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Re: What to do about song rights

I have (and will search better) about this issue. Although, I meant all the songs that are recorded in the background. When I film the couples walking down there's at lest 2 songs that are playing and then the dances and (dancing). That's like 10 songs. I'm well aware of the highlight video rights and I'm currently doing that. Even if I copyright my DVD's that was still be a copyright infringement, right?
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Old September 13th, 2012, 12:39 AM   #4
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Re: What to do about song rights

Thanks (although there hasn't been a clear answer that I can find)
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Old September 13th, 2012, 01:14 AM   #5
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Re: What to do about song rights

Hi Dylan.

To answer your question, it is technically illegal to use copyrighted works in your video.

However, if the bride has chosen to walk down the aisle to Robbie Williams, and you overdub a royalty free version of "Beethoven's 5th symphony", how long do you think you'll be in business for?
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Old September 13th, 2012, 01:54 AM   #6
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Re: What to do about song rights

Hi Dylan

Yes it is even illegal to record some footage outdoors if a song is playing... some guy was recording his family on a boardwalk and the TV shop in the background happened to be showing the Simpsons and Fox supposedly sued him for using the footage even though it was purely co-incidental.

The bottom line is usually, use whatever you need to use and record what you have to record and make the DVD...it's unlikely to be aired on national TV so it's for personal use only... that's what most wedding videographers do even though it's technically wrong...record the first dance and the song also and don't sweat it too much...the DJ probably doesn't have permission to use it either.

The only time you MUST be careful is for online clips....you can replace the music with Royalty Free but as John says, it really sucks..YouTube seem to have an arrangement with publishers to put ads on youyr video to generate "royalty income" ....My Friday wedding had a string trio playing the Bridal March and YT zapped that as "copyright" .... I'm not going to change it either.

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Old September 13th, 2012, 01:15 PM   #7
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Re: What to do about song rights

Youtube zapped the music on one of my ice skating videos, so we had a string of comments on how silly that was. Now they have allowed the music but with a link to purchase the Josh Grogan song on iTunes. And the comments look silly. What the hey.

Even better, they screwed up my account in the Google acquisition so I can't add or delete videos on that account any more.
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Old September 13th, 2012, 03:51 PM   #8
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Re: What to do about song rights

The fact of life is that music is being played everywhere nowadays, and if you wish to use it, you pay. What I don't quite get is that if your client wants Robbie Williams, and you offer them the choice of paying for Robbie Williams or having something less appropriate for free or a bit less money - does it matter. They pay or they don't - it isn't your fault. If they want special visual effects, like they want a marryoke (sp?) or aerial footage, they pay. Why is copyright complained about over and over again? It's just an extra cost to the production that can be absorbed or passed on.
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Old September 13th, 2012, 04:05 PM   #9
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Re: What to do about song rights

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
What I don't quite get is that if your client wants Robbie Williams, and you offer them the choice of paying for Robbie Williams or having something less appropriate for free or a bit less money - does it matter.
In reality, you don't charge them extra to use Robbie Williams. You just do it. If you tell clients that you are going to charge them a fee to use Robbie, then they will just hire the competition who won't charge them.

Only the good die young.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 03:13 AM   #10
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Re: What to do about song rights

Then that's something that the Wedding Industry need to address. I really don't understand the wedding industry from a video perspective. They seem to be able to demand up front payment without any guarantee of quality or content, yet have in some cases, amazing double standards, where some are as mentioned above willing to avoid proper licensing simply because everyone else does. On this forum, there's been so much content devoted to video people 'stealing' other people's work for their websites, and avoiding clearances, yet when people can get away with it, they themselves seem happy to break the rules because others do it.

If the wedding industry want to be respected throughout the industry, this kind of behaviour does none of you any good. As an outsider I read the indigence in some posts because their rights and expectations have been breached in some way, yet I see other people's similar views swept out of sight.

With the greatest respect, is it surprising the clients believe they get a raw deal sometimes?


I'm glad I deal with mainly other businesses who do appreciate that laws are designed for us all.

If you have to deal with people who are prepared to ignore the law to save a few pennies, that's sad. I personally don't work this way - and to be honest, I'm surprised others do. I'd have thought the bad publicity that could be generated by a legal claim would be somewhat negative where reputations are concerned.

The client says I can't afford the extra wedding car, could you steal one for the day for me, because ZXY video say they can get me one for free, and nobody is likely to notice, and if we get caught, we'll pretend we didn't know borrowing somebodies car without telling them was not on.

Are you really defending breaking the law just because the competition have less in the ways of morals?
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Old September 14th, 2012, 04:06 AM   #11
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Re: What to do about song rights

In the UK, Australia, New Zealand & a few other territories we are able to easily licence commercial music at reasonable rates for wedding videos (excluding online use) so please don't assume that all wedding videographers are ignoring copyright.

As for paying up front this is the norm with every other supplier in the wedding industry e.g. photographers, venues, caterers, venues, limousine hire etc etc It's a nice position to be in with regard to cash flow but perfectly normal & accepted by the clients. Just because other industries have different protocols doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with this way or working.

BTW Taking a car without permission is a crime. Using a Robbie Williams track on a wedding video without payment isn't.

Last edited by Nigel Barker; September 15th, 2012 at 01:47 AM.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 04:58 PM   #12
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Re: What to do about song rights

Paul - I understand where you are coming from. But you are arguing for a perfect world solution... not what is reality.

I consider myself a good person. I do however sometimes drive in excess of the speed limit - when I deem it is safe to do so, my kids aren't in the car, and where I calculate the risk of being caught is low. Technically this is a crime. Each person must judge if they can live with that. I can.

My main concern is generating a good income so that I can put food on my family's table, pay my kids school fees, and retire to live a comfortable lifestyle with my wife.

Keeping rockstars and fatcat corporate executives in their BMW's and luxury yachts in the Caribbean isn't one of my main priorities.

Sorry if this offends you - I think it's admirable that you want to play by 'the rules'. Just don't expect others share your views, or demand a worldwide change in attitude. It's just life.
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Old September 17th, 2012, 12:10 PM   #13
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Re: What to do about song rights

This thread, like all other threads on this forum and other, that deal with music usage, is showing the problem in the US with no good solution on the horizon. It is also exposing a problem that the wedding videography business has in general and it is creeping into other areas of multimedia production. That is the ever lowering costs to produce what is considered acceptable video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Knight View Post
My main concern is generating a good income so that I can put food on my family's table, pay my kids school fees, and retire to live a comfortable lifestyle with my wife.

Keeping rock starsand fatcat corporate executives in their BMW's and luxury yachts in the Caribbean isn't one of my main priorities.
John, by your thinking why is it wrong for the guy who is starving and trying to survive to go into your home and steel from you? To him, you are the fat cat who has it made and is living in luxury. Why should their priorities be to let you live a comfortable lifestyle? That is the exact mentality that has caused a great deal of the problems that we as a society face today. It is a mentality that others must play by the rules but as long as I can benefit from it and I can justify that it helps me, it's ok for me to do it.

I am the first to admit that I detest the upward mobility push "at all cost" mentality. It boggles my mind when a person making a million dollars a year complains that they shouldn't have to pay so much in taxes that go toward social programs. Even if you had to pay 50% to taxes are you telling me that you can't live off of $500,000 per year?. But,well, stealing is stealing, even if you can justify it, it still isn't right.

I don't think you are a bad person John. It just goes to show how deep this problem goes. You've just been fully indoctrinated into the global mentality that it is ok to break the law and steal from others because you feel you are justified and deserve it. Unfortunately, the people that you hurt when you steal music isn't the artist, or the big music company exec. They will take their profits first. The ones you hurt are the record store owner who now has to pay more for the inventory he has to sell at a lower profit margin because he's competing with people willing to steal the music rather than buy it, the workers at the distribution centers who are having to take lower salaries if they wish to stay employed, and the list goes on and on. Those who really suffer are not the ones with the jets and yachts.

If you want to see a change in the way the music industry treats wedding videography, then the wedding videography industry has to change. If all of the wedding industry stopped using unlicensed music, then the brides and grooms would have no choice. They would either pay for it, or they would learn to not expect it. If there is enough push to license the music, and the recording industry had enough requests for a low cost solution, they would do it. The problem is that there has just not been enough demand in the US to make them change. As Nigel pointed out, other countries have been successful in getting a acceptable system in place. Also, I believe they know that it is being used illegally and that pisses them off. So, in a way they'd rather hold the threat of possible legal action over your head just to mess with you (yes that is a cynical attitude but when it comes to big business I'm very cynical).

Well, time for me to get off my soap box. As a final thought, might not be the best idea to advertise that you don't follow the copyright laws. Never know when some overly ambitious young lawyer looking to get his first yacht reads your post and brings your name to the attention of some record exec he's friends with.That happened to an acquaintance who ran a blog. They just "innocently" used a quick snippet of a pop song without proper licensing on their blog. They were talking about their blog at a party and it was over heard by a young lawyer who brought it to the attention of one of their friends at a record label. About $25,000 later in penalties, and lawyer bills, the blog no longer has the few seconds of pop music on it.
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Old September 17th, 2012, 04:27 PM   #14
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Re: What to do about song rights

Hi Garrett, awesome rant! :) I like your passion.

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If you want to see a change in the way the music industry treats wedding videography, then the wedding videography industry has to change..
I think this is the crux of the matter from my perspective. I personally DON'T want to see a change in the way the music industry treats us. I know they are greedy, I know they are suing people, I know they are not here to support wedding videographers use their precious music. I have found a way to jump through the hoops and wriggle through the loopholes, and I'm happy with that. It's about playing the hand you've been dealt, taking the risks you are comfortable with and being able to sleep at night.

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Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
If all of the wedding industry stopped using unlicensed music, then the brides and grooms would have no choice.
Not going to happen. There is no 'united voice' of videographers, just a motley crew of enthusiastic business owners and entrepreneurs trying to make a buck however they can.

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Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
As a final thought, might not be the best idea to advertise that you don't follow the copyright laws...
Come on... gimme some credit.... "John Knight"??? seriously.... :)

But..... might be time to move this one to Members section....
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Old September 17th, 2012, 05:20 PM   #15
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Re: What to do about song rights

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Originally Posted by John Knight View Post
Hi Garrett, awesome rant! :) I like your passion.
Thanks for recognizing it for what it was, a rant. We're dealing with a lot of ideological and social shifts here in the US. And a lot of it has to do with attitudes about what is acceptable and what justifies one's actions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Knight View Post
Come on... gimme some credit.... "John Knight"??? seriously.... :)

But..... might be time to move this one to Members section....
Hey, now a days, using a fake name will slow them down for about 2 seconds. My best friend got a job with a defense contractor and as "routine" background checks they checked all his known acquaintances. Of course I got a call from the good old federal authorities with a bunch of questions not only about him but me too. Wow, was that an eye opener. They new stuff about me that I had no idea why anyone would care. Heck, they probably could tell me how many time I chewed each bite of food. Really made me think, what if I were doing something illegal?
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