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Old September 26th, 2012, 05:01 AM   #1
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How do they get away with it?

Hello all.

This is my first time posting here. I'm relatively new to the world of event videography and am looking to launch my own business in the near future.

In doing research of various styles and production techniques I've visited dozens of competitor sites and am overwhelmed at the overt use of copyrighted music. I'm not trying to name names, but it seems the vast majority of professionals make no effort to hide the fact that they are using pop music in their videos. Many of these businesses even seem completely centered around the use of copyrighted material, particularly the popular short form edits where sync sound is barely used.

Now I know what is technically legal and what is not, and I know the chances of these people being called out is pretty low, but it seems baffling how so many people can base their entire business around the use of copyrighted material. Most of these short form editing styles would flatline without a soundtrack, and I don't see too many people using generic royalty free material.

The response to the issue online is almost completely one-sided in favor of copyright legality. Whether people are afraid to speak out against it or whether they prefer not to speak up at all, I can't find much of an explanation for this situation.

My question is, how do they get away with it?

Are the risks so microscopic that nobody takes them seriously, that businesses can afford to flaunt their use of copyright infringement on the front page of their site, making no effort to hide it?

Every search I've made has led to the same stiff response about the technical legality of the issue, yet I fail to see how it is put into effect.

Thanks for your help!
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Old September 26th, 2012, 06:11 AM   #2
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Re: How do they get away with it?

I've visited dozens of competitor sites and am overwhelmed at the overt use of copyrighted music. I'm not trying to name names, but it seems the vast majority of professionals make no effort to hide the fact that they are using pop music in their videos

Depends on what you mean by professionals. If you dig a little deeper you'll find that huge numbers are not "professionals" at all but merely hobbyists masquerading as full-time experienced pros. Therefore their priorities and appreciation of dangers are somewhat different to those of "legit" businesses.

Thats not to say that many do not produce acceptable work, of course they can. But their attitude to copyright, insurance, taxes, employment law, misleading advertising etc can be a lot different :- (

Again the music industry does not help itself. I'm a member of a several thousands strong pro photographers forum where the proprietor wasted a lot of time and effort trying to get workable arrangements in place with the music industry. In the end it was all for nothing. And the reason? Because music artsits simply do not want to be associated with anything as awful and cheesy as wedding photos and video (as they would see it). It doesn't fit the cool image they wish to portray. Thats the bottom line.

I don't use copyright material except with the appropriate releases.

Pete
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Old September 26th, 2012, 08:44 AM   #3
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Re: How do they get away with it?

Andrew. We made the decision in December 2011 to switch to only licensed music through Music Licensing For Photographers, Videographers, Schools, and Churches - Songfreedom.com and others like triple scoop. Anything you hear on my vimeo channel is now fully licensed. It was expensive and there are some things they still don't have (like really good dance music) but we have been very successful with the switch. and they have artists like One Republic and Colbie Callait who license through them. They're not legal in Germany yet, but otherwise we're good. I think most very simply think that it doesn't matter, that they're not big enough fish to catch. They know it's against the law but think they have no choice. That's what I always thought.
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Old September 26th, 2012, 08:52 AM   #4
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Re: How do they get away with it?

Hi Peter

In the USA go to any top videographer site and you will see popular music used in samples ... I guess they have no option???? Licensing music is time consuming and costly for something as simple as a wedding trailer so copyright music is blatantly used...even over here I saw a site on our East Coast where the samples used commercial music and the guy was the videographer winner of the year in the recent Pro Video Association awards .... I too use royal free track with my online clips but there are certainly a lot out there who are not "enthusiastic amateurs" who simply use what the bride wants.

Yep, you can probably get away with it on the bride's personal DVD copy but it seems a bit arrogant to post videos online with commercial music.

Like yourselves we here can get a licence for the DVD content but NOT for online clips at all...in the USA I don't think they have any option at all to licence commercial music except to approach the record company and negotiate which probably would cost more than the wedding video!!

I know one person tried here and the publisher wanted $10,000!!!! that's just for a trailer clip and it took them 8 or 9 months to respond to him...by that time the wedding is long forgotten!!

Chris
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Old September 26th, 2012, 11:14 AM   #5
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Re: How do they get away with it?

I stopped using unlicensed music about five years ago, and I stopped doing wedding videography altogether shortly after.

Honestly, it's easy to edit together a string of shots with the backing of a popular track that alone evokes emotion. It's much harder to evoke the same emotion without a recognizable track. I've seen a few videographers that can do that, and kudos to them, it's a genuine talent.

On another thread here I mentoned how a music licensing firm used web crawling software and identified a short piece of their music in the middle of a 30 minute audio file (with narration over the top of it) on one of my clients websites and sent them a bill for $1000 for unlicensed use! I believe that day is coming soon when a bunch of videographers are going to wake up to legal papers demanding thousands of dollars because their videos were found by this software.
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Old September 26th, 2012, 04:25 PM   #6
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Re: How do they get away with it?

Thanks for your input guys. The matter was honestly confusing to me but this sheds some light.

I guess its impossible to tell who is actually acquiring licensing for their work, but I have a hunch the numbers are small. It takes considerable overhead to pay for licensing fees, and I doubt many vendors would bother. I think the "safety in numbers" and "if everyone else is doing it" mentality takes over.

I personally don't use pop tracks in highlight videos, but recently realized how drastically (and cheaply) it could improve their flow.

Honestly, it's easy to edit together a string of shots with the backing of a popular track that alone evokes emotion. It's much harder to evoke the same emotion without a recognizable track. I've seen a few videographers that can do that, and kudos to them, it's a genuine talent.

Very true. Thats the impression I get as well. Many of these flashy shorts are basically music videos. It certainly takes skill to produce them, but coming from a filmmaking background I know how easy it is to throw beauty shots over music and call it art.

Last edited by Andrew D; September 26th, 2012 at 04:25 PM. Reason: bold
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Old September 26th, 2012, 04:57 PM   #7
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Re: How do they get away with it?

It's all been covered here as well as many other threads on this board.

What to do about song rights
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Old September 26th, 2012, 07:36 PM   #8
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Re: How do they get away with it?

The obvious and simple answer is yet to be found of course and more and more videographers go towards the cinematic DSLR route that actually requires music to complete the look and feel of the clip.

I'm still old school and shoot all my weddings documentary style so I don't really need any music ...it's an easy solution for me..no music means no licensing and no hassles!! The odd photoshoot clip that has to go online has Royalty Free stuff on it and everything else is just a live recording of the ceremony/reception/speeches etc etc.

I guess if you are a cinematic/DSLR/small DOF kinda person then you need to take this music license thing seriously...If you are a doc kinda person if doesn't really affect you.

Chris
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Old September 27th, 2012, 01:40 PM   #9
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Re: How do they get away with it?

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Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
They're not legal in Germany yet
As far as I can tell they are not legal in Europe, songfreedom says they have worldwide synch rights (to create the video) but not necessarily the streaming rights. They said that eventhough their content partners have the ability to grant certain rights, each territory does have the ability to be as difficult as they would like. A particular song on songfreedoms site was only to be licensed once and exclusively with Songfreedom, later I found out that was not the case, the song had to be licensed a second time here in Belgium with Sabam, the Belgian, music rights organisation.

Regarding these so called problems in Germany, that has not much to do with Songfreedom, there is a GEMA lawsuite which is about German music used on youtube where no royalties where paid for. Songfreedom also referred to GEMA when I asked why the song I planned to buy from them was not exclusively licensed with them only and I don't see the connection with Gema.

I"m not touching anything from Songfreedom for sure.
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Old September 27th, 2012, 01:49 PM   #10
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Re: How do they get away with it?

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Originally Posted by Andrew D View Post
but it seems the vast majority of professionals make no effort to hide the fact that they are using pop music in their videos....My question is, how do they get away with it?
I bet a lot of these videos are on Vimeo, Vimeo's terms for using not licensed music are clear enough but it looks that they allow just about anything to probably continue to grow.
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Old September 28th, 2012, 08:16 AM   #11
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Re: How do they get away with it?

As far as the "need" to use recognizable music in your edits. I have used 90 tracks so far from Songfreedom in my cinematic dslr shallow dof short forms and trailers, and it works every time because the appeal is not the song, its the story we're telling. The music helps reinforce the mood, but it is very possible to use decent, licensed music and your clients be very happy. And as far as I know, almost all of the top guys in the US are following suit. After Joe Simon and David Robin both got busted last year, I think we are all more aware.
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Old September 28th, 2012, 09:02 AM   #12
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Re: How do they get away with it?

Yesterday I spoke to a bride who booked us for next year, and she really wants her full highlight online, because she will be having a lot of family from out-of-town who can't make it. She has been watching many of our highlight videos (which we have been using Songfreedom for about a year now) and she was excited about the fact that we often use lesser-known songs. This way, in her words, people would hear that song later and think "Oh that's the song from Sarah's wedding video", rather than associate an over-used pop song with everyone else's wedding, high school dance from way back when, etc..... To those that understand, it makes their video more unique, and opens their ears to new music preferences too.

Yes it is somewhat expensive, and it has its limitations at times...as someone else pointed out, good dance music is just impossible to find. But it's worth it to be able to sleep at night and not worry about what might happen, for me at least.

Last edited by Katie Fasel; September 28th, 2012 at 09:04 AM. Reason: typo
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Old September 28th, 2012, 06:43 PM   #13
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Re: How do they get away with it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
After Joe Simon and David Robin both got busted last year, I think we are all more aware.
What where they busted for?
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Old September 28th, 2012, 08:25 PM   #14
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Re: How do they get away with it?

What where they busted for?
well i just read David Robin's Blog
so i think it was this Black Eyed Peas - The Time (Dirty Bit) - Wedding Parody Video - Joya + Emre - YouTube
that may have caused some trouble!
its on his Blog David Robin Films | David Robin's experience and activity in the Wedding & Event Videography industry.
although further up he does state 'Attention Filmmakers!! Isnít it time to go legit'

after that there's an entry that states 'Consciously deciding only to use legally licensed music, i was approached by Triple Scoop Music, who have the largest world class music collection available for licensing. They kindly offered to give me my own Signature Collection! I was so exhilarated!'
nice one!

wonder how much it costs? if it's too expensive will it be only rich people that can have their weddings filmed with a bit of background music eh?
the rest, the great unwashed will have to suffer in silence

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Old September 28th, 2012, 09:40 PM   #15
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Re: How do they get away with it?

What he said at Infocus was that once they found that one song, they went through his entire vimeo channel and found 30 something violations totalled over 5 million. They settled for $50Grand. Scared the rest of us straight. Btw I have his collection from Triple Scoop and it is pretty good $399.
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