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Old June 17th, 2015, 03:27 AM   #1
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Church Rip off?

I had a bride forward me an email that she was sent from the vicar of her upcoming wedding regarding music copyright. In the email he states that church musicians, as a matter of course, charge double for their services if the wedding is being video recorded - I ask myself why?

Even the Royal School of Church Music suggests they charge more if the wedding is being filmed but I cannot see any reason for this other then fleecing the couple.

RSCM -Music for church weddings

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Old June 17th, 2015, 03:50 AM   #2
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Re: Church Rip off?

Pete, this is nothing new, they have been charging double for the organist etc in many churches for at least 15 years. I had one wedding in 2009 at a church near Ely. where the total extra charges levied by the church because it was being videoed was exactly £500 on top of the usual wedding charges. It amounted to £12 per minute based on the length of the service. I wanted to take it to the local media, but the couple didn't want to cause a fuss!!!!

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Old June 17th, 2015, 06:12 AM   #3
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Re: Church Rip off?

It certainly is a ripoff by the Church but surely the bride pays the inflated fee, not you???

I have never seen that (well brides have never told me about it) Catholic Churches here tend to settle for CD music and I encounter organists only at Anglican Churches. They tend to charge a lot for weddings here ...I did an Anglican wedding and they wanted $280.00 to ring the bells for 2 minutes as the bride walked outside. What amused me was the 4 bell ringers were volunteers so they did it for free!! What was the $280 for then? Wear and tear on the bells.

Luckily our Church to Civil ratio has now dropped to 20% Church and 80% Civil which suits me too!!!

It's sad that Churches are ripping off brides ..maybe that's why brides choose a civil venue (often with a priest but not in a Church) over using a Church ...it ends up cheaper! You can get a nice venue here for $399 - $500 (public venues are even cheaper) yet Anglican Churches (I saw the bill for one) ask for $1300.00 Gosh when I got married all you had to do was make a donation to the Church Fund to have the priest and his building ..it's more of a business nowdays!!
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Old June 17th, 2015, 06:14 AM   #4
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Re: Church Rip off?

No I don't pay it Chris - I did once have a bride who politely asked if I pay the fee that the church charge for allowing the service to be filmed - I very politely told her no - It's plain in my Ts & Cs

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Old June 17th, 2015, 09:48 AM   #5
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Re: Church Rip off?

It is NOT a rip-off. Tell me, if the bride took her wedding video, where perhaps in the background one of the guests was famous, and sold it to Hello magazine for ten grand, would that be fine? You'd feel well and truly used, wouldn't you?

Musicians are very similar to video makers. They give a price for the use of their hard work and years of practice. A live event is transitory. when it is done, it's finished. If it is recorded, it becomes a permanent product, out of the control of the musician.

Outside of the wedding industry, there are negotiated agreements with Equity and the Musicians Union. I am allowed to shoot a very limited amount of video featuring musicians - a small amount is allowed for news type programmes without any special payment. However - using perhaps an entire song from the show means extra payments are required. Even a short outside broadcast for children in need means a payment for each one MUST be paid. They can donate it back if they wish, but the use of their performance is controlled.

I'm amazed the wedding area cannot understand this? They are skilled in copyright clearance for much of what they do, with limited manufacture licenses and other licenses through associations, yet are blinkered to the rights of performers.

I am also a performing musician - I play in a tribute band. We get decent fees, but when we turn up and there is a video crew there, we say NO. If I play a bum note, or one of the harmony vocal lines gets messed up - nobody notices, but the last thing I want is it being on a DVD somewhere. When these events are planned in advance, we include editing rights in our contract - so we will then provide the video people with a properly mixed and balanced recording they can sync to - BUT - we retain the rights, and want a share of the profit. If it's for a cause we support, then maybe we might settle for a deal on the DVDs sold - but if we see people making money we refuse unless it's arranged in advance.

Rights are everywhere - and if I book a wedding (as I'm doing at the moment for my son), I do NOT just assume the harpist will be happy with being recorded. They might, or might not.

So would you be happy with the bride selling the video you produce? Or would that be infringing YOUR rights?
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Old June 17th, 2015, 10:11 AM   #6
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Re: Church Rip off?

I agree it is ridiculous and yes it is a rip off of the worst sort.
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Old June 17th, 2015, 12:15 PM   #7
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Re: Church Rip off?

Jeff - can explain what rationale you have for thinking it's a rip off?

Do you not believe in having rights to control what people do with your property? Or indeed, being paid for what you do?

If you tell the copyright agency you will only duplicate a few DVDs, and agree the price, but then duplicate ten times that amount, is it unfair they ripped you off by asking for more money?
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Old June 17th, 2015, 12:27 PM   #8
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Re: Church Rip off?

Paul, your analogies do not come close to fitting this situation.

I simply stand with the majority on this one, the church or organists are being opportunistic and it's a ripoff.

No rationale needed, it's just wrong.
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Old June 17th, 2015, 01:01 PM   #9
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Re: Church Rip off?

I"m with Jeff as well, the musicians get paid by the bride to sing their songs, the videographer gets paid by the bride to document her day, this documentation includes covering the musicians performance and add that to the video of the bride. The videographer is not making any more money from recording that music performance, he has a fixed price to record the day which includes everything that happens during that time, no matter if someone sings live or not.

If the videographer would use the musicians performance as a track for a trailer which will be placed online for marketing purpose, then I would agree he has to pay the musicians extra for it, even if they already had been paid by the bride, the videographer would be using their music to promote his own product to a very large public online with the only purpose to attract new clients.

If he however only delivers to the bride only her closest friends and family get to see that, there might be someone in the family that gets married as well and chooses the videograpger based on that video but the purpose of the musicians music that was used is not to advertise the videographers work, it's only a part of a documented day with just one client who owns the product.

The musician has no right at all to charge double for this in such a case. It just would be a shameful attempt to charge extra money, I"m glad I have not encountered musicians with such narrow vision during my weddings, I always place a zoom h1 in front of them if they have been hired to sing during the wedding and tell them it's only for the couples video, I never have met someone who was not ok with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
If you tell the copyright agency you will only duplicate a few DVDs, and agree the price, but then duplicate ten times that amount, is it unfair they ripped you off by asking for more money?
I also don't see what the number of requested dvd's has anything to do with the musicians performance in case of a wedding video, like I said the price charged by the videographer is for his own product which is the documentation part of the day as requested by the couple, if the couple requests extra dvd's it's just that, extra costs for the time spend to print all these, I don't see where the musician is loosing money from this, they already got paid for their performance and the video videographer is not making any more from their singing but only from his own work.

I"m also sure if a musicians would have that kind of attitude where I come from (when they would promote their services to sing at weddings and charge double if they where videotaped) they would not be hired at all, no couple would be that stupid to waste their money, they would just play a simple music cd during the service and pay the standard fee for that.

Last edited by Noa Put; June 17th, 2015 at 01:45 PM.
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Old June 17th, 2015, 02:51 PM   #10
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Re: Church Rip off?

Like Paul I am also a gigging musician and have been for all my adult life, however I am in agreement with the other views and not with Paul's. The musicians at a wedding are paid to do a job and they are purely incidental to the video. The video is a record of the day for the family and is for their own use, not as a commercially marketed video. I am perfectly happy to remove the music from the video as it makes no difference to my pricing. however the couple have paid for the music and it is part of their day. If copyright is the issue with the music, then the same argument could be applied to the flower arrangements, the cake, the table decorations, the best mans speech, the layout of the room, the frontage of the venue and everything else that is involved. That is clearly ridiculous for something which is for personal use. To reverse the situation, perhaps we should be charging a promotion fee to the church, venue, musicians etc

If I play a gig and my act is the main attraction, then any video taken of that gig may be potentially marketable, which makes it a totally different scenario in my opinion. I filmed a wedding a few weeks ago and the Bride"s Grandad was the lead singer of the Foundations (Build Me Up Buttercup) He performed an hour set in the evening for his Grandaughter and was delighted that I filmed it. There was absolutely no question that them or I had to pay copyright as it was for family use only. If I intended to market that section of the video, it would be a completely different situation and commercial rights and copyright would be expected to be observed.

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Old June 17th, 2015, 03:08 PM   #11
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Re: Church Rip off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
I had a bride forward me an email that she was sent from the vicar ...

Even the Royal School of Church Music suggests they charge more if the wedding is being filmed but I cannot see any reason for this other then fleecing the couple.
Vicar implies a Catholic church, yes? The same people that brought us the concept of buying an indulgence? They are just raising money off the people they think will pay. Not very Christian of them, I'll admit. But it does fit perfectly with their long and storied history.
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Old June 17th, 2015, 03:40 PM   #12
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Re: Church Rip off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
Vicar implies a Catholic church, yes? The same people that brought us the concept of buying an indulgence? They are just raising money off the people they think will pay. Not very Christian of them, I'll admit. But it does fit perfectly with their long and storied history.
Incorrect assumption I'm afraid Bruce, a vicar would normally be an Anglican cleric, the Catholic Church has priests in the UK.

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Old June 17th, 2015, 03:41 PM   #13
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Re: Church Rip off?

Just wondering, how much do you think Westminster Abbey charged for the video part when Prince William and Kate Middleton got married? Oh, and the bell ringing??? That must have cost a pretty penny! (Or is that pence?)

It’s mind boggling that there would be a surcharge for filming because there is absolutely no impact on the facility what so ever. If they don’t charge for the photography then it’s akin to discrimination. All a video is, is a series of stills (non-interlaced) put together. Oh, and with a wee bit (Kings English here!) of audio thrown in.

So I’d really agree with Peter Rush’s post of “Why?”
The facility use was paid for. So the answer to the question is it’s surely a profit center.
Who knows where the money goes? In the Priest’s or minister’s pocket? Is it all reported to the “higheri-ups”? Not that this really matters. It would be interesting to know their rational.

With regard to the music part, copyright is a major issue here because it tends to be very controlled. Try posting something on Vimeo for instance, and they run it through their checking system. I ran afoul of this several months ago and only used a soundtrack that was provided in FCP X. They came back to me and said their system marked it as being copyrighted (or words to that effect). I replied that the copyright holder better have deep pockets because it was one of Apple’s FCP X soundtracks and I’d be pretty sure it would have been checked for copyright. So the systems for checking is working although obviously not perfect.

The author and publisher of the music will copyright it. They’ll use words on the sheet music like:

©Copyright 1926 by [whom ever] Used by Permission
©Arrangement Copyright 1960 by [whom ever]
All Rights Reserved Including the Right of Public Performance for Profit [and sometimes, I think, even including not for profit]
Sole Selling Agent [name, Inc.]
International Copyright Secured
Copyright Renewed

One of the major copyright controlling outfits in the US is ASCAP and they can be very aggressive in collecting fees. Don’t ask me how I know.

I don’t know how the professional musicians deal with playing something that was copyrighted - if they pay royalties or not, or if they play only the zero royalty when not-for-profit songs. The radio stations, I believe, have to keep a log of everything they play.

To make sure everybody is on the same sheet of music it would be a good idea to cover this somehow in the contract agreement. If it was, then in Peter’s case I’d bounce it back to the sender and give the bride a head’s up. Better yet, put this on the check-list with parking and all the other “issues” that seem to crop up.

Roger (post #10) makes the point that the video is for personal use and perhaps that should be in the contract too. Otherwise, if someone posts a portion of it on YouTube (or whatever) and makes money with the commercials - who will they go after?

Hey, who knows, maybe Prince William did get a promotion fee? (okay, dream on!)
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Old June 17th, 2015, 03:55 PM   #14
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Re: Church Rip off?

John,

copyright (in the U.S.) actually has 2 parts: the writer/owner of the song, and then there is the specific performance (the actual recording). Radio stations do have to keep track of how many times a song gets played so that the song writer/owner can get paid.

Anyway, the reason the church/organist doesn't charge extra when there is a photographer is because of one glaring difference: audio.

So, I wonder if these churches in the U.K. wouldn't charge extra if you weren't going to use any audio of their performance. I know I don't in my shorter form highlight style videos that go online (for copyright reasons).
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Old June 17th, 2015, 04:04 PM   #15
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Re: Church Rip off?

Although my comment about us charging promotion fees was tongue in cheek, it is worth mentioning that while some venues are trying to charge for putting you on their recommended suppliers list, one of the venues that features in my wedding show videos, has taken 3 bookings directly as a result of people seeing my video at shows. That ammount to several tens of thousands of pounds as it is a very expensive venue.

I've had a similar number of weddings recommended by the venue, so it does work both ways.

Roger
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