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Old June 17th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Northwestern/Central, PA
Posts: 62
Graduation Ceremony

Hey everyone.

This past weekend I video taped a graduation ceremony. It was a 3 camera set-up and we also hooked a laptop straight into the house board. The situation I'm facing is that we are selling the videos to the family members of the graduates and during the ceremony they played the class song which is a Boys II Men song. Do I need to aquire the rights to put it into the video? I know this question gets asked a lot but I haven't seen it in this fashion since it's actually a part of the ceremony and we hooked right into the board for clean audio with the mics and that song went through the house board too.

Any suggestions?
Nicholas Valentine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 17th, 2006, 11:20 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 156
It's a great question Nic. I think it likely that your hooking into the board would be where your coypright violation may have begun. If however you captured the sound thru a microphone you would have been ok. That said I think the chances of you being prosecuted or sued sucessfully are about the same as a space rock crashing thru your roof, skipping off the wall, starting a fire, which would set off your smoke alarm, wakeing you from a deep sleep at which time you would trip over your pet poodle sprawl headlong, strike your head and become a vegetable for the rest of your life. And that is a lot more serious that someone trying to get a few bucks out of you and you probibly won't stay up worring about that. Copyright violations go on constantly, not the big ones like copying cds but things like dance teachers setting dances to a song. That is a copyright violation. My wife and owned a dance school for many years. We were in a shopping center and one day a guy from BMI came in and asked us were our use permit is. What use permit? Long story short we had to pay them a couple hundred bucks every year to make them go away. They used us for a test case but never hastled any one else in our area. We were only school we ever heard of that that happened to and I called them all. The music police had come to the shopping center to see what the stores in the mall were doing and if any music could be heard by the public in any of them.

What are the chances that the school secured the necessary permissions to play that song at the graduation. Zero, so wouldn't they be the primary violater in this situation and how wise would it be for Boys to Men et al to sue you and the so and so school district for playing their song at graduation? Just playing the song in that circumstance is a copyright violation. I shot a ballet today. As the audiance was filling the house the sound man was playing some mucic he liked, that is a copyright violation. Your defense would be a real one that you set up your recording equipment to record the speaches and it would have been a hardship to shut down the equipment when they played music. And besides didn't you have every reason to believe that anything comming thru the schools sound system would be in full copyright compliance as the school authorities were fully aware that you would be making recordings. Not a perfect defense I realize but I can't see a judge awarding more than actual damages. In any case I think it unlikely that a judge would grant much of an award to a complaining party as the music was incidental to the dvd you produced and they would likely have to also rule against the school district, something which judges rarely do.

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