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Mark Moore November 3rd, 2003 10:23 AM

I Think I Know The Answer
I'm finishing up the shooting on my documentary (the making of the Wright Brother's Sculptue for the Flight Centennial next month) by attending the Centennial at the Outer Banks.

There will be several dignitaries there: John Travolta is MC, The Beach Boys will perform, etc. My question is if I shoot The Beach Boys performance and include it in the documentary, do I still need copyright clearance, even though it is a public performance? The same question goes for shooting Mr. Travolta's speech and including snippets in the doc.

My guess is yes, because nothing seems to be free! However, a more knowledgeable opinion would be greatly appreciated.

Rob Easler November 3rd, 2003 03:41 PM

Nothing I say has any legal use. I dont know what I'm talking about but I believe music is different from public speech or rather video of public figures. There are owners of the song and rebroadcasting that is an issue. You would likely need permission for that. However, video only of them or Travolta taken in public I doubt would be an issue. If you've watched TV lately you've seen "celebrities unsensored" showing mass amounts of celebs out in public and the poporatzi aren't paying royalties for those shots, they are selling the footage. It is possible the video only of a "beach boys" performance is still protected by someone who owns rights to their image but any of them individually just as people in public is likely not protected.

Also if you were to use the images for the endorsement of a product or some comercial use like that, as opposed to an editorial or news type of use it will change your rights to use the images.

Mark Moore November 3rd, 2003 07:08 PM

Thanks for the opinion, Rob. I expect I'll have to use footage of TBB in some sort of non-performance manner. Perhaps I can get them to agree to some interviews!

Paul Tauger November 4th, 2003 01:49 AM

Answer: it depends. Do a search on my name and "incidental reproduction." You'll find some discussion re: music. This would also apply to Travolta's speech, to the extent that it is protected by copyright, i.e. written down. You'll almost certainly need releases from anyone recognizable -- commercial appropriation of likeness laws apply. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if they'd give it to you.

There's really no way to give an you a definitive answer, though, without seeing what you propose to do, and knowing how you intend to exploit it.

As someone else suggested, best see a lawyer.

Mark Moore November 4th, 2003 08:21 AM

Thanks Paul. I will do the search and read the threads. I expect I can get some to agree to be taped for a few minutes - at least I hope I can!

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