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Copyrighted music for a client's slide show

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Kim Theo
Copyrighted music for a client's slide show
on May 23, 2010 at 5:36:12 pm

Hi there!

I'm kind of new to the whole "editing for profit" arena. I've done my own video editing for years, and I'm just now starting to branch out into editing other people's film.

I've been asked to put together a slide show for a couple's 50th anniversary by their children. The slideshow would be used solely for home viewing purposes. They've asked that I use several songs in with the slides, as they hold meaning for the intended recipients. Clearly, this music is copyrighted, but they are insisting that THESE songs be used.

My question is, is there any kind of verbiage that I can put in the contract that states that my client is liable for obtaining permission to use copyrighted material and that I accept no liability for the content? I know that this is going to be used in a private setting and the risk of it coming back to haunt either of us is unlikely, but nevertheless, I'd like to cover my own tail.

Thanks in advance for any advice you have to give!

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Mark Suszko
Re: Copyrighted music for a client's slide show
on May 24, 2010 at 3:32:40 pm

You answered your own question. How would you write that liability release: "I know what I am doing is technically against the law, and you know it is technically against the law, but it's all good 'cause you promised to cover me if anybody sues."?

Sure you can write that document, and they can sign it, but no judge is going to honor it.

Some guys will tell you that in this circumstance, your chances of something bad happening are astonomically remote, so heck with it, go ahead. But just because you might get away with it, that's not an excuse or permission to do it. To thine own self, be true. It boils down to your personal code of honor. If you are going to steal, is it to put bread on your starving kid's plate, or just to keep some cash flow going, maybe buy some luxury item? Once you decide to sell your soul, how cheap will you give it away for? Once your price is known, you can't expect to raise it.

Also, can you proudly stand behind this work the rest of your life, or will you always be worrying who else might see it over the internet some day, and call you on it? Or will you be trying for a future gig and worrying that they see that you did this once for very little money and they figure your honor is not worth much? How much is the profit on the video worth to pay for your peace of mind?
Reputations are very precious in this line of work; they take a lifetime to build and seconds to tear down. I'm not telling you what to do, but I suggest that if you're going to compromise, do it for a better reason than most, and bill appropriately for the peace of mind and potential damages.

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grinner hester
Re: Copyrighted music for a client's slide show
on May 25, 2010 at 7:04:48 pm

Just tell em you'll add those songs once they show proof of use.
Most of the time they'll shut up and let ya make a legal video.

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Kerry Brown
Re: Copyrighted music for a client's slide show
on May 27, 2010 at 7:47:34 pm

See if Zoom can help.


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