So I've just put together a few dance recital DVDs for a client, but they tell me now they don't have copyright/IPR forms for a nice chunk of the music they danced to.
Which means legally I can't duplicate the DVDs without risking like a minimum one million dollar liability.
I've done all this work (like 30 hours+ of shooting and editing 3 performances) and now I don't know if it all goes down the drain - because I'm not being held responsible for duplicating material that isn't legal.
They have not yet received clearance forms, or have no intentions of getting them ???
As you know, you are in hold mode until the releases are secured, at a bare minimum.
If you have a contract that spells out who is responsible for what, you are in good shape.
If you don't, there's always a small claims court action you could pursue, if it falls within your state's limits, to recover what you have coming up until this point in time, if your client won't pay you without the job being completed.
But as you already know, someone has to choke down those license fees, if this is to be done legally.
You mention they are missing licenses for a good chunk, does that mean they have some, but not all ??? Or are they assuming there is no license required because some is public domain music ??? As I understand it, even if it is public domain music, the actual performance of it could be copywritten to the performers that recorded it.
Because dance is choreographed to the specific piece of music, forget substitution. You will never get something close enough to have it look right.