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Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company

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Paul O'BrienCopyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on Jan 18, 2010 at 7:03:39 pm

Hello,

I work for a 501(c)3 company. From time to time we make videos that would benefit from the use of artists' song recordings in music videos. To do this legally, I understand the need to have licenses.

Short-form: what licenses do I need in order to use songs in videos?

Long-form:

We would be using the artist's recordings, I understand that whatever else we need we will also need a master use license.

But, we do not sell these videos. We do not make more than 5,000 copies. These videos are usually used in presentations to help raise funds for our non-profit company at irregular intervals, maybe a dozen times a week, maybe once a month. In other instances they are duplicated and handed out for free.

Does it matter what we do with the video? Is it simply the cost per duplicated copy? Do I need to get a performance license, or is its presentation irrelevant concerning licensing issues? Is this considered non-commercial because we don't sell the video or because we use the music video to raise money is this a commercial license? Does our non-profit status have any impact?

I haven't contacted any licensing company as I'd rather have more knowledge and hopefully a better understanding of my company's position when corresponding with them.

Right now, what might seems to others cut and dried looks like spaghetti to me. I apologize if I've overcomplicated a simple situation and its simple solution. Thank you in advance to all at the Cow who help me understand this situation better.

Paul O'Brien


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Andy StintonRe: Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on Jan 18, 2010 at 10:15:34 pm

Short answer. The licensing company will tell you what their terms are. They tend to vary very much on who the composer is and their point of view when it comes to charities..

Unless the music is of key importance in you video, I would start looking at royalty free library music.



Andy Stinton
Corporate Video
Live & Stage Events
Business Practices


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Richard CrowleyRe: Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on Jan 19, 2010 at 8:04:23 am

Simple answer: You need a "synchronization license" to include music in a video or film production.

You must negotiate with the rights holder of the music (the publisher, the label, whomever it is) for the rights. In many cases, you will find that it is way beyond your budget. That is why there is a brisk business in "sound-alike" production music.

It makes absolutely no difference that you are a non-profit or whether you distribute copies for free or for $$$. You must have a sync license.

If you have some personal relationship with the composer, performer, rights holder, etc. you could parlay that into some kind of deal within your parameters. Nothing prevents the rights-holder from granting a free license if they wish.

You can identify the rights-owner of many songs using the Harry Fox (HFA) online directory: http://www.harryfox.com/public/songfile.jsp If you were only distributing sound recordings, then you could use a compulsory "mechanical license" which you can purchase online from HFA at "statutory rates". Alas, there is no equivalent for "sync license".


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Richard CrowleyRe: Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on Jan 19, 2010 at 10:40:15 pm

Note further that the exact answer to your question depends on what legal jurisdiction applies to your situation. My response (and presumably that of Mr. Stinton) was from the perspective of the USA, while Mr. Rossiter related an anecdote from the UK where the copyright law is somewhat different, but apparently business deal shenanigans are the same around the world. :-))


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Kevin RossiterRe: Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on Jan 19, 2010 at 9:53:56 am

Paul ... Andy and Richard are right.

Can I add a short story?

A producer colleague negotiated with EMI to use a semi-famous pop tune.

The EMI agent said it'd be around £2,000GBP, after asking who the client was and how much he guessed he could milk them for

The producer went back to the client who agreed to the £2k extra spend as they really liked the music.

Two months later when the editing is being done, the producer reverts back to EMI and asks for the final release forms.

The EMI agent says the price is now £4,000 GBP!

This was straight brinkmanship by the EMI agent, reckoning to milk extra budget from a client.

It was legal as the Agent had carefullyavoided finally closing the contract that had been verbally agreed 2 month's previous.

He'd obviously used this move before, increasing the price at the 11th hour.

In the event, the client turned him down and they switched to using a different tune - something acceptable from deWoolf in the royalty free market (as Andy and Richard suggest above).

But it was a big pain, and a source of exasperation / embarrassment.

It's so easy to get gulled when you don't have experience.

Which is why royalty free solutions are the best option.

btw deWoolf are pretty good (no relation, I just like their selections)

good luck = kevin





Rossiter & Co Video Multimedia Web for Business
http://www.rossiterandco.com


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Steve KownackiRe: Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on Jan 24, 2010 at 2:03:35 am

We licensed an Amy Grant song for a United Way project a few years back at an amazing price rather than the hundreds or thousands for a commercial rights. You can easily find the publishers of a song on BMI or ASCAPs website. Be honest in telling them what you want and go from there.

When a bank client wanted to use a Rolling Stones song, the licensing company (when they finished laughing) said that the client wasn't large enough and therefore not worthy of their song! Not for any amount of money. Oh well.


Steve



Jump to the FFP Website



View Steve Kownacki's profile on LinkedIn




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Jeremy KeslerRe: Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on Apr 29, 2010 at 3:57:10 pm

Hello all! I'm new to the Cow community and video somewhat. I am a multimedia designer for a large Health organization (28,000 employees). I create flash animations, web interfaces and video projects. Any music for my projects is always royalty free, but we have an issue at hand and I am unclear as to the solution.

With the prevalence of simple video editing software and the determination of my fellow employees, videos of the inspirational, educational and instructional types are cropping up on our internal network frequently. That's not a problem, but the accompanying copyrighted music is!

My question is, are we publicly displaying the videos if they are only viewable by our internal employees via our secured network and not via our public websites?

If so, then it will be up to me to inform the entire organization of the copyright laws and the consequences of their infringement. While at the same time coming up with viable royalty free audio library for such projects as mentioned above.

I've searched and searched and it's all getting confusing to me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much!
Jeremy Kesler


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Steve KownackiRe: Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on Apr 29, 2010 at 5:19:51 pm

Ron/Tim can Jeremy's question be re-posted as a fresh thread? I don't think enough people will see it as this thread is from January.

Hi Jeremy,
I compliment you on searching for answers first and then asking your question. Music or any footage rights can get confusing. I'm not an attorney, but as far as I'm aware that "synchronization license" is what you need - internal or not. It's a gamble whether an outsider finds out or not, but what a legal hassle it will be. I realize that the sound-alikes never have the same impact without the lyrics but it spells trouble. I suggest trying to do your private research on BMI & ASCAP for publishers before heading to Harry Fox Agency. You don't need people snooping on you for asking questions.

Steve



Jump to the FFP Website



View Steve Kownacki's profile on LinkedIn




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Jeremy KeslerRe: Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on May 11, 2010 at 3:20:25 pm

Thanks Steve. I have been directed to our legal department and they (get this) have a Law Student intern that they would like to have research this topic! So, I think that going forward, I should have a mountain of information that may or may not be helpful... But regardless, I appreciate your help and am grateful that I can rely on this site and experts such as yourself to assist me with helpful advice.
Thanks again.
Jeremy Kesler


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Andrew RentschlerRe: Copyrighted music in videos for a non-profit company
by on May 16, 2013 at 1:18:26 pm

here's a question that maybe one of you can answer:

if a non profit is using a song for an event by allowing an a capella group to sing it, do you still need a synchronization license? or is that only for playing the recorded version of the song?


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