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Here we go again! Same old song and dance.

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Bob O'HearnHere we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 11, 2011 at 11:35:51 am

I have three corporate pieces due tomorrow that the client requested copyrighted contemporary music for the sound tracks. I counseled them on the risk and then they downloaded karaoke versions and told me they will be a "stickler" on this issue because they have never had a problem before. Besides "it's for internal use only". They said they paid $.99 cents a piece and should have the right to use the dozen or so tracks as they wish.(Groan)On top of the fact that the tracks are particularly dreadful and have no melody line. They are very cautious is some areas though. They are having the pre-scored versions checked by in house legal and even contracted outside counsel to scrutinize the content. I read in earlier posts I should ask legal to cover any and all damages should these pieces hit Youtube or Vimeo but I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I can't do it and won't. I fear a huge confrontation and a drastic change in our relationship. I would appreciate any valid talking points to buttress my argument when the stuff hits the fan.

Thanks in advance.

Bob


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Noah KadnerRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 11, 2011 at 6:20:45 pm

I'm sure some folks here will say just walk- but that's not facing the reality of our economy in 2011. So I'd get your client to sign a hold harmless notice for the use of unlicensed music instead. That way they acknowledge they have no license and assume all responsibility for any claims that may arise. The Karaoke defense would get them laughed right out of court but it's obvious they're just being boneheaded about that issue.

If you stand your ground and insist in not using copyrighted music they'll just fire you and move onto someone else. And let's be honest, neither the US copyright office nor the RIAA give a hoot about your putting food on the table. So, if your client wants to go into this with blinders on just make sure they're aware that any actions that come about from a legal POV are their responsibility. Wedding and event videographers must face this situation every day and sadly there's not much to you can do to convince a client who hasn't been sued already for breaking copyright law.

Bottom line- cover your backside. Here's a snippet of something you could try to adapt into a simple document to have them sign:

http://www.whichdraft.com/clause_bank/indemnification_services_and_delivera...

Noah

40% discount for Creative Cow users with code ccow2011 at Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and GoPro HD Hero.


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grinner hesterRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 11, 2011 at 6:27:42 pm

Just don't pirate stuff, man. It's literally that easy. Offer affordable solutions or coach them how to purchase legal rights to a song that is not required for the piece.



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Mark SuszkoRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 11, 2011 at 7:43:54 pm

'http://i1.creativecow.net/u/19970/320x240.jpg'>

This is your Kobayashi Maru test.



On the legal advice from non-lawyers side, I can tell you that a "hold-harmless" memo isn't worth diddly unless it was written by the rights holders to the music in question. Not the client. Your clients are dead wrong and ignorant of the actual law in this situation. What they WISH the interpretation of the law to be does not matter.

The client is asking you to break the law, in exchange for getting paid. They know it. We know it. You know it. Not only do you know it, you've just left a permanent internet trail that says you fully well knew this in advance of your decision. Google yourself and see this thread pop up, where any paralegal assistant can pull it up for discovery.

So your id just made the decision for you, that if you go ahead, you've put the evidence out there that you have no excuse of ignorance but that you went ahead out of fear of losing the gig. Do you think a judge will let that slide?

Now, what will happen if you go ahead this time? Quite likely nothing.

... But possibly everything.

Nobody, least of all your client, can promise you this won't go south at some later point. Once the product is out of your hands, you have no way to know where it will end up, regardless of the things they tell you now. Someone down the road with an axe to grind against the company may anonymously turn this thing in out of spite. Happens all the time with companies using pirated software.

And if you DO "get away with it"? What has it taught your client? That they own you, and can keep getting you to break the law any time they want. But they won't even have to do that next time. They can just dictate their payment terms because they know you'll fold.








Don't kid yourself that this will be a one-time deal, if you go ahead and cave in.

I'm also not a psychologist, but I'd call this a pretty big Freudian give-away that your sub-conscious moral compass already has decided this for you, now you just have to talk the rest of yourself into it.
Throw this back at their legal department; get their lawyer on speaker-phone to tell you they approve using copywritten material without permission. If the lawyer is any kind of professional, he will take it from there and talk the client out of this idea.


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Steve BrameRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 11, 2011 at 9:27:34 pm

Try this...

Drive on the highway with a passenger. The passenger tells you to drive well above the speed limit. Get the passenger to sign a 'hold-harmless' agreement. When the trooper stops you, present the agreement and advise him that the passenger is legally responsible for any illegalities.

See how far that gets you.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Noah KadnerRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 12, 2011 at 2:03:47 am

Yeah make sure at least the lawyers understand what's up. Maybe they haven't heard the truth yet.

Noah

40% discount for Creative Cow users with code ccow2011 at Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and GoPro HD Hero.


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Craig SeemanRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 12, 2011 at 5:16:00 am

I was working at a facility as an editor and another editor asked to use copyrighted music for an "internal" video. They notified our employer. Since they were the boss and not the client, they, not the editor, were taking the legal responsibility.

A few days after the video was shown internally, one of the employees present was laid off. He had a copy of the video. He presented it to a lawyer. Both the client and the facility lost and had to pay a fair amount of money.

You may be legally responsible. Although I am not a lawyer, you should consider asking your client for statement that they have obtained the rights. If they lie to you than it may well be their problem. Basically you should have no knowledge that you are working with music in which rights were not obtained.

If you are asked to drive a getaway car where does that put you? If you are asked to drive a friend to the bank where does that put you? If you are asked to drive a getaway car but the bank robbers say you will be held harmless, where does that put you?



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Mark SuszkoRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 12, 2011 at 9:47:25 pm

So, Bob.... how did it go?


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Bob O'HearnRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 1:11:33 am

Man,it went nuts!I went to legal and it's amazing how little everyone from the Chief Legal counsel on down knows about these types of issues.
They finally sent it to out side counsel. ($$$$$) and came back with a "your are 100% right" and thanked me. Now there's a few folks not very happy with me but I can stand the rain. BTW at this company it's "Ethics and Compliance month. Go figure. Thanks to all for your help and support.
I am working on Sonic Fire Pro as we speak.

Thanks again.

Bob



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Noah KadnerRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 1:24:41 am

[Bob O'Hearn] "BTW at this company it's "Ethics and Compliance month. "

LOL!

Noah

40% discount for Creative Cow users with code ccow2011 at Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and GoPro HD Hero.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 1:54:45 pm

I can relate. I used to get an email at work every year, ordering me to take an annual ethics test and training, signed by... Rod Blagojevich.


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Brent DunnRe: Here we go again! Same old song and dance.
by on Sep 16, 2011 at 4:11:58 pm

Digital Juice has a large library of music that's copyright free. Worth every penny.

Next time, let them know that this is putting undo risk to their company and your business. Give them some alternative samples of music that they can use.

Once you have developed a business relationship and their happy with your work, you can let them know how to do it the right way.

It's always a slippery slope. Good luck.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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