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Music Rights and internal communication

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Austin Bowie
Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 11, 2005 at 6:19:25 pm

Working with client in design industry that wants to create inspirational DVD to hand out to employees at new year. They have provided a list of music they would like to see used.

Two sets of 300 (different product for different groups) will be distributed. Again strictly internally, not for marketing, sales, pitches etc


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Greg
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
by
on Nov 11, 2005 at 9:11:17 pm

Copyright is copyright...if you do not have the rights to music you legally can't use it. Not to mention that you're handing out these DVd's to 300 people. I'm no lawyer, but it really doesn't matter the end use with a corporation. Some folks justify using copyrighted music in various ways. "It's only internal"..."Not for sale", "Nobody will find out"

Ask the design company if you can send out their best designs to the general public for them to use any way they want. How would they feel? I wouldn't risk my business over this.

Greg


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Austin Bowie
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 11, 2005 at 10:36:36 pm

That was my sentiment. Much money is being dangled so I figured I would go for a second opinion.


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debe
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
by
on Nov 12, 2005 at 10:12:45 pm

All it takes is one of employee who receives this DVD to be married to a lawyer, and it's all over!

Not worth the risk!

debe


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ian karr
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 13, 2005 at 4:16:20 am

Austin,

I wholeheartedly agree with everyone else...

BUT...

There is another way to keep the job and lower your risk...have the client sign a document stating that THEY have secured the rights for the music they want to use. Your lawyer can probably draft up something quick...

If they're telling you it's no big deal to use this copyrighted material, etc..., then they should have no problem signing the release and taking responsibility ;)!

Good luck!

Ian



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Frank Otto
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 14, 2005 at 4:46:45 pm

If a client signs a document that claims to have licensed the material, it is up to you to do the due dilligence and verify the veracity of the document. If you accept, "bald-faced" the document and it turns out to be false, then you get to be a party in the action. Worst case for you if it turns out to be false is a hefty fine...the minimum will be a trip to court and some days of scrambling over paperwork...still more hassle than it's worth.

Let me repeat this...again...

There is no such thing as a release of liability or a liability waiver...PERIOD! You can lessen your liability in the above scenario, but only if you do your homework and verify the legitamacy of a document of that type.

You don't want a document...you want a reciept showing a billing or payment for the use from the rightsholders or a clearinghouse.



Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Bob Cole
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 15, 2005 at 3:08:20 am

[Frank Otto] "If a client signs a document that claims to have licensed the material, it is up to you to do the due dilligence and verify the veracity of the document. If you accept, "bald-faced" the document and it turns out to be false, then you get to be a party in the action."

I think you are absolutely right; but taken to extremes, this policy can be too careful.

If you think the client is wink-wink-nod-nod signing a document he/she knows to be false, then I'm with you 100%. If a client brings me material and his/her claim of ownership does not seem to be dubious, I don't ask for documentation. For example, for clients who bring in factory-labelled buy-out music libraries or image CDs, I'm not going to demand documentation.

But if a hypothetical client were to claim that his copy of the latest Rolling Stone CD is licensed for his/her use.... maybe my editing system would suffer an inexplicable sudden total breakdown, and "you might want to try another shop." Fortunately I don't have clients like that. But if they were that unethical, you wouldn't want to have them as clients anyway.

Wedding videographers do this all the time, right?

More to the point for documentaries, what about incidental music playing on a jukebox or radio, in the background of an interview?

-- BC


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Frank Otto
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 15, 2005 at 5:01:51 pm

Rights clearances are the reason so many docs are not being finished. A recent article in "Independent Film" has a rather long disertation on the burgeoning problem of securing rights. The truly independent documentarian can't afford the staff to clear music, art, copyrighted architecture, logos and all the rest of the intellectual property that seems to end up in every shot that wasn't shot in the Gobi Desert or the moon ( although NASA may have the rights to use of lunar lander images...)

It used to be that incidental, or natural sound that included music was deemed to be fair use. Or the old idea that if it's in a public setting, it's fair game.

Not anymore. Bulidings, such as Grauman's/Mann's/whoever Chinese Theater, The Flat Iron Building, The Gugginheim are copyrighed and trademarked. Virtualy every U.S. corporation has restrictions on use of it's logos. And if music is heard that is in the least bit recognizable someone will have their hand out.

For me, it's not the idea of user-pay...I'm willing to pay a creator a fair price for use. It's the issue that there is no established fee structure - it's based on whim, favor and greed.

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Bob Cole
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 16, 2005 at 3:21:41 am

[Frank Otto] "Bulidings, such as Grauman's/Mann's/whoever Chinese Theater, The Flat Iron Building, The Gugginheim are copyrighed and trademarked."

otoh, check this out:

http://www.swlearning.com/blaw/cases/rock_and.html

It is all very confusing. I agree with your sentiments entirely. The use of copyright and trademark law is oppressive.

My personal example: for a documentary I wanted to illustrate the concept that American culture has world-wide impact. Some corporations were happy to help, and sent me images of their products being used by ordinary people around the world. But one corporation sent me a letter threatening legal action if I used a shot of a man in China wearing a sweatshirt with their cartoon figure on it. It worked; I didn't use the shot. Who needs trouble? But I sure won't be going to their amusement parks anytime soon....

I've suggested this before for the COW, but I would still love to see a forum on law as it relates to filmmaking. We need a place to pool our knowledge. Is there such a forum anywhere?

-- BC




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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 16, 2005 at 12:35:05 pm

[Bob Cole] "I've suggested this before for the COW, but I would still love to see a forum on law as it relates to filmmaking. We need a place to pool our knowledge. Is there such a forum anywhere?"


We'd love a forum like this, Bob. But our wanting it and you suggesting it, isn't going to make it happen. As of today, no lawyer has ever offered to participate in the Cow. Without an attorney present -- and one that knows their stuff when it comes to the law as it pertains to media -- there seems little point to adding a forum and calling it "Legal"...

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom


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Bob Cole
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 16, 2005 at 8:10:05 pm

I respect your decision, but I'm not sure whether having a lawyer's participation is realistic. They like to get PAID. And one of the best pages I've found on model releases is on a photographer's website (http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html). Realistic pragmatic advice.

The law changes so fast, and is so full of fine distinctions, that even an attorney's presence on a forum wouldn't guarantee correct answers. You can never PREVENT someone from suing you; you can only act so as to limit the potential problem should someone decide to do so.

I was really not so much beating a dead horse vis a vis the COW as I was soliciting input about other websites that might offer a forum about legal matters and the media business.


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Bob Cole
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 16, 2005 at 3:23:27 am

[Frank Otto] "A recent article in "Independent Film""


Frank, is this a magazine? Are you referring to I-F- Quarterly?


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Frank Otto
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 16, 2005 at 5:01:35 pm

Bob, it's a magazine...unknown if it's quarterly or not. Let me find the issue at home and I'll post that info.



Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Timothy Allen
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 19, 2005 at 2:15:13 am

To all,
NASA imagery is free and clear for you to use, but there are a few stipulations.
You can find the guidelines at http://www.sti.nasa.gov/new/vidguide.html

Timothy J. Allen,
Video Production Team Lead,
NASA Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas, U.S.A.


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Bob Vick
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 16, 2005 at 3:18:30 pm

[Bob Cole] "More to the point for documentaries, what about incidental music playing on a jukebox or radio, in the background of an interview? "

I recall directing live sporting events where the National Anthem is played. I always had to structure my break to cover most of the playing. Since we did not have rights to broadcast the theme, we could only show a small portion of it. Usually I came back from commercial with the last 15 sec left of the song.

bob


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Frank Otto
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 16, 2005 at 5:14:12 pm

When I was doing a lot of ESPN work we always had an issue with the bands at half-time and the rally bands for basketball. ABC got sued over using "Rock The Casbah" as a live bump out on a Kentucky game so as of 1992 we could only (for ESPN) use the band if they played the "Sportscenter Theme" or the school music.

It wasn't a problem for incidental, just if the band was featured or recorded and played out later.

(that was also the year ESPN created the "no shots of women without a head" rule)

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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Bob Cole
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 16, 2005 at 7:55:49 pm

[Frank Otto] "It wasn't a problem for incidental, just if the band was featured or recorded and played out later."

I want to make sure I understand this: If the band was playing in the background, and you were doing an on-court interview or showing the players huddling on the sidelines, it was okay, even if you could clearly hear the band? But it was not okay, if you cut to a live shot of the band playing the latest top 40 hit?


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Frank Otto
Re: Music Rights and internal communication
on Nov 17, 2005 at 4:33:57 pm

That was the opinion of legal. The infringment case was based on the decision of the producer to "feature" the band and, as such, the producer has the obligation to verify if the work being performed was licenced (note - Kentucky was also named by CBS Records as a party - later removed from the suit as the school had "bought" the arraingment).

The court ruled that the producer of a live event has no control over background sounds duing announcer segments or game play. However the control was excercised when the producer, specifically asked the camera operator to cue the band, then featured the band playing the song in question. Additionally, the producer saw fit to record the segment, use it as a bump out at a later time (i.e. not live) and then use it again as bg for a promo days later.

1990, 91 and 92 brought on a lot of litigation against the producers of sports televison - the nets all believed they had paid royalties under the "ASCAP-BMI blanket" for broadcasting. That blanket was determined to only apply to non syncronized playback of music as programming (i.e radio or background to non-syncronized text or images). It did not cover the use of licenced material as sync'd background, thematic or scored incidental for programming or re-recording.

Cheers,

Frank Otto



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