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Music copyright and show copyright Q's

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Andy Morin
Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:15:12 pm

This is a 2 part question that i was hoping to get a little bit of advice about.

1. I'm starting a local web show and was wondering what I had to do to make a copyright of the show. Is having it made with a title simply enough?

2. Secondly, does anyone have any insight on the use of copyrighted music? Can i usei tracks for a certain length of time without crossing any boundaries?


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Shane Ross
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 23, 2011 at 12:42:05 am

Dunno about #1, but I can take on #2.

You need to license music. You cannot use ANY music for ANY length of time unless you paid for it. Either from composers, or music libraries, or license popular music (which will cost more than your annual salary). This means that if you want to use any Lady Gaga music, you must pay the music company $50,000...even if you use 10 seconds....and they must first give the OK that you can do that. Doesn't matter if this is a web show or not. YouTube videos of kids singing to popular songs are yanked down daily.

Places like Extreme Music and MegaTraxx will require you to pay for songs, and on a sliding scale, depending on where the show airs, and how. And there are sites where you can buy music and use them anywhere you like, but those songs more often than not....suck.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 23, 2011 at 9:00:23 am

In law you automatically have copyright in your work, but you should use the (c) symbol and put your conditions somewhere (otherwise it would be hard to take legal action to defend it). Creative Commons offers an alternative path to the strictly legal position, which may or may not be appropriate for you.

Music has to be licensed for each territory that you make it available in - check out the BMI website for information http://www.bmi.com/licensing/website/

[I don't know your location - the BMI is the main US organisation. It would be the PRS in the UK, SACEM in France, GEMA in Germany, etc.]


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Tom Sefton
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 23, 2011 at 10:35:23 am

Instead of using copyright music, why not give some exposure to some local muscic artists? They might appreciate having their songs on your webcast with some credit....obviously not some terrible garage band....


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 23, 2011 at 7:07:21 pm

[Andy Morin] "1. I'm starting a local web show and was wondering what I had to do to make a copyright of the show. Is having it made with a title simply enough?"

Yes and no.
Yes, because the minute you put it down in a tangible form it's covered.
No, because if you want to bring an action against someone for violating your copyright, it has to be registered.

http://www.copyright.gov/



[Andy Morin] "2. Secondly, does anyone have any insight on the use of copyrighted music? Can i usei tracks for a certain length of time without crossing any boundaries?"

No, they have a copyright too. You have to pay, to play. And if you get a local artist to do music for you, it would have to be 100% original. Any covers done by a local band would be under the copyright of the songs composer, and that is where most of the money in music licensing is spent. Relationships with local artists can be troublesome do to the nature of 'who owns the rights'. Anything you set up with a local artist should have a contract in place with everyone involved with composing, performance, use and rights explicitly laid out.

If your on a budget, you can use Garage Band loops or Soundtrack Pro cuts without further payment. Those are royalty free once you own the software. If you spend some time with them, this can be OK depending on the genre of the music, and how much talent you have. There is also Tune Presto on the web.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Andy Morin
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 25, 2011 at 3:21:11 pm

Thanks for the advice everybody. My original intent was to use local artists and the communication started to become a little fuzzy with the guy i was going to work with. I would only resort to online samples in case of an emergency. Thanks again for the advice with both Q's!


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 26, 2011 at 4:29:57 pm

Andy -

Be very careful working with local artists. They sometimes get stars in their eyes and the gleam of your money in their head. We once licensed (in writing) a local acoustic guitarist to use his music cut for the open of a show on local cable.

Within weeks of the music bed being used, and signed off on by the guitarist, he instituted a frivolous 100 thousand dollar lawsuit against us, which cost us thousand of dollars to have thrown out of court.

Your best bet is licensed music. I regularly use Stock20 (20 bucks a cut - quite a bit of good music) and Pond5 (price varies, but mostly under 50 to 100 bucks) which has a wide array of music.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 25, 2011 at 3:23:16 pm

" if you want to bring an action against someone for violating your copyright, it has to be registered."

I don't know if that's true, it certainly makes it easier to prove your claim thought.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 26, 2011 at 7:08:25 pm

[Scott Carnegie] "I don't know if that's true, it certainly makes it easier to prove your claim thought."

That info is straight from the US copyright registration office.
I would assume a lawsuit brought into court without having an accompanying documentation from the copyright office would get dismissed in pretty short order for lack of standing. It's a gray area for sure, but it would probably take a high power entertainment industry lawyer to get past the lack of registration with the copyright office.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 25, 2011 at 3:21:02 pm

1. Copyright is instant upon the creation of the show, you don't have to do anything else.

2. That idea of using just short clips of copyrighted music is a folk tale, if it's for commercial use like the intro of your show you are violating copyright. Save yourself the trouble and get royalty free stuff.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Todd Terry
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 25, 2011 at 4:15:31 pm

Another thing to remember when you are planning your project, is that music rights for web usage are among the most expensive of the various usage types, in many if not most cases.

We produce television commercials and secure music rights for them all the time. Very often, after the fact, a client will say something like "Oh, and gimme a little web file that we can embed on our site." They are often surprised to find out that to do that we need to secure additional and completely different music rights for the web. And they are even more surprised to learn that those web rights are often more expensive (sometimes three or four times as much) than the broadcast rights.

We'll hear "You mean it's actually cheaper for the rights to put it on a real TV commercial than it is for just our own little local website?" Which is a valid argument, until you consider that any television usage (even a national commercial) has its audience restricted in some way... whereas there is no such thing as a "local" website, put it on the net and it can go anywhere and everywhere.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Scott Sheriff
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 26, 2011 at 7:14:35 pm

[Scott Carnegie] "1. Copyright is instant upon the creation of the show, you don't have to do anything else."

FYI, here is the actual text from the copyright office web FAQ:

When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?

No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”

Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.

I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.


Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: Music copyright and show copyright Q's
on Jul 26, 2011 at 10:06:13 pm

Hi there,

I'll speak to copyright as well as other intellectual property issues most productions ignore until its too late.

1) copyright your scripts. If you have written all of the scripts (the sole writing credit is you), then you can bundle them all together and copyright all at once. Do this BEFORE you start shooting. It costs $35 for each thing you want copyrighted so you can save a bit by having a collection of show scripts. If you need, you can also register each episode script with WGA - this is not completely necessary.

2) Get copyrights for each and every episode.

3) Further protection of intellectual property - everyone working on the project (cast and crew) should sign a release stating that they have no ownership of the property known as "name of show" and establish the show as a property. Ideally, you should have a company set up (like an LLC) so you are not at financial risk for liability in the event someone is hurt on set or, if the company runs into financial issues, they don't effect your personal finances. Keep the money separate - never mix personal and business funds.

4) while it won't necessarily protect you, you should also have everyone sign a waiver of damages and liability and have a clause that requires binding arbitration (versus taking on a lawsuit). There are probably more things that should be on this list - talk to an entertainment attorney for details. It's not as expensive as you think.

5) Add some legitimacy to your production company and get a registered trademark, too. Trademarks, patents, copyrights, and trade secrets are all protected intellectual property under federal law. Trademarks are difficult so make sure you get a graphic designer who knows how to create a trademark-able logo.

6) every person who is or even MAY appear on screen should have a talent release signed. Ditto also for every single business should have a property release signed. Ditto also for every voice, image, artwork, face, etc. In other words, if it appears in your show, you should have a release for it - have a release or cut it out!

Music:
1) License. Easy way. It will cost you a lot to use anything top anything within the last year or 2 (many times even longer). Most movies get full rights to songs so they can republish them in a movie album and have the rights to use it in the movie. This saves trouble in the long run when that movie goes to pay cable, DVD/BluRay, theaters, broadcast, international, etc. Imagine having to re-negotiate music rights every time you wanted to license your property to another entity - it would literally blow your entire profit margin - do it once very early on. Remember that everything is negotiable - don't take the first number as gospel. You'd be surprised how willing some places are to deal - just ask. Worst they can say is "no."

2) be wary of discount music libraries. There are tons of places online to get music in all forms, but not all are built the same. For one, you should have rights to pretty much do whatever you want with the final version. If there are international restrictions or restrictions on re-distributing the material, make damn sure you can put it in your project. Remember, most TV shows make their money NOT from the first run on TV, but in DVD sales and syndication. You need to have the rights to the music so you can redistribute in multiple formats, around the world and many windows.

3) consider writing your own music - if you have a copy of garageband (don't know the equivalent on Windows), you can write a catchy ditty for your show. Even if you have no lyrics, write some for the show (you get more in royalties if the song has lyrics - example is the lyrics to the original Star Trek theme (the music was written by Alexander Courage, but Roddenberry wrote lyrics that were never used so he could claim 50% of the royalties).

4) Not comfortable doing it yourself? Pay a local musician to do it. Remember to have them sign a release granting you exclusive rights to the music in perpetuity. You don't want to have to renegotiate this later.

Now, I know you have a show and you just want to focus on the show without fiddling with all of this stuff. I guarantee you, if you plan for the show's success now, you will be a far happier camper. It's much more

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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