You have just filmed the perfect wedding/birthday/bris/special event and you have a fantastic piece of current music that you know is going to compliment your superb editing and "in your face" transitions. In fact it is so good you have obtained permission from the client and you are going to stream part of it on your website to showcase your incredible talents to prospective clients. So are you copyright compliant or a silly bunny about to inadvertently pilfer another's hard work, sweat and tears, by not affording them the correct royalties or recognition?
If you are the bunny variety, you are not doing yourself, the artist or other videographers any favours. You may not be a hardened criminal with a special place reserved in hell, but you will be stuck in the elevator heading down there listening to the best of Kenny G.
Lets explore a couple of commonly held myths.
I have purchased a music CD from a valid source, I can do what I want with the music as I paid for it.
No my little 'Oryctolagus cuniculus' (aka bunny) you can not. It is not owned by you, but by those that created it. You have merely purchased the medium by which you can listen to the aforesaid music.
I have recorded a public event and commercial music was played during that event which I have captured on film. I can do whatever I choose with my recording because it was an event in the public arena.
No, sorry. It is still copyright music and not for you to use without the appropriate permission.
I have done the right thing and purchased copyright music. As I have paid a small fortune for it, I can now do what I like with it.
You are getting warmer, but it is royalty free music not copyright, it is still the property of the artists that wrote it. You can only use it in the manner prescribed by them. Read their terms and conditions.
Lets start with some basics. Do you have a license? 'A license?' you say incredulously. Within Australia prosumer/professional videographers who create domestic videos are required to purchase a limited music license from APRA/AMCOS either on a job by job basis or annually. Individual events are around $50.00 with the yearly fee currently standing at $418.00 (2008). The license is called a Domestic Use Video License and it allows for the use of commercial music. The terms, conditions and application form can be located at APRA.
The following restrictions apply:
Music may not be reproduced onto a production that is to be commercially marketed in any way, such as a corporate video, training film or videos made for sale to the general public.
The video may not contain any promotional or advertising material.
The video may not be screened to the general public or be used as a promotional tool.
The video is produced to be viewed in a private domestic setting only and distribution is limited to individuals that appear in the production.
Careful if your client wants to send their video overseas to friends and family.
The licensee may not make any more than 20 copies of any one domestic use video.
'Ok', I hear you say,'I'll get a license for my video productions but I want to put my video on the web. How do I ensure copyright compliance?' Well, you can purchase royalty free music from a number of sources online. Generally a thirty second to three minute track will cost around $40.00 and once again you don't own it, you are only buying permission to use it in the public arena. An internet search will identify many companies that can provide music to suit any taste and video theme. You can purchase by individual track or compilation CD, which generally will be the cheaper method.
Alternatively you can do a bit of internet research and locate new aspiring artists who are willing to trade music for exposure. This can be an inexpensive and mutually beneficial method of securing royalty and cost free music.
'But', you say imploringly, 'I want to use current Top 40 music.' Well you can't! Unless, you approach Britney in rehab, or Amy in rehab, or Keith..you get the picture and they say 'Sure, please use my fantastic piece of music to compliment your Bris video, hmm nice transitions.' Then you are copyright compliant, although I don't like your chances.
Think about it in reverse, how would you feel if someone copied your amazing video and sold it on istock? One of the problems faced by professional videographers is that we can not be certain where our films will end up or how they will be used. But by purchasing the correct license, by adhering to copyright restrictions and informing our clients accordingly at least we afford music artists their dues and hopefully dodge an eternity of Kenny G and other hellishly related musak.
Amanda Nella is a professional videographer who operates her own special event video business in Perth WA. She provides quality documentary style films for parents about their children. She is trained in the field of investigative interviewing. She holds Diplomas in Investigations, SCAn,Stage Production, Computer Programming & Business. Visit her site at Bump2babyFilms