What’s Legal

We receive many questions on legal issues, especially in the complex world of video and audio copyright. Below are just a couple that we field. Legal copyright is complicated, which is why we created our What’s Legal column. Watch for more stories like the one on page 72 on Fair Use and Public Domain from Attorney Mark Levy.

When Does Public Domain Begin?

In the January 2008 issue of Videomaker, [Musical Copyright, page 72], Mark Levy says, “…no work created before 1922…can be under copyright.” Is this date permanently set or does it roll (i.e., will it be 1923 next year and 1924 the next)?

Roger Gross, Prof. of Drama

University of Arkansas

To paraphrase Mark: It’s a complicated issue, Roger. The short answer is: anything created before 1923 is in the public domain. For works created after 1923, you need to know when the work was created, whether it was a work made for hire, whether it was registered with a proper copyright notice, etc.


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So, does the year change? Will it be 1924 next year? Not until 2018, at which point every year beyond 2018 will reflect works going into the public domain from 1923, year for year. So, in 2020, all works published before 1925 will be in the public domain. “See,” Mark says, “I told you it was complicated.” Please check with your legal expert for advice on this complex and rather touchy issue.

-the Editors

More of That Sticky Legal Stuff

This is a question for Mark Levy. I am a video arts teacher at a high school. Can students use more than 30 seconds of a song without permission if we are watching the video in class and critiquing the video as a whole?

Jeanine Kleman

Absolutely YES, Jeanine! This is educational use, clearly within the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. 107).

-Mark Levy

Videomaker Lounge a Great Asset

Matthew, I just want to say that I always look forward to seeing your magazine hit my doorstep. Great price, always full of articles that I know will be informative.

As a Process Engineer, I used digital pictures to create work instructions, etc., used a video camera to make it easier to capture the work, used captured frames from that to import into the Work Instructions. I have progressed (??) to a Sony Disc camcorder versus the DV tape. If I have a chance to share my disappointment with that whole experience, I will. So I will look towards your Videomaker Community site (Videomaker Lounge).

By the way, I see an ad for the Matrox RT.X2. Can you do an article on how to use the Matrox card? I now have a card that allows me to do 2 video outputs …but the 3 outputs looks intriguing. So is one of them a monitor to see your finished output or ??

Paul Federline, Process Engineer, 3M

Greenville, SC

The Videomaker Lounge is our new networking site. You can interact with other video producers and share experiences on techniques, gear and videos. Please join us at the Lounge at http://videomaker.com/community.

As to your question about the Matrox card, Paul, a third monitor is often used for a full-screen output monitor, yes. A search in our forums brought up several mentions of this card; we suggest you look there for help. Our review on DV Gear’s workstation in the January 2008 issue included a Matrox RT.X2 [http://www.videomaker.com/article/13803]. Finally, watch for an upcoming buyer’s guide and user tips on video cards.

-The Editors

Light It Safely!

Dr. Nulph did an excellent job of covering some lighting basics for beginners. (November 2007 Illuminations column, Lighting Safety, page 58). I would like to add a couple of more points.
Add a small fire extinguisher to every lighting kit. Should a small fire occur, the crew should not have to fumble around for something to put it out with! Small, ABC fire extinguishers are available inexpensively from warehouse discount stores.

Newbies are notorious for not calculating the electrical demands of powerful lights. To determine amps, I recommend simply dividing the lighting wattage by 100. (Technically, you’d divide by the actual voltage, i.e. 120, but that requires a calculator). Most residential circuits are 15 to 20 amps total and may span multiple rooms.
Consider low-wattage fluorescent lighting. Several companies now offer photo-balanced spiral lamps that offer daylight-balanced fill light. These put out the equivalent of 400 to 800 watts of light, yet draw only 75 to 150 actual watts of current (not much more than a reading lamp). They do not put out any significant heat, so they are safer to use and more comfortable for talent.

Daylight balance makes a lot of sense, when you consider that most commercial offices are lit by overhead fluorescent in conjunction with sunlight from windows and that most residential locations feature a lot of sunlight from windows as well.

Fred Ginsburg, C.A.S., Ph.D., MBKS

Mission Hills, CA

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.