Filming Copyrighted Music / Editing Copyrighted music – How liable am I?

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums General Video and Film Discussion Filming Copyrighted Music / Editing Copyrighted music – How liable am I?

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    • #43158

      Here are 2 scenarios where, personally, I don’t think I am liable. But I want your opinion.

      Scenario 1:

      I am hired to FILM an event (such as a reception) where there is copyrighted music being played in the background. Here’s the catch, I will not be editing this. I am only filming then giving the tapes to the owner.

      Am I liable for anything?

      Scenario 2:

      I am given tapes to EDIT that have copyrighted music recorded in the background (such as at a reception). Am I liable since it is not my footage? I was only given and asked to edit. Basically, it was as if I was outsourced only for my editing skills.

    • #180863


      That would be No and No. Since you are not the producer (i.e. the initiating entity) of the project and are doing the work as a Work for Hire, you are not responsible for the content. Now that said, make sure that you have some written documentation in the WHA about you not being responsible for copyrighted material present in the project content. More so for the shooting than the editing but it wouldn’t kill you to be covered by both.

      Where the real ‘responsibility’ comes in is how the copyrighted material within the final product is distributed. If it’s being sold in any form without the expressed permission of the copyright holder or his/her legal representatives, that’s a no-no. Yeah, there are degrees of what might be gotten away with before someone takes notice and then action. But these days it’s just not worth the potential hassle.

      Even non-profit distribution efforts like on the ‘Tube or other social networking sites are drawing serious fire from the entities that own copyrighted content. So to keep your ‘end’ out of the line of fire, make sure you inform your client of your stance on this issue. If they wish to go ahead, then make sure you have your disclaimer in the written record. The odds of something going down used to be small, but they’re getting bigger every day so CYA!

    • #180864

      There is a good article about this issue in the January issue of Videomaker “What’s Leagal”

    • #180865

      I think it is all about how your contract is worded

    • #180866

      Cville, is this the article you are talking about?

    • #180867

      Yes that is the article.

    • #180868

      Honestly…. if it’s for a personal video (wedding or event video) that’s never going to be seen or investigated by any legal party, I wouldn’t worry about it…

      I typically only use royalty free music that I’ve purchased, but that’s because I do mostly video marketing for businesses….

      In your case, I think you’re going to be fine.

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