Music at public venue

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    • #46793

      If I’m making a video for a Public Community Center and they have a music license to play background music at their facility, do I have the right to put licensed popular music on the video I create for them?

      Just Curious,


    • #192667
      Damian Lloyd

      The short answer is “No.” You will need sync rights as well. See other threads in this forum for details, but no license to perform or play music at a location gives you the right to use that music in a video. It doesn’t matter if it’s only in the background; if the music is audible, you need a license.

    • #192668

      I believe if you have music playing in the background and it is not an integral part of the video (as in loud volume or making cuts to it – like when a wedding videographer tapes the bride’s various dances) then you are safe to have it as part of the background audio.

      I am not a lawyer but suggest you check with one if you need to be sure.

    • #192669
      Damian Lloyd

      BirdCat, you make a good point. Many documentarians and civil libertarians agree that “fair use” should cover music recorded incidentally while shooting on location. I myself would agree that this is the way it should be. Alas, the recording industry disagrees — and they have deep pockets, and there’s no way to know for sure how the axe will fall until your neck is already on the chopping block. If you want to take a stand you might win, but it’ll be you vs. RIAA’s sixteen law firms, and their strategy is often to wear you down until you have to settle.

      Lawyers can’t go wrong by advising their clients not to do something (in this case, not to use music without the appropriate license). Make sure that you ask a lawyer who specializes in entertainment law, as the issues are complicated.

    • #192670

      I agree with the above opinions that you can’t have the background music. I would ask the facility if they can either turn the volume down or off during your shoot. If you’re shooting a specific event in the community center where the background music is not meant for nor part of the event, I would try to set a directional mike(s) as close to the event as possible so that the event’s activities will mask or diminish the music. At that point, you might be able to make the case that the music was not part of the video and an effort was made to avoid it.

      I don’t think a person’s right to have an event video taped should be infringed because the facility happens to be playing canned music in the background and in particular, if the music isn’t even suitable for the video event.

      One last point, if the Community Center is paying you to shoot a video of the Community Center, their license may allow the use of the music if directly related to the Community Center. You need to have them check their license, if this is the case.

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