Shooting Dance Competitions with Copyrighted Music????

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    • #43194

      Shooting Dance Competitions or Recitals, you sell the performances to the parents of the kids, but it has copyrighted material, how do you cover yourself, from the legal aspect? Under the Dance Company’s Umbrella of ASCAP license? What do you do? How do you word the contract, so if the record label comes after you, you say, no it is here in the contract that the responsibility goes to the Dance Company or the Parents? Any Suggestions?

      Thank you,


    • #181006

      As you’re only selling it to the parents, I don’t think you have to worry about it…. if you were mass producing it, or selling it to third parties it would be a different story.

      If you REALLY want to cover your ass, and put something in the contract, I would just say something along the lines of “the client claims all responsibility for any copyright infringement” (you’d want a para-legal or lawyer to look that over of course) But in my opinion, putting that in the contract may be a turn-off, and, probably unnecessary.

      For a longer, more specific answer, refer to the link posted in the similar thread:

      And of course, I am not qualified to give legal advice, and do not claim any responsibility for you getting sued =P

      Good luck with your endeavors

    • #181007

      Where this may come up as an issue is when the parents put the videos up on the ‘Tube (’cause ya’ know they will!) As is, you are filming the event as a ‘Work for Hire’ contractor and are not the primary producer on the project. That meaning, ‘you only are there to shoot the event, not set it up or choose the content within the event.’ Now the fact that you are ‘selling the product’ is the sticky point.

      I agree with TJ in that when you do your WHA (work for hire agreement) or other style contract, you have the disclaimer in plain English about you’re not being liable for copyrighted materials or content present at the event during the time of filming. That legal person TJ mentioned will be able to assist you in crafting the proper wording.

      And hey, if having that in the contract ‘scares them off’ so be it. You’ll lose a lot more time and money staring down the barrel of a potential copyright infringement suit (with minimum penalties of $50k and greater per incident = every DVD you sold would be 1 incident!)

    • #181008

      Thank you both for your good responses! What I am guessing, how I would set it up is, I would contact lets say the dance organization that is holding the Dance Competition that have let says 800 Participants, I would have to pay .40 cents a head, so I would have to pay the organization $320 to get the exclusive rights to shoot the Dance Competition. I would then have the organization put up signs and tell the audience to not videotape any of the Competition. So in a sense, My Target Audience would be the parents of the kids performing, so I would have a lot more close ups than if I was shooting for the Organization where I would be a little bit more broad with wide shots, some medium, and less close ups to get the routines. I would then charge the parents for each performance that their kids is in and the more performances they buy the cheaper the price will go down on each performance.

      I should have included this in the beginning, opps my bad. With what I just put, would that have changed both of your responses in some fashion?

      One more thing, don’t worry about me using you guys as legal counsel. If anybody tried to have a forum thread as evidence for any case in court, I bet the Judge would start laughing and say you are barking up the wrong tree. I will most definitely go see a lawyer on this, but for now I am trying to get an idea of what I am looking for in a contract, so I don’t waste the lawyer’s time and my time and money.

      Also, would you think I would be covered under the Dance Organization’s ASCAP License if i had it set up that way?

    • #181009

      As far as being covered under the Dance Organization’s license… I think your best bet would be to talk to them about it.

      But, I do think you have some interesting business opportunities here. I have a few ideas, let me know what you think.

      First of all, you might want to consider giving the organization a percentage instead of a fixed rate, so that they’re more inclined to promote the DVDs (if they’re worried you won’t sell enough, you could always insure at least $320)

      Secondly, if these performances are on a regular basis, and the kids are consistently in multiple performances. I would do a continuity program. After they buy the first DVD, ask if they’d like to join your membership where they would be mailed a copy of every performance automatically (preferably with some other bonuses as well) and they would be billed a monthly fee.

      This would also make it easier for you to build your list (which you should be doing regardless). And then you can hire another company to produce and mail out the DVDs very inexpensively. Then set up a merchant account with paypal or oneshoppingcart, and you don’t have to worry about collecting the monthly payments.

      At that point, all you’d have to do is shoot each performance, create one DVD, and collect monthly payments.

      And then, of course, you could start marketing to other similar groups, and pay videographers to shoot those performances…. ect…. that could be a pretty lucrative business IMO.

    • #181010
      Grinner Hester

      Don’t be sellin’ no protected elements to nobody no how.

      That be my advice. If ya do, do it with style and pimp the peg leg and parrot. This way when someone calls you a pirate you can just go Yaaaarrr!!!

    • #181011

      Hey Your Videographer! I’ve shared similar on other related forum posts, but…

      Here’s MY approach when producing dance competitions/recitals – mileage may vary and whatever works for anyone who agrees/differs.

      Studio management agrees to advance notice to participants/parents/guardians (if under legal age) with such notice including an order form, and a release form for each participating student.

      Studio confirms and presents to me an agreement reflecting not only performance rights, one-time playback rights, and recording rights (often in a clause that states “for educational purposes only” or some-such) and provides me with a copy for my files.

      If studio does NOT have/present such a release or permission form, then the order form, the model release form and production agreement all include a disclaimer regarding their use, and subsequent recording/sales of video containing copyright music and signatures releasing me from liability. SEE NOTE

      NOTE: realistically and legally this third category might not afford me defense in court, but then again…

      I am the least comfortable with the third approach and RARELY do I wind up participating in such a production, it is my prerogative based on knowledge/ignorance of the law. What is said about the production itself being relatively safe, but the VERY REAL danger/threat of footage I produced winding up somewhere on the Internet without my express permission making it UNSAFE is true. Thus more and more I am avoiding such events – there’s plenty of other legally safer “opportunities” out there.

      Robertson is a bit cavalier in his first response, but it could in some cases be sufficient. Just know that in all likelihood you ARE liable for producing, selling and delivering a copyright content production without having on file specific releases from the artists and music companies, or others, involved.

      HOW you shoot, close-ups or whatever (and in MY experience the dance studio people WANT to see “head-to-foot” for the predominance of the numbers) has nothing to do with the outcome of including copyright infringed content (music).

      ASCAP or whatever agreements between the studio/school RARELY offer one-time or anytime videotaping/sales/distribution of the performance without SOME kind of direct compensation to the copyright holder(s). In fact, most agreements I’ve come across for such performances expressly exclude videotaping of the performance for the purpose of commercial sales of any size distribution.

      Again, as I have said elsewhere, this doesn’t mean that people do not do some or all however they see fit. And it what I say isn’t intended to be an indictment against people who do or do not. I do think it is important that folks who “question” this realize that there are NO truly applicable loopholes that will likely stand up in the event you find yourself a defendant in court against a copyright infringement claim. There is NO true GRAY area. And “ignorance of the law” is not an applicable defense.

      Just be aware that if the knock comes to your door, you will need to be prepared for the worst when you answer it.

    • #181012

      I don’t have time to respond right now, but when I get the chance, I mostly definitely will. I really like the responses, Thank you for them!


    • #181013

      Well I made a Fantastic Contact this past weekend! I heard there was a Dance Competition in Town, so I ended up going wanting to find out what they did. Turns out this one Company does everything for the Dance Competition. I mean Everything. I wanted to talk to their Video Guy, but he already left to go back to New York, so I was kinda bummed, but I then got directed to go talk to the owner of this Company. I thinking Great this Guy is probably going to be guarded about his knowledge of what he has down to be successful with his company, but instead he turned out to be a nice guy and he gave me a wealth of knowledge. Plus he has contacts at ASCAP, Yeah!!!!!!!!!! So I just need to follow up with him and the video director, plus gets the contacts at ASCAP Info. He told me his license is only a couple of thousand Dollars, so I may have a winner here.

    • #181014

      That’s awesome man, congrats!

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