Videography for Plays and Live Performance

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    • #37380
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      This is directed towards any of you that deal with schools, specifically the taping of plays. Have you ever had a school tell you that their plays can not be taped due to copyright issues? There is a private school in my area that claims that their plays can not be taped for this reason and it is the first time I have come across it. I understand about copyright in regards to using music in your video but if they feel they have permission to act it out publicly, is taping it crossing some line that the acting isn’t? And I didn’t get the impression that this was an acting release issue. It had to do with the people that owned the rights to the play. The Wizard of Oz and Macbethare a fewin the line up. Thanks for any of your input.Cole

  • #165679
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    That’s absolutely the truth.

    I don’t like that restriction either, but that’s the law.

    Another offshoot of that is – you can have the rights to perform music, but not

    record or video the musical production – that costs lots more.

    It’s a real pain.

  • #165680
    AvatarD0n
    Participant

    I don’t think the school is being honest. Or perhaps they don’t understand. Also probable they don’t want to get into debates with parents over who’s kids can be video taped.

    Long story short, under FAIR USE clauses in copyright law, parents should be free to tape/record these performances for personal use.

    Nobody should be taping these performances for commercial use/profit/politics/distribution, or any other use (a kids play is hardly NEWS worthy so editorial use wouldn’t apply).

  • #165681
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks for the replies guys. I guess I was a bit naive about copyright in this form much the way I was about music usage for video at first. Since posting I found some sites that spelled it out pertaining to plays.So when I go to a play or a dance recital (nutcracker etc) is it more common to find that the director of the play and the videographer went through the proper channels, or do they assume it is ok and just do the show and tape it?

    Don-

    “Nobody should be taping these performances for commercial use/profit/politics/distribution, or any other use (a kids play is hardly NEWS worthy so editorial use wouldn’t apply). “

    Do you feel this includes a parent or studio hiring someone to shoot the performance for parents to purchase?

  • #165682
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    I was hired last year to video tape a dance recital. The dance school paid license fees to ASCAP and BMI to use the pop music. Fortunately, the licenses allowed reproducing the performance.

    But the reason the school wanted me to film and sell DVDs of the performance was that they did not want a dozen or more parents getting into the asiles or standing up to film their kids performance which is distracting to other parents.

    Regarding schools plays, schools can pay up to $10,000 to perform a well known play and I’m sure it comes with restrictions prohibiting or restricting filming the performance.

    The entertainment industry believes that if they allow exceptions to their copyrights, then it will be used to diminish their rights somewhere down the road.

    Fair use is still a vague concept. Read up on the recent articles in Video Maker on the topic.

  • #165683
    AvatarAspyrider
    Participant

    The play itself is copy written. Even if it’s McBeth. The company that makes and prints the script they use to perform the play is a copy written item and the company can restrict it. So yes, they are telling the truth.

    Usually the company has a license to perform the play and probably has restrictions to it being videotaped. You can ask to see a script and copy down the address to the company then contact them for a license to shoot the play, The school could also ask. In some cases they will allow a school to tape the play if the school is using the video as a fund raiser or in some way to promote the school.

    So yes, get permission.

  • #165684
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    LDPLDP and Aspyrider,

    Thank you for the replys. I will make sure to investigate the details when I get asked to soot my next one.

    Do you usually let the school absorb the cot of the rights or do you make the arrangements? If you have had to secure the rights to shoot one how much did it run you and what, if any, were the restrictions (limited number of copies, limited window for sales, etc)?Thanks again,

    Cole

  • #165685
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    I don’t have an answer to your question regarding costs. If you’re going to film and sell DVDs, you add the licensing cost with your DVDs. The risk is not knowing how many people will buy the DVDs. Ask the school if they have previously had the event video taped and how many tapes or DVDs were sold. In fact, you licensing agreement cost might depend on the anticipated number of DVDs to be made and sold.

  • #165686
    Avatarpaulears
    Participant

    I make most of my income working with professional theatre and educational theatre. I know most people probably know how schools work these things, but it’s worth repeating (this is UK info, but as most publishers are based in the UK and the US – the basics are the same)

    If the school does it properly, they will hire in the scripts, and sign an agreement with the copyright holder that allows them to rehearse it and perform it. Sometimes the fees are low, other times, amazingly expensive. There is always a clause that states no video or audio recording is allowed. It also usually stipulates that photocopying is also banned. Copies hired (rarely bought) must be marked in pencil, and erased afterwards. Any defaced copies with pen, not pencil are charged at fearful prices. Schools know that the kids will use pen, so most unofficially photocopy them and say nothing. In addition, if it’s a musical or a play with music, then the performance rights for the music are also included in the deal. Many schools HAVE to video record the show, as the kids grades come from their performance, and evidence is required. So they record it illegally, and stick it in a store and forget it.The rights holders know this happens, but are content to turn a blind eye. However, any selling of the product, even to parents, is a serious breach of the law and if they were found out, consequences could be serious.

    In my professional capacity, I record what we call archive recordings of the shows – including the music. This is written int the artistes contracts and the professional musicians also have a clause that permits this recording. It must not be used commercially – if it was, everyone would be entitled to extra performance fees – which can be horrendous. So I record the shows and treat the material very carefully, controlling who has access. Apart from the money – copyright contravention can have serious implications next time you wish to do something.

    Shakespeare, is a little different. Copyright exists here in the UK some seventy years after the death of the copyright holder. Now, Shakespeare has been dead far longer than this. However, most copies have perhaps included a few edits (especially for school use), and may contain explanations of the words used, to allow people to understand the original meaning. These comments may well be still in copyright, but the original words are not. So, if the original Shakespeare is re-typed, using only his words, anyone can do what they like.

    Copyright is amazingly complex, and exact time periods of protection change from country to country. What happens unofficially is that the big copyright organisations such as Warner Chappel and Weinbergers turn a blind eye to educational mis-use, as long as they are not generating revenue.

    It’s quite possible to get licenses for use of copyright material for many things at modest cost – but not all. I got rights for a college production of a professional touring music show by simply asking the writer. he was amazed we wantd to try it. He even came to see it which was really nice. Clearing copyright, however, was truly grim, and very expensive. I almost got permission from Disney US to stage a show here in the UK that has never been done here professionally- but the restrictions were too great. No publicity, no photographs let alone video or audio recording – and they meant it. We didn’t take them up on this one.

    Sorry for the long-windedness.

  • #165687
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive
    1. The school’s PTA engages you to shoot the performance.

    2. The principal relegates all other videocams to the back of the audience and introduces you as the official videographer, and the ONLY person with a camera who is allowed to move around.

    3. Do your shooting, make your disks, PTA distributes disks, asks for a “donation”.

    4. Your costs are reimbursed by the PTA.

    Next question.

  • #165688
    AvatarEarlC
    Member

    What kind of name is P63?

    Unfortunately, your response is rather simplistic, uninformed and grossly inaccurate. Following your unsound advice will eventually get someone in serious legal hot water. Maybe not the next time, but sooner or later for sure.

    Paul’s reply is by and large a very accurate and realistic piece of information that stands pretty much just as well in the U.S.A. as in his country.

    The choice belongs to the individual video services provider, but he or she certainly needs to know that shooting and selling videos of copyrighted materials and performances where the provision has not been legally approved will eventual rear it’s ugly litigious head and bite you on the rump. Hard!

  • #165689
    Avatarwandalassiter
    Participant

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  • #165690
    AvatarDavid
    Participant

    Do the contract provisions preventing audio and video provisions preclude taping a performance and showing it for free on public access cable? I tend to think that would also be a “no go” but the laws dealing with intellectual property rights are a bit arcane for this legal layman.

  • #165691
    AvatarDavid
    Participant

    I just took a look at the mediahalo site and since you have posts linking to adult photo sites, I can’t endorse it. I would suggest policing that a bit.

  • #165692
    AvatarDavid
    Participant

    Not that my endorsement really means much in the grand scheme of things. πŸ™‚

  • #165693
    AvatarEarlC
    Member

    If it’s not good enough for DAVE, it’s not good enough for me πŸ™‚ I’ll pass on this one.

    Besides IMHO highjacking and piggybacking non-related self-promotional posts on other people’s threads is not something I appreciate. I am constantly having to watch my blog, and posts, here and elsewhere, to remove non-related comments that are simply either competitive or totally off-the-wall or promotions for adult content, even Russian Brides for goodness sake. What’s with that?

  • #165694
    Avatarbrandon0409
    Participant

    I used to be a chorus teacher in public schools. I often worked with the Drama department to put on musicals and such.

    I know from experience and having to do the research, that any public educational facility such as K-12 schools have every right to perform any copyrighted music since it is for educational purposes. They do not require license fees etc.

    Now, we were allowed to sell copies of the concerts without issue because we were set up as non-profit in a public educational setting. We would not, however been allowed to sell them for profit. All money made from sales were funneled directly back into the music program to by costumes, uniforms music, etc. Not a cent was kept for profit. This was the only funding we had for the music/drama department. As well as ticket sales to the shows.

    We met with a lawyer and this is what he told us.

  • #165695
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks for all of the great feedback, it has been very helpful.So Brandon, did the school arrange for all of the equipment, shooting, editing and production of the DVD’s? Or did you hire out a professional using the revenues and keeping what was left over for your non-profit programs?

    Cole

  • #165696
    Avatarbrandon0409
    Participant

    Actually we had a guy who was the father of one of the students that voluteered his time at no charge. Equipment etc. His wife was the presidant of the booster club so I guess she said, “Do it for the school or we won’t be doing it at home.” πŸ™‚

  • #165697
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    [quote = EarlC]Unfortunately, your response is rather simplistic[/quote]

    Hmm, I must have cross-posted. I thought the OP was about someone taping his wife’s highschool play. No big deal.

    Yes, I agree the answer didn’t go with the original post. It sounds like Kemper might have offered his professional services to the school, which declined due to copyright issues, or maybe used that as an excuse because they didn’t want to hire a videographer. I’m typically a member of the pta, music club, or whatever 501.c.3 that is hosting the event. I produce very high quality dvd’s as a fundraiser for the organization and get reimbursed for expenses.

    Regarding “what kind of name is P63”. Look it up. ps, your pic looks funny! πŸ˜‰

    It sounds like you contact license holders frequently. How do you go about contacting them? I’ve had varying degrees of luck, and since I will not use copyrighted material without permission there have been missed opportunities.

  • #165698
    AvatarEarlC
    Member

    Enjoyed your response P. My primary experience has been to request a copy of the production papers the organization has on file, received from the copyright resources involved with their intended production, or read for myself the small print listing where to find and how to get in touch with the copyright holders of the materials.

    When the organization has actually inquired, followed through and received reproduction and limited distribution/sales permission from the copyright management firm, it will be so stated. As will, and are, the expression of limitations listed on the script, screen play, music printouts, art, etc, accompanying their files. When it seemed practical to do so I have contacted various (many of these have a central clearing house, if you will, for handing copyright release information and assignment) entities listed on the papers and inquired as to what is possible, costs, special considerations, etc.

    Success rate for permissions at no cost, reasonable cost, or for “educational purposes only” etc. is less than 25 percent, I have to admit. In my experience about one in ten (maybe) performance groups have inquired, received and/or paid for signed release for some aspect of reproduction rights – video or audio. They are to be commended. The vast majority, however, purchase one screenplay copy, one set of music score sheets and/or the words, then copied and distributed them to the participants, not fully realizing or understanding (I want to believe) that this too is a copyright infringement – usually. I am sure there are many who elect to remain ignorant of the law and simply go forth with their production plans.

    There is usually available to schools, community theaters and other organizations, however, a central agency to whom they can turn for a blanket performance release, or small fee signed permission, or sometimes even a broader release allowing, as I’ve mentioned before, recording, reproduciton and limited distribution of the performances on some basis – numbers, etc.

    Then, on the other hand, there are many, MANY times when it simply is not worth the time, effort or anticipated return, and I just inform the group or organization that their understanding of what constitutes copyright infringement and mine are not a good way to proceed, and wish them success in their efforts.

    What continues to amaze me is that so many individuals in this business continue to try and find a loophole, break, or legal runaround in copyright infringement law that will allow them to ignore, benefit from, or unabashedly deny wrong-doing. Once again, without judgement for or against, use of ANY copyright material created by another artist or owned by another organization in a production intended for personal/private use/viewing, or duplication, distribution and sales, or public presentation in an open, free or admission-charged environment, is a direct violation of copyright law.

    I do not condemn people who have done so because at one time or another anyone in the business has done so. I do not agree with ALL aspects of copyright law as it pertains to certain issues. But those issues have been debated, grilled, rolled over and questioned time and again to no currently answerable degree that makes it OK or NoKay, and I do not intend to get caught up in yet another debate on that. Countless articles have been written, published and read. Numerous attorneys “in the know” have commented to the nth degree. Any number of resources are available for the research thereof. I have MY opinion, and will not expound on the righteousness thereof.

    Like so many other questions of legal, moral or personal integrity on this planet, it is up to the individual to decide his/her approach and actions. I am not an enforcer, an informer, or whistle-blower. I am not a saint or sadist, morally uncorruptable or heaven sent. I do not belong to any law enforcement, legal jurisdiction or government agency, and prefer when possible to, do no harm to others. I will keep my righteous indignation, professional abhorence and personal prejudices to myself. Daba, daba, dats all folks.

  • #165699
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    I understand the desire to perform the newer plays, but it seems to me that schools could avoid much of this headache by performing plays that are in the public domain. as one poster said above Shakespeare’s work, in its original form, has no copyright. i’m not quite sure of the date of the law, but sometime around the turn of the 20th century is when modern copyright laws took effect and are still in force. before that copyright was much shorter. 15 years period, some of Mark Twain’s work fell out of copyright during his lifetime.

    there’s still a little fuzzy area with public domain. while the original works are out of copyright, the reproductions aren’t. for example: you could perform something by mozart and sell it all you want, but you couldn’t record an orchestra playing something by mozart and try and sell that. the orchestra owns the copyright on their performance of the song.

    then there is creative commons license. http://creativecommons.org/ that depending on how the license is worded allows you to reproduce the work with only certain limitations (some say no profit, others say no alteration of the work, some just want the credit for the work).

    you don’t have to go through all the headache of navigating copyright laws and still be on the good side of the law if you do your reseach.

  • #165700
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    From theresearch I have been doing about this over the last six months here is my take on that.I think the problem with using Shakespeare and other works in the public domain is that you do not have a script. You probably could do it from a book but there is a lot of work in translating it for the stage. I don’t know if using a book is even on the level because the author owns the copy write to that version. These works are available in scripted forms but those scripts are copy written material and you are back to square one. I am disappointed that it is so complicated, but I am glad I found these things out this way rather than by asummons.

  • #165701
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Now ADD to the complexity: A few years ago Saturday Night Live did a send up of a popular song that sounded very close to the original, and the copyright holder cried “foul”. The defense, which won out, was that SNL performed a “parody” of the original, which is not restricted by copyright laws. So the take-away is to refer to your work as a “parody”…

    … and have as many lawyers as NBC.

  • #165702
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    this is a very long post, but I have some info to add and it may come as a surprise to some of you. I have done copyright musicals before. I know that your first thought might be that I did the illegal but I didn’t. I got a copyright release that says I can film, copy and sell for a profit just as long as I only sell to the cast and no one else in the public. I just did disney’s beauty and the beast and the cost was not that bad. Just for the musical was just over $1500 I think and the video release was not that much more. All I had to do was get the director to purchace it and make up the cost later to them. I sold 30 copies at $25 for a three dvd set and no one complanes because I try to get as much as I can. Some mighy say that it is to much but I put alot of work in to it and do it in my space time too. It’s all legal and up front too.

  • #165703
    AvatarEarlC
    Member

    Do you HAVE to use the name “turd12” talk about self-depreciating. But yeah, your approach is a little-known trick of the trade, and it does work under many circumstances. Such “education only” copyright production releases can range from as little as $100 to $1,000 – depending on the overall situation. Community theather pays a bit higher premium for this than do educational institutions or non-profit, fund-raising groups. Clarity of the information from those seeking the rights to do this goes a long way toward gaining an affordable solution.

  • #165704
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    Thank EarlC, I will have to get more info. The musical was more of an inside job because I am related to the director and she does all the work as for as the copyrights go also. One thing I do know is that since I started doing this three years ago no one brings a camera because they all buy the ones I sell and they enjoy being able to sit and watch the musical rather than worry about someone getting in their way or being in the wrong spot and having other people talking and being loud. I don’t do this full time I have a job that takes more of my time than I would like but I make it work and still do the quality of work the parents want.

  • #165705
    AvatarAnonymous
    Inactive

    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?

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