Filming school performance legal questions

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    • #79261


      Was wondering if anyone could give me some pointers/advice to this situations.


      I've been asked by a parent volunteer group to take videos of the kids performances so that they can sell it at a school fundraiser. The performances will be held at the school. There are no "official" documents giving permission for me to shoot in the school. Do I need to get one? I'm thinking the school is private property with public access and that the parent volunteer group doesn't have the authority to grant me permission? If my kid is one of the performers, do I still need to get permission to vid?


      Since they are selling the video I'm also concerned about the legalities. Other than model releases for the performers which I am still trying to get (I'm thinking it's a deal breaker if I can't even get those), do I need to put some sort of disclaimer at the end of the video that the music used, logos and stuff belong to the repsective owners or something like that? If so, how should I phrase it? I've read some other posts in this forum indicating "incidentals" so that part I'm not too concerned with, the music is what concerns me. Should it concern me? I just shot the vid on behalf of the parent group. I'm not the one selling it.


      Any advice, links to advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance.





    • #210719

      I do this kind of thing and am also involved in professional theatre and children's licenses.


      If the school are happy with you taking the video, then it's fine – I'm doing one in a coupe of weeks, and maybe another this weekend. To get in the school you have to sign in, and will be under their control. Part of the deal with being in compulsory full time education is that video recording for evidence is built into the system. The onl snag you will have is if somebody is under a care order – and then their image may well be protected, to keep their identity a secret. Think of perhaps a split family where there is something unpleasant in the past – these kids may well not be able to go on something available to the public – which is what the parents are considered to be. I've had this discovered when the DVDs were duplicated, and I had to re-edit and blob out a face in a dance show. Next time, they just prevented the girl even being in the show, which is sad.


      You are not going to get a model release, parents are not going to wear that one – some will, but getting this kind of thing signed is impossible. If the school, through the parent group commision you to make the video, do it – but don't even think of trying to use the video for advertising or show reel – that would need clearance, and with 50 kids, just one refusal to sign messes it up!


      Music is very different – copyright clearance if the DVDs are being sold needs to be done properly – a Limited Manufacture License works for this kind of thing. You can offer to do it, but again – schools frequently believe they have exemption for eductional purposes – they don't! At least, not for this kind of thing.


      Technically, you are the producer, and you did the combining process – adding the music to the images. You are therefore responsible. 


      For me, all I do is send an email to the person at the school in charge, not the parent group, the teacher, head of department or the head, explaining that copyright material has been included, and asking if you would like them to arrange it (and I do it at cost), or would they like to clear this themselves. The answer is what I keep safe. Although PRS/MCPS and PPL could come after me, I'll take the risk a judge would see my email and consider me a responsible person. A risk, but one I take.


      The school will only allow you to video it if they are happy. Being invited in, being allowed to shoot the video and edit it are enough permissions for me. 


      In schools, they cut corners – the biggest issue is payment. I'm assuming they are paying you – they need to give you a purchase order or the school won't pay. The purchase order is in effect, permission to record.


      Me – I never expect schools to follow any industry style process. The show I've just been sent the music for has edited quite a few tracks (badly) together. We'll be using them to 100 people each show for three shows. Have they thought about copyright? I doubt it very much. All the material I have so far is copied from music books that clearly prohibit copying, prohibit public performance and prohibit unauthorised arrangements – that seems to cover it nicely. 


      I have never seen a school ever prosecuted for copyright infringement, or photograph useage. 


      I really wouldn't worry – just cover your back.

    • #211018

      If it is a musical or a play that the school purchased they usually have the option to purchase the recording rights.  Usually they only grant rights for copies to go to the performers/family.   Usually the teacher or dept head putting on the event will have the information on what they have purchased.  Some programs  can not be licensed. 

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