Hey Your Videographer! I’v


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.

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