The risk of being sued for


The risk of being sued for a copyright violation has driven more than a few people out of the wedding video business. While lawsuits are uncommon, the risks of them can be catastrophic, especially if you run your business as a sole proprietorship (your business and personal assets are intertwined.)

I think the legal issue here that opens producers up to a lawsuit is that you’re using someone else’s copyrighted works to make money for yourself.

I once wanted to use a particular song in a low budget movie I shot… until I found out how much it would have cost. That $15,000 number is right in the ballpark for the obscure song by an obscure artist I was interested in.

Now, I offer local bands deals on music videos in exchange for the right to use their original music with aclear copyright. (Sometimes producers own a piece of the work so even the artists themselves can’t sign it off to you.)

Something else to consider is that during the ceremony you may have either a musician or a CD playing. The musician, having been hired by the happy couple, is prividing the performance for them and you might be OK with that. A CD on the other hand, even if the music is in the public domain, is copyrighted because that particular performance of the work is owned by themusician/copyright owners.I’m not a lawyer so don’t take this as gospel.

One thing I feel confident about suggesting is that you look for appropriate production music that you can affordably purchase the copyright to use. Although it’s not what you’ll hear on the radio, you won’t loose you shirt, your camera or your house over it.

The BEST answer here is to consult an attorney knowledgable in copyright and business law.

But people don’t always follow the best advice and there really aretons of wedding videogrophers that do put unlicensed music on their wedding videos. I don’t know howa videographercould make a great wedding video at an affordable price without butting heads with the copyright issue.

If you want to roll the dice, take a chance and accept the risks that yours will be one of the many tens of thousands of wedding videos that don’t get sued, it’s up to you. The odds are probably in your favor, but thedamages if you get called on it could be pretty devistating, especiallyfor a small video producer.

So, do people do it? Yes, all the time. Am I telling you to do it? No. That’s your call.

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