This topic has been going


This topic has been going on and on and on. I personally don’t really care too much about the legal do’s and don’ts when it comes to private events, such as weddings. The reason I don’t care is the simple fact that people all over this world get married all the time. If copyright owners were going to sue every time their music or whatever is used, the legal system would be so bogged down nothing else would ever get done. As a videographer, I think the idea behind being sued because I filmed an event with someone else’s music playing in the background is less likely than landing on Mars. Besides, how often do you record something (like a wedding) where every song is recorded in their entirety? Most of the time its just bits and pieces and is mixed with background sounds such as people talking. Here’s a question, do you really think every DJ in the world has the proper license to play the music they do at events? I’m not saying you’ll never get sued. But really, what are the chances?

Now, if your recording a private event and plan on selling thousands of copies publicly, then I would pursue proper licensing. I usually interpret private events as something where only a small handful of copies will be made. The legal risk is not really measurable.

I filmed a benefit concert last year that consisted of 19 local bands on 2 stages. Most of the bands played original music but some played covers. I used one of the bands CD music for the DVD menu music. Copies of this event were sold publicly. None of these bands tried to sue me. In fact, they probably loved getting the added exposure. I know the band who’s music is on the menus love it. I didn’t ask them for permission, I just did it. They didn’t know then but they do know now.

I guess it all boils down to your market. Where is the resulting video going to end up? Should I have gotten permission from all the bands? Probably. Although the DVDs are available publicly, not many were sold. (Only 25 copies). If this was going to be a thousand, or perhaps even a few hundred, I would have pursued the license.

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