Zelkien69 wrote on 9/15/2015, 12:25 PM
It seems relentless that people who film weddings ( I have a studio and we film between 30-50 weddings per year and have filmed upwards of 90 in the past) want a pass on copyright. How can it be incidental or "fair use" if the music recorded is not only intentional (to use in a preplanned delivery of services), by a vendor who is paid (not exactly a bouncing baby and an iPhone filming the event), but more often than not recorded separately by a Zoom or Tascam device with a direct feed of the unlicensed material. Same for musical arrangements during a ceremony or cocktail hour.
Pay for a license at one of the growing number of legal licensing sites and deliver a product that falls within those lines. Realize if you are outside of those boundaries, you're wrong and move along. As professionals, it's amazing how so few either admit what they do is illegal and overlooked in all but 1 out of 1,000,000 cases or take the time to find a delivery method that does work.
riredale wrote on 9/15/2015, 3:32 PM
This topic has been discussed on the forum many times before. There is now a website that can handle all the music? What does it cost for a wedding?

I know in the recent past the copyright industry was highly fragmented. I have no issue with paying a (hopefully) modest fee in exchange for a painless editing process.

I have not looked up the definition of "commentary" under the "fair use" rule, but surely showing a baby dancing to a Prince song should be perfectly allowable (though one might question the musical tastes of the parents).
DGates wrote on 9/15/2015, 5:23 PM
Zelkien69, I don't think you're understanding the statement. The person said songs AT weddings, not music added to the edit AFTER the fact. Because it would be totally ridiculous for a videographer to have to license all the incidental music played throughout the day just to tun in a video of the day's events. And if you DO believe that, assuming a person got the rights after paying for them, that video now cost the videographer 50 times what they got paid. And if they couldn't get the rights, does the videographer change the first dance song to something else? Again, totally ridiculous.

Now, if you're putting up a recap online with a song you specifically chose, then of course, that music should be licensed.
Zelkien69 wrote on 9/15/2015, 5:45 PM
I took it as the original poster, who inferred weddings and thus filming weddings, wanted a free pass on how a wedding essentially works.

For the length of the ceremony record the music played either by mp3 playlist, musicians playing pachelbel canon in d or wedding march, or a custom arrangement played by the quartet. The majority of which are music that you would need to license.

The reception is the biggest culprit of wedding videographer/filmmaker ire. Almost anyone worth a nickel filming weddings connects a sound device to the DJ or bands board to capture the cleanest signal possible and later add to the delivered video. This is to capture the announcement, welcome of the bridal party (almost always set to music that for the most part cannot be licensed within reason), the first dance song, Beyonce's "Put a Ring on it" for the garter and so on. Those tracks are synced either solely or in addition to audio from the cameras in use at the time or even additional standalone audio recorders placed within the venue for the sole purpose of capturing the "feel" of the event (music front and center with the audience and room tone to make it sound live).

The argument often goes either it was playing and we happened to capture it or we can't do our job if we don't capture it. Sounds great but I don't think it has legal standing.

Trying to compare momma whipping out a cell phone to record a dancing baby vs. someone meeting with clients, signing contracts, setting expectations (You'll have our first dance in the video, right??), repeating and tweaking the equipment and software used time after time to capture the audio, and being paid to deliver a product that includes the music is probably not fair use. I'm not a lawyer, I just don't understand how a group of professionals or even amateurs can have the same conversation for a decade always looking for a loophole.

And I apologize for making it sound like you could license an entire wedding music catalog. I was referring to creating stylized films and using sources like & A single song license, for weddings only, ranges from $50-$100. Our films frequently run 9-15 minutes so we license 3-5 songs and often buy a multiuse pack of 4-5 licenses per song and use them as needed.

I'm not on a side as far as who's right or wrong nor do I wish to say someone should do it a certain way. My view is you know what the law is. You can break it and deal with the consequences if caught, carry on as most have and assume you likely won't get busted or fined or sued, but for heaven's sake at least acknowledge you have a clue to what you are doing and the market you serve. It's not complicated.

Here's a film with music sourced from the above sites. We probably paid $200-350 for the music used and the client loved it.


The bugle call is likely copyrighted and illegal, but I'll deal with that if/when it ever comes up.
DGates wrote on 9/15/2015, 6:05 PM
"Our films frequently run 9-15 minutes so we license 3-5 songs"

Well a lot of videographers aren't just doing an extended recap. We're documenting everything in it's entirety. The full ceremony, all toasts, all important dances. All as-is. So the length is going to be 90 minutes, give or take.

I license songs from Song Freedom as well. You can get some decent deals for 10 bucks from artists looking for more exposure. But that's only one song at the end. I make less than a grand doing these, so I'm not going to go crazy with added licensed songs that would end up being a third of my costs.

And I'm certainly not worried about all the music that was played in the background. I've never heard anyone get on their high horse and say that I'm expected to pay for those as well.
farss wrote on 9/15/2015, 6:58 PM
Solution is simple in most countries outside the USA. You pay a fee to use all the music played during the event. You can pay an annual fee or a fee per event.

The only additional restriction is the client must have a licensed copy of the music used in their video and the venue / DJ has to pay the appropriate fees as well.


TheHappyFriar wrote on 9/15/2015, 7:50 PM
I tried to get rights once. Each copyright holder said they will say yes if the others do, but not until. Epic standstill. :/

Zelkien69 wrote on 9/15/2015, 9:30 PM
I get your point about a high horse loud and clear. I don't ride the horse and neither do any other videographers or filmmakers. The high horse you speak of is likely ridden by lawyers and music labels. With that I bet they ride either Clydesdales or thoroughbreds. ;)

The other point that you make is that you don't even charge enough to cover your cost. Maybe if you're doing <$1k weddings you aren't plugging into a sound system intentionally capturing the audio. Most people charging >$1k are. That's not an assumption on my part, but simply how professionals work who do weddings. At that point people just need to admit they are breaking the law and move on. It's this constant "fair use" term that gets overly and incorrectly used along with it "just" being background music when it was captured and recorded with hundreds or thousands of dollars of equipment then cleaned in editing and DAW's to be delivered per paid agreement.

DGates wrote on 9/15/2015, 10:03 PM
Yes, I use audio recorders to tap the feed, if available, for ceremonies and receptions. I also use my own small recorders on groom, officiant, podium, etc. Always good to be redundant with audio. And just because I don't charge a lot doesn't mean I do things amateurishly.

But what I'm recording with these recorders is an event comprised of music, speeches and more. This isn't me showing up at a Beach Boys concert, recording it SPECIFICALLY for the music, and then selling the audio file online (Beach Boys Live at Santa Barbara!). That would be a more apt violation and no way near fair use. Wedding music in the background, IMO, *is* fair use for the intents and purposes of what I'm doing, whether I choose to record it in higher quality or not.
Red Prince wrote on 9/15/2015, 11:09 PM
I don’t do weddings, never have (at least not as a videographer) and never will, so I have never studied the problem. But it seems to me that a videographer is hired to film/tape the wedding and its sound and to edit the video and the audio. Nothing more and nothing less. The keyword is hired. Whoever hires him is the producer and it should be the producer’s responsibility to get any and all licensing needed for the production.

Of course, it should all be spelled out in a written contract.

He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know.
                    — Lao Tze in Tao Te Ching

Can you imagine the silence if everyone only said what he knows?
                    — Karel Čapek (The guy who gave us the word “robot” in R.U.R.)

Zelkien69 wrote on 9/15/2015, 11:59 PM
I don't think you can consider the client (bride/groom/Mom/dad/uncle or whomever) the producer or even executive producer, though they are paying.

A producer, In a typical arrangement, develops an idea or script with a writer and secures the necessary rights. He often hires the director, supervises casting, and assembles a crew. Additionally, the producer oversees the budget and then coordinates the post production work—everything from editing, and commissioning music

The above guidelines, loosely referenced from eligibility to win an Academy Award as a producer, do not strike me as a couple getting married. I'd love to see a case where the judge dismisses the hired videographer and request that the bride and groom, as producers, be held accountable.

And contracts do not protect you from the law.
Red Prince wrote on 9/16/2015, 2:16 AM
But does the law spell out it is the videographer who is responsible to secure copyright permissions? The point is you’re hired to do a job, and your contract spells out what that job entails. I don’t see what the Academy Awards have to do with it.

You don’t hire the DJ or any musicians, the bride and groom do (or an agent of theirs does). All the legal responsibilities should be theirs.

It would be different if you added a music track of your choice. I could see how that would be your responsibility. Or even if you decided to sell the video to a third party.

Seriously, if I were to work as a wedding videographer, I would talk to a copyright lawyer, explain that you are hired to do a job, and see what s/he has to say. Work for hire is expressly covered by the copyright law. The copyright of the work you do for hire (i.e., the final video) belongs to whomever hired you. So how can the responsibility for anything in that work belong to you and not to them?

Of course the contract doesn’t allow you to break the law. But that is not the question. The question is who is legally responsible for copyright permissions. And I just don’t see how it could be you.

Then again, as I said, I don’t do this kind of work, so this is just my opinion.

He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know.
                    — Lao Tze in Tao Te Ching

Can you imagine the silence if everyone only said what he knows?
                    — Karel Čapek (The guy who gave us the word “robot” in R.U.R.)