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use of audio in your showreel

Discussion in 'Law & Ethics Discussions' started by brain, Jan 4, 2003.

  1. brain

    brain New Member

    most of us use music along with their visuals when they put a sample clip on the net or send examples to promotors or the like. the least of us do all the music themselves. and you shure don't want to use silly copyright free stock music... legal questions arise.


    you do a mix in a club to the music of DJ xyz. you ask xyz if its ok to record the music along with your mix. he says ok. you record a svhs and give him a copy later because he liked it (not without keying your name HUGELY into it!). you render a clip out of it and put it on the net (naming the dj and maybe venue).

    are you allowed to do this?

    1) you did not purchase the records used. and maybe the musicans may disagree that their music is used along visuals they did not agree to.

    2) the DJ seems to be the creator of the mix but does he own the rights? he (and you) have been payed by the promoter and copyright laws suggest the PROMOTER may hold (at least a part of) the rights because the DJ (and you) played on payed assignment. do you (theoretically) have to ask the promoter? are you allowed to copy the stuff and hand it out??

    most of the time there are no written contracts settling rights. of course you and the DJ are the creators of a work of art but it has been done by demand of the promoter, for his money, in his club and maybe even using part of his equipment.

    i guess things get complicated and everyone goes "hmm i think...".
    but how's the factual legal situation?


    ps personally i do ask the DJ and thats it :)
  2. Kriel

    Kriel Trailer Trash

    Very simply, legally, "No", you are not allowed to do this. And you are not allowed to post ANY portion of it on the web. There are, however, always caveats.

    In practice, you'll likely never run into an issue using a track on a demo. It's not legal, but no one (short of Michael Jackson or Michael Eisner) would raise hell with you about it. If the demo is commissioned by someone covered under a blanket copyright arrangement, then you are covered as well. Non-profit organisations with commissions from non-profit venues are covered for limited performance. Personal use is covered, but this is getting stickier by the day.

    In most cases, you could use someone's track in performance as well, provided someone (read: the venue) had a deal with PRS (in the UK -- there are similar laws elsewhere).

    As for asking the DJ, the DJ can NOT grant complete permission to use his mix. He can only grant permission to use his contribution. Legally, you must then get clearance from the owner of performance and composition rights to each track played.

    On the internet, you can't do anything with someone else's track -- legally. In practice, even the BBC (both prior to and following their precedent setting deal with PRS allowing limited on-demand access to previous specialist broadcasts) is severely limited. They and other broadcasters are allowed, in practice, to post up to 30 seconds of a track online provided they notify the label, and the label acknowledges this notification prior to posting. Anything more than 30 seconds requires a full legal writ, involving negotiations between legal teams on both sides -- rarely worth the effort (the exception being the above arrangement). Smaller labels are much more amenable, given their need for promotion, but the majors don't budge.

    As for us, well, we can't do anything. Legally. However, you'll find plenty of clubs out there with uncleared mixes on their sites, and many a VJ or DJ with the same. And many small dance label vinyls with uncleared samples. As elsewhere, in practice politics prevail over the law.

  3. hamageddon

    hamageddon Motion Mapping Looper

    the equivalent of the mcps in germany would be the gema or indies fave freibank.

    public audio showcases in clubs are usually covered by a general fee in germany, gema is still working on a general regulation on their members music presentation on the web, will eventually result in a percentage fee per item (even for their members)

    btw: u don't have to use crap "silly copyright free stock music"
    there are lots of talented electronic artist *not* gema organized
    even around frankfurt ;)

    so an AV-Demo-Reel could be a win-win situation for both parties

    ah, brain, i think we should have a long overdue personal talk
    here. u know where to find me ;)
  4. hamageddon

    hamageddon Motion Mapping Looper

    funny, how the breezeblocks gets along with all those
    "bootleg mixes" and artists "N.A." on their playlists ;)
  5. robotfunk

    robotfunk Feed your Machine

    It is not allowed to distribute others peoples DJ set for the simple reason that the DJ does not own copyrights to the tunes that he plays. (unless he only plays his own unreleased tunes and is not registered with MCPS/PRS/GEMA/BIEM/BLABLABLA)

    Hell, when I send in my form to enlist I have to start paying to use my own tunes. My money will go into a big pot that will largely be redivided to artists relating to radio airplay/chart position/etc. So J-Lo gets my dough.

    I guess the law varies wildly from country to country but as an individual I can make a deal with BUMA/STEMRA (dutch equivalent)
    and pay them ?22,69 (double this rate for companies) to be able to play any track I want on an internet radio station I'm starting with some people. (there must be a quality limitation, the most favourable being a 128 kbps limit)
    Radio stations and internet stations can make such deals but not people doing mechanical reproduction, so for a cd/dvd you would need to license each track individually.

    You might be able to make such as monthly deal though if you stream your demo on the internet.

    If you dont distribute your demo to anyone but promoters (potential customers) you might have a case to use it w/o licensing if you clearly mark it as a demo (you could argue that you need to demonstrate your skills in making your visuals correspond with the music) but again this is thin ice.

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