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Use of Film Clips in VJ-ing

Discussion in 'Law & Ethics Discussions' started by grahamk, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. grahamk

    grahamk New Member

    I'm unclear as to what the legal issues are regarding using small clips of film from say a James Bond DVD mixed in with your other VJ images and used in a club or other public place.

    Is it illegal to use any copyrighted film, or are you limited to a few seconds?

    Can anyone please advise in the context of UK Law.

    Thanks in anticipation

  2. Ollie

    Ollie New Member

    if u check out the begining of your james bond movies, it will probably say in nice red writing that the copying, re-production, or public viewing is illegal, its even illegal to show on an oil rig?? anyways that applies to the entire movie does'nt matter if its one frame or one hour, if you use a sample in a public display/broadcast,its illegal, and especially if you are profiting from it.

    theres been plenty of disscusion on these boards about this, have a go with the search engine. some feel that taking just a couple of seconds is ok, others feel that yuo should change it beyond recognition, others just make it them selves.

    the big question is where wil u be using your samples, if its just for a residency for your maets mates night in town, your not going to be proscecuted, but if/as u start working bigger venues, festivals etc your audience is much greater so one must be more prudent. Also in terms of recordings/mix-tapes/demos etc you don't want to distibute work of 'yours' that contains samples, thats hard evidence of copyright breech, but if youget into using lots of samples will the demo suck without them? then again saying that, i've never heard of a vj being proscecuted, or even threatened for the use of copyright clips, has anyone else?

    I reckon use them as little as possible. and get your creative jucies flowing in to original content creation :) anf then you'll have nothing to worry about in the future.
  3. InsideUsAll

    InsideUsAll immersive

    yep that about sums it up.

    you can't beat doing it yourself, our content is 98% our own work with a very occasional 'essential' short sample as part of a mix. and for me most of the fun is creating it myself.

    however, its horses for courses. Getting really good samples and doing really good things with them is something i respect greatly. But thats a whole different thing to sticking James bond clips on.

    LEVLHED gear whoreder

    in a live performance anything goes.
    record and redistribute and you're askin for it...but will you get it?
  5. grahamk

    grahamk New Member

    Thanks for the replies, which were what I thought they would be - it's illegal.

    However, being new and wading through all the forums there is a lot of talk about sampling from "hollywood" and or "bollywood", I felt it was appropriate to get a definitive answer.

    Totally agree on the originality front, get your own material, differentiate yourself and be compelling. I think it would be worthwhile emphasising originality more often in these forums otherwise the visual artistry of VJ-ing will be tarnished with ego trippers re-broadcasting Eastenders.
  6. littlecatalyst

    littlecatalyst Retireded

    i've been collecting all of those FBI/Interpol warnings for some time (often people like FOX make their own versions)... been waiting to make up some mix just with those warnings..... (i don't believe that those frames are copyrighted, but if they are lets see who sues)

    a few seconds a few minutes, makes no difference

    it is illegal to use james bond, but like people have already said its up to you what you do, and unlikely that you will get in trouble (unless you release a james bond remix dvd and lie to the distributor saying that you have cleared all rights..... someone may lawyer you then)

    oh wait, unless u do it in the States, and justify each shot you "borrow" with some social critique. if you rip appart each shot into an expose of imperialist propaganda, anti woman objectification and brut violence (sorta like those pop-up videos, but more marxist) then you are totally legally and ethically allowed to do so. thats called fair use. << might however be a little boring to the munts

    OPOLIS New Member


    There's a similiar law in england applying to libel and defamation which basically says that you as long as your saying something relevant or humourous, about someone in public its "fair comment"...
    As long as you're not pretending you did the editing or SFX for James Bond, I don't see why a studio would have a problem with VJs using their work, afterall it serves more as free advertising in a club, where you're hardly gonna sit down and devour the hearty intellectual meat of the plot, or revel in his cunning quips are ya?

    LEVLHED gear whoreder

    oh no...not again...
  9. hamageddon

    hamageddon Motion Mapping Looper

  10. skyvat

    skyvat New Member

    Brilliant, LC.
  11. Anyone

    Anyone New Member

    do you have this in other countries thn in the UK?

    when you rent a tape, at the beginning is an advert
    with an ugly fat man in a steel mill,
    "forging" a copyright sign,
    made into a thingy to tag cattle with...

    at the same time a voice over is saying


    gets me each time... :jester: :crazyeyes :lol: :haha: Ne1
  12. littlecatalyst

    littlecatalyst Retireded

    OMG!!!!!!! Oli please make a copy of that and bing it (PAL i dont care) with you when you come home for christmas????? pleeeeaasase?????? be a pal (no pun intended)

  13. rickmaersk

    rickmaersk New Member

    In Northern Ireland bootleg videos and DVDs ( along with drugs, and smuggled fuel and cigarettes) are a revenue source for the terrorist organisations. Although that's certainly not the same as copyright infringement PROMOTING terrorism. What do they mean by that?

    I totally agree with the other posts here re minor copyright infringement. But...sometimes ripping off old movies or TV is the only way to do visuals for themed events.
  14. Meierhans

    Meierhans Spezialmusik

    Could you upload these "FBI Warnings" somewhere?? (In DV? Or DIVX5 )

    Really cool idea to collect these!
  15. Stickman

    Stickman New Member

    Whats the legal situation with

    Whats the legal situation with clips which arn't used in the original form...?

    I superimposed (single color outline only - can't do luma or chroma with my MX12) some topgun and clangers (clips the other month....

    I found the result worked very well at 5.30am to a room full of blissed out trancewarriors

  16. evomedia

    evomedia Control Freaks

    Originally posted by OPOLIS


    There's a similiar law in england applying to libel and defamation which basically says that you as long as your saying something relevant or humourous, about someone in public its "fair comment"...
    As long as you're not pretending you did the editing or SFX for James Bond, I don't see why a studio would have a problem with VJs using their work, afterall it serves more as free advertising in a club, where you're hardly gonna sit down and devour the hearty intellectual meat of the plot, or revel in his cunning quips are ya?


    Don't bet on it, if you play it, then the film studios view it as you using their work for your own commercial gain, playing a movie all the way through from stratch is different for clubs, but vjing and cutting clips essentially its just filling up your own content library for free and making profit from it.

    Libel and defamation laws are to protect individuals from untrue allegations, thats isn't the same as copyright.

    Its purely about personal gain, plus just sampling clips straight neither demonstrates relevant or humourous usage, if you filmed your own spoof then your safe, but straight sampling is just steeling in the eyes of the studios and the law.

    Here's the crux
  17. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    fair usage doesn't exist in uk copywrite law - i doubt that it is as relevent as everyone recons in us law ether.

    lets face it sampleing is illegal - that it and all about it.

    however there is often good cause to break the law
    and the copywrite law is stupid and out of date

    stickman you a criminal - i bet you taped it off the telly in the first place (all vcr users are criminals) if you didn't tape from tv then you didn't bother to read the bit at the begining excluding use in whole or part for public performance. (go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect ?200)

    as for this terrorisum shite then ok terrorists make cash from selling drugs, copyed videos and oil but i think the oil and drugs is a larger part of there income then sale of vhs copys??

    oh and remember kids......
  18. littlecatalyst

    littlecatalyst Retireded

    oh don't kid yourself Tom, those knock-offs of Nemo and The Godfather trilogy must surely make more money than something as old as heroin, or as thick as oil. heh heh.....

    actually up here in canada there's something interesting to consider (even though our 'fair dealings' ammendments suck ass compared to fair use); as for VCRs, we do pay a levy to the RIAA for every blank vhs tape sold. we do also on the sale of cdrs dvdrs minidsics and now a lot of the pundits who usually shape public opinion up here are coming out saying that we already pay for downloads and therefore it is not really illegal. this will be developing in canada over the next year and may prove interesting for us, somehow

    obviously this so far is about how my 12 year old daughter can listen to her charlotte church disc on her ipod and not really about mashing up films or playing live video jams in clubs ...yet!but it is promising, and at least if you are a committed VHS criminal in the uk or something, perhasp you ought to relocate to sunny canada like the draft dodgers in the 60s
  19. armando

    armando New Member

    hi. classic example of the sheer spirographic nonsense that is copyright..years ago i was making training films for nurse training, which involved using clips of bbc documentaries.

    i rang them to ask about getting copyright clearance on five two-minute excerpts..their reply?

    " erm. i don't think you want to be talking to me about this, i mean, if you were to use them, which we don't condone, then we'd have to go to a lot of bother to sue you, which we can't afford to do because even if we won, a judge might consider our actions heavy-handed, so let's forget we ever had this conversation " *clunk of bakelite phone onto worn-out cradle..

    i think they might warn you, if it ever came to their attention.
  20. Stickman

    Stickman New Member

    Ah, but, I didn't use it in it's orginal form at all.. so does that count?

    Where do you start draw the line on this stuff (legally and morally), and how thick is that line - literally?

    I superimposed images of movement (a plane and a clanger), using a color outline only, which I was varying in thickness to the beat of the music uising the key-level slider on the mixer...

    so did I rip them off?


  21. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    you definatly broke the mechanical copywrite laws when you taped the clangers off the telly - you broke this law again when you transfered the clip to your computer

    you also broke the performance copywrite laws by playing this clip in public to an audiance (your post processing is irrellevent you have broken the law by showing it)

    you have also probably broken some other laws too....

    the law's an ass - however stupid it seems the law is the law an whilst complaining about it *might* get you somewhere if your in court (ie you could argue that you haven't broken the spirit of the performance copywrite laws and the judge might well agree) outside of the courts there is simply the leter of the law and as it stands you have broken it (the law works on the priciple of test cases so if you were to be taken to court and let off because of your postprocessing then it would set a legal precident that would make it harder to prosicute others for simular offences if they too had used heavy post processing)
  22. holly

    holly WetCircuit.com

    OMIGAWD! Canada is sooooo progressive! Can we PLEASE put Canada in charge of the world? Europe is too slow. The US is completely corrupt. Asia cares about nothing but Asia, and Africa and South America are just a mess....

    Canada for President!

    This is so true! Every blank cassette has royalties tacked on. Blank CD-r that say "for music" are 3x the price as CD-r for data! We HAVE already paid for those downloads! Fantastic!

    Can I move now?

    LEVLHED gear whoreder

    dang...another reason to jump the border.
    I'm w/ yuh holly
  24. julez

    julez Syn.thesia Visuals

    good old canadians...they're like New Zealand to Australia...friendly, polite and smart enough to keep their nose out of George Bush's ass. Neway...i think i might relocate to Canada (or New Zealand) maybe then i might get some respect from foreigners.
  25. KillingFrenzy

    KillingFrenzy KillingFrenzy Visuals

    Dig harder

    lets face it sampleing is illegal - that it and all about it.


    Sampling copyrighted material is illegal.

    Just keep in mind that there is plenty of stuff out there that is not under current copyright, or the rights can be purchased for very cheap.

    Some films are public domain, and any variety of weirdness can be collected from sources as diverse as TV to the internet. For that matter, some copyrights don't even hold outside their country of origin. It may be that your Bollywood video is fair game.

    So, sampling by its nature is not necessarily illegal. I'll even make the arguement that taking live footage and creating a loop with it is a form of sample.

    With that in mind, inclusion of material from sources other than ones own creation is viable without breaking any laws. You just have to dig a little deeper than the new release shelf at your local video store.

    I'll worry about it more when I'm on tour with a band, and less when I'm doing my residency. And somehow I don't think me in a santa suit is nearly as funny as crossmixing "Jack Frost" with Michael Keaton with "Jack Frost" the low budget horror film. Let'em cuff me for that.
  26. holly

    holly WetCircuit.com

    KillF has a point. Basically the moral issue boils down to if the movie was cool then it's artisticly valid. If the movie was cheese then everyone should throw tomatoes at you....

    "Use of Film Clips in VJ-ing" does not necessarily create a legal issue. Public Domain stuff can be cool just because it is like the bastard films that no one wanted to claim....

    Give a bad film a home this holiday season. Sample an unloved movie.
  27. Portal

    Portal New Member

    Come On Up


    Gee whiz, we've known Canada to be more progressive than the mainstream U.S. for years now. I am surprised it's only now getting noticed! :)

    So who's coming to Western Canada to hang out with BluntFaktory and myself? :)

    Marcus {VJ Portal}
  28. bluntfaktory

    bluntfaktory New Member

    " Ya ....." what Portal said . " and pot here is decriminalize , plus if your gay ..... you can can get married . in fact heard there thinking of changing the name to Man-couver or Bongville . " :p
  29. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    Re: Dig harder

    In the uk everything is copyrited by default - it makes no diffrence wether you taped from tv or found it in a bin - unless you have specific permission from the copyrite holders you have broken the law (this is very shit as it means you can't use old super 8 footage legaly without finding the copyrite holder - which often means that it is actually illegal to use old family footage unless you have the permission of your great uncle who shot it)

    copyrite is one of the most missunderstood laws around, largely as its so stupid and hs very little of bennifit to the indervidual and much to protect profits of corperations (eg i can't use a film of myself without getting permission from the camera man - even if the camera man is directly related to me!!)
  30. evomedia

    evomedia Control Freaks

    The long and short of it is if you see an item you believe could be copyrighted, don't take the chance and use it without the license or permission or the creator. When a movie is put on a shelf for the public to rent, the distributor of that movie has paid the creators to distribute it. If you make your own copy of that movie or even in part, that would be considered copyright infringement.

    What can be copyrighted? Any form of art, be it written, pictorial, video or audio can be a copyrighted item. Upon the inception of the finished work, the item by design is copyrighted. It's understood the creator holds the copyright to that item. ONLY if the item has been specifically released as copyright free by the creator, and actually states it is so, will it be copyright free, else someone somewhere will own the rights.

    How long does a copyright last? The laws on this have changed, and now the law states that a copyright lasts from the moment of inception through 70 years past the death of the creator. SO nearly all film footage is likely to be subject to copyright, even the old ones are subject to a frame by frame image copyright.

    So what is the fuss all about? A copyright infringement is really quite simple to prove once you have proven that you are the true and original owner of an item, be it a movie, and image, a song, a story, or any such item. Once this is proven the person or persons who violated that copyright are civilly liable for damages.
    What is that worth? US law shows a minimum of $750 damages up to a maximum of $180,000, plus in addition the person who infringed upon the copyright may be liable for all attorney fees amassed by the original artist. And believe me there is not a country in the world that does not have to adhere to copyright law.

    Fair usage laws will never protect a vj from using copyrighted film material, any court will view sampled copyright material used in a commercial environment as subject to damages. After all I know as well as anyone here that virtually no VJ here really has to use sampled film material to get a point across, 99% of the people here that sample only do so to fill there libraries with cool clips with very little effort. I challenge anyone to prove they HAVE to use copyrighted samples, without admitting it is possible to recreate any message, given time and skill, in there own style.

    Common guys, 3d packages, home based editing and cheap dv-cams are all there to mean we don?t have to sample, Its just a matter of creative thinking, and after all if VJ?s want to express themselves then samples are just using other peoples style and sticking your name on it. I want to see originality not re-runs of films and tv. If its just a skills shortage however that means you have sample then, sorry no excuses. Start learning?

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