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Music Copyright Issues-Documentary/Reality


Tim M
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Richard, glad those links are at least potentially helpful (they've certainly helped me). My non-lawyer understanding is that mind-in-the-gutter reality TV and heart-in-the-heavens documentary are both judged by the same four fair use factors. Those factors spelled out by Richard Stim:

 

But of course copyright holders may view promulgators of reality TV as more lucrative litigation targets....

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Richard, glad those links are at least potentially helpful (they've certainly helped me). My non-lawyer understanding is that mind-in-the-gutter reality TV and heart-in-the-heavens documentary are both judged by the same four fair use factors. Those factors spelled out by Richard Stim:

 

But of course copyright holders may view promulgators of reality TV as more lucrative litigation targets....

 

When it comes to classic documentary vs reality television, I think that it's a question of degree (how real is the "reality" TV) and how gun-shy one is of litigation.

 

As an aside, and definitely in the fictional realm... in supplemental material to the the DVD for Sidewalks of New York, Edward Burns talks about guerrilla shooting, no permits for outdoor scenes, etc. There's an important scene that they shot in a video store in the Village, and if I recall correctly, he says that one of the issues was to shoot the scene without having any of the movie posters in the shop appear on camera. In other words, had the camera picked up posters advertising popular films, they were concerned that they could be sued by the people advertising the films.

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I know that a band playing the song is easier to get rights to than playing the original recording...

There are different things to consider here. One is the owner of the recording (record label likely), the other is the owner of the song/intellectual rights, which is often split between the artist(s), producer, manager, agent, etc, depending on their contracts. A lot of people need to sign off on it, beyond getting an "OK" from a record label or artist.

 

As for any "obligation" regarding your role in all of this, like any background noise, I mention it, and if what I bring up falls on deaf ears, then they get what they get, and my notes go in the sound report. Done deal. Like others here have said, it isn't your duty to tell them what the law requires, only that you can hear the background noise. After that it is their call what they want to do, and their lack of experience does not constitute any extra services or advice on your part, though you are welcome to remind them that they will likely not be able to use it for such and such a reason. They should already know this, just like they should already know that "if you can hear it, I can hear it"

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