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URGENT:Using material in a theatre production projection....

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:31 pm
by question1
Hi there,

Hoping someone can help me with this ASAP..

I've been asked to edit the projection backdrop for a small theatre production. The producers have sent me all the footage I will need, which is a selection of archive videos of live music performances/images of artists/record sleeves etc. These archive assets make up the majority of the 2 hour edit and I'm just wondering what the copyright situation is with this.

I believe the collection of footage has been sourced from online sites/google images/youtube etc and I would like to assume that they've researched whether or not these assets are usable in a small but commercial theatre production.

I've already started editing and wanted to check before I go on too far...

Are these kind of images/videos 100% not free to use on a theatre projection?

If they requested me to go ahead and use them anyway, knowing that they could be un-usable, what do I do?

May sound like a pretty amateur question but I haven't come across this before in my career and advice would be greatly appreciated.


Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:51 pm
by AndyJ
Hi question1

I think that virtually all of the material you have described as being in this footage will be subject to copyright and therefore, potentially, will need permission to use it. Some may be permissible use because the amount taken is not a substantial part of the original, but something like an album cover would be the whole work, and therefore a substantial part has been taken. Copyright works (such as posters, album covers, music etc) and performances are slightly different things when it comes to the protection afforded to them, but for the sake of simplicity I will treat them as being the same. I have assumed that there is no audio track for the video.

And I think you are right to be sceptical about whether the correct permissions have been obtained. Unfortunately for you, in editing these bits together you will be making copies of them, which means that technically you will liable if there is a claim of infringement. Unless you can get someone to indemnify you in the event of a claim, I think you need to urge the theatre's management to get a suitable licence for this. Given that several different types of copyright work are involved, they may need several different licences. However I think the starting point would be to speak to the Copyright Licensing Agency. I don't think it will be necessary to approach PRSforMusic as their licences are mostly concerned with the performance of music, which if my assumption is correct, you will not be doing as part of the back projection.

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:15 pm
by question1
Thanks guys thats really helpful.

I've spoken to the producers about it and they have actually confirmed that the assets they've sourced are public domain and have been sourced correctly.

There were one or two pieces of footage/images that I was still unsure of, and seemed like they weren't from permissible sites so I have replaced those with legal stuff. The rest I've been able to locate fairly on the same sites so that is great.

Thank you

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:17 pm
by question1
Also.. even though I believe the footage is all good and sourced properly, do you think it is worth asking them to sign a document which asks them to confirm this?