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Poetry recordings for care home

Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:21 pm
by MrsJ
I have been asked by a local care home to to record videos of myself reading poetry. These would be shown to groups of residents as entertainment and to stimulate memories. I will not be paid for this and the videos would be provided privately by myself directly to the care home and not published on you tube. Where does the care home and myself stand regarding copyright on the poetry I hope to record? Would we need to ask permission or pay royalties or are we just free to go ahead?

Re: Poetry recordings for care home

Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:43 pm
by AndyJ
Hi MrsJ,

Assuming the poetry is in copyright, then reading it 'in public' is a right which is reserved to the copyright owner (see section 19 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988). The 'in public' bit is tricky. Normally the public in this instance would be any random members of the public who choose to attend, and who will often have paid an admission fee, but it would not include your family or close friends listening to poetry read by you at home. Thus the care home setting is borderline. However I think that any uncertainty is removed by the fact that you will be recording the poetry. This unequivocally makes what you want to do something for which you need permission. If you intend to read from no more than a couple of books (say, anthologies) of poetry I would suggest contacting the publishers for permission, stating the purpose and the non-commercial nature of the venture, and with luck you won't be asked to pay. However if you want to use a larger number of sources this becomes more administratively cumbersome and you would be better off approaching the Copyright Licensing Agency for a blanket licence which will allow you to access a wide range of poetry. It is possible that the care home may already hold a licence which covers this sort of activity.

However if you stick to poetry which is out of copyright, because the authors died more than 70 years ago (eg Wordsworth, Tennyson, Keats etc), then you don't need permission. Sadly this rules out many of the twentieth century poets such as Auden, Betjeman, Masefield, Larkin and Sylvia Plath etc.

Re: Poetry recordings for care home

Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:21 pm
by MrsJ
Hi, thanks for your reply. It sounds like it’s worth seeing if the care home already has something in place, but, if not, I will probably stick with the out-of-copyright poetry, at least for now. Thank you.