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pictures and music copyright question....Please help!!!!!

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:12 pm
by slimbob
Hi I am really hoping you could all help with my dilema.

Andy-J- If you are reading this post please could you share some of your wisdom.

I am about to start filming and creating some stand up comedy sketches I have been writing over the last few years. My character (ie) make up is all my own invention and all my material is original (ie) not copying any other comedians.

However here is the problem.

I would like if possible to include quick flashes of pictures (ie) 3-5 seconds max and some short audio clips.

For example if a I refer to a small dog I found a great picture on google picture search of a small dog with a huge bone.

Can I include this? As I am showing it for 3-5 seconds is it covered by fair use .I Have no idea who owns this photo or how to get in touch to get permission?

Another example with regards music is I would like to use a bit of Isaac Hayes music Shaft. Again between 5- 15 seconds that is all.

Can I do this under fair use (ie) not using the whole track just a very short bit.

Another example is I would like to use the pocket watch chime from a few dollars more . Again literally 5-10 seconds. This is part of the original soundtrack of the movie??

My videos Will be put on You Tube and I will have a website made asking for feedback about my comedy. Eventually I could sell products linked to my character so my comedy website will end up generating money (Touchwood).

So I need to make sure I am not doing anything wrong now or it could catch up with me.

If I can't then what are my options.

Make my own photos so I own the copyright?

Could I pay a musician to play the part of the Shaft soundtrack I want . Would that be acceptable as he would own the copyright or could transfer it to me .Or regardless does the music still belong to Isaac Hayes?

This is a mine field !!

Any help is so much appreciated.

Please come to the rescue Andy-J- !!!!! :lol:

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:51 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Bob,
The key to what you are asking is substantiality. If you do not not copy a substantial amount of a copyright work then that does not infringe that copyright. Incidently this is not an example of fair dealing (fair use is the American term for what is a wider category of things which may lawfully be done with copyright works). Unfortunately for you we in the UK don't have a parody category of fair dealing, which I think would probably have met your needs.
So taking the elements you wish to include: you want to use the whole image of the dog, so that amounts to substantial, however long the image is up on the screen. The chiming of the watch from A Few Dollars More is just a few seconds from a movie that lasts 132 minutes so that is not substantial. Furthermore the watch scene is just one of many in the movie that cannot be said to encapsulate the essence of the movie, so you are on safe ground with that.
The Shaft sample is more borderline. Even some relatively short sequences of music which have been sampled by mixers have been found to infringe in the past if the bit taken forms a key element of the original song. I assume that you chose that particular piece because it makes the audience think of Shaft, so that tends to support the idea that the bit could be a substantial part on qualitative grounds, rather than quantative ones. Furthermore the copyright owners of this recording (Sounthbound Records Inc) are more likely to object because generally the music industry are hot on copyright infringement, so this becomes more difficult to call. You mentioned the idea of getting another musician to record his own version for you. This has its own pitfalls as, if the segment is long enough to be considered substantial, the musician would need the permission of the composer and lyric writer* (assuming any words are included) to perform the song, so really you are in much the same position. If you were in the business of mixing music or making mashups etc then it would be worth getting a special licence to do this from PRSfor Music but that would not be economic for what you propose.
Returning to the dog picture. As I said, on the grounds of substantial copying you should seek permission, but you are unable to find who to seek permission from. Indeed you might even find that this is something which has been deliberately put in the public domain by the owner, but how can you tell? If you have image editing software such as Photoshop or Picasa look and see if there is any embedded data in the image. You need to look in the image data under Exif or IPTC. Assuming that reveals nothing, my suggestion would be to return to the website where you found the picture via Google picture search and see if the owner of that site bought a licence to use it. Chances are they didn't and they will be of no help. The next thing is to check the main picture libraries such as Getty, Alamy, iStock, Shutterstock etc by searching on the key words "dog, bone" (here's an example) and see if any of them license its use on behalf of the copyright owner. Although time-consuming, this is the most likely route to finding the rightful owner, and ironically if the image is one of theirs, they are the people who will come after you if you use it without permission! In the case of the microstock sites, a royalty free licence is likely to be very reasonable. Getty on the other hand can charge hundreds of dollars for a licence.
As you are finding, making a video can have as sorts of implications for copyright clearance you never dreamed of. But unlike hundreds of thousands of others who do this and post the results on Youtube without getting clearances, you are clearly going about this the right way and with a little care you should be OK. That way, if you do make something from the venture, you can be confident of keeping the proceeds. Good luck with the project.

* According to the site the owner of the copyright in the lyrics is the Universal Music Publiching Group, so it is possible that the original author Isaac Hayes has signed over his right in the song in exchange for an upfront payment and royalties.

Thanks Andy-J- !!!!!!! Brilliant advice

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:43 pm
by slimbob
Thanks a million Andy what amazing advice as normal!!!!

Really appreciate your lengthy reply, priceless to me.

I understand the implications of the photo side of things now and understand what to do (i.e.) follow your advice. Cheers.

Also great to know the watch chime from a few dollars more is o.k to use.

Andy regarding the Shaft music I am not trying to associate to the movie .The bit I want to use is the very start (i.e.) guitar intro with no singing it is actually the bit before Isaac Hayes starts singing. There are no lyrics in it to link it to Shaft just a short guitar solo about 10 seconds long.

Would this be o.k???

Regarding any motion picture soundtrack (ie) terminator 2 there is a short 5-second part of a track I would like to use it is the bit were the T1000 is running after a truck. Not really instantly recognisable to T2 (ie) not a main theme tune. Again literally 5-10 seconds long.

Is this kind of thing acceptable with other soundtracks as long as I use short bits like mentioned above??

Andy must point out during the 10 second watch chime bit from a track of the Few Dollars More Soundtrack there is a bit of music on there that might be recognisable. That kind of music is quite unique. Not on all the time (ie) some bits with just watch chime but other bits music does come in. Again literally using 5-10 seconds that’s it.

I suppose it’s not like copying a famous singer whose voice is instantly recognised and known to belong to that person..

Am I right in thinking Andy that the worse case scenario is I get contacted and asked to remove the video or remove the music clip from the video?

Is the same true with photo’s (ie) Use a photo and either never get contacted or if I do I just say sorry and take down straightaway.

Or can you end up in court even if you take down immediately?

Thanks so much as always Andy-J-

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:39 pm
by AndyJ
The issue of what is or isn't substantial is always difficult because ultimately a court would have to decide that. But the precursor to that is whether the copyright owner (or more likely their lawyers) feel there is a case worth pursuing. American lawyers wil be familar with the fact that in US law there is a provision for parody and would probably see your use of short snippets of music and film soundtrack as being just that, and not some attempt at stealing income from them, as might be the case with illegal file sharers. But you do have to consider the chance that a copyright owner will be somewhat irrational and make a stand over what they see as a point of principle. (For an example of that see here). This could cause you a lot of grief and considerable expense. But as with anything in life you can spend too much time over-analysing the what-ifs, and miss the opportunity.
As you say, the most likely thing which would happen - because it is cheap and easy to do - is that a complainant will contact YouTube with a TakeDown notice and YouTube will remove your video. The chances of any of it going to court is probably slim, but that does remain as an option even if the video is taken down straight away. I would be pretty sure that the film soundtrack clips you want to use would qualify as insubstantial, the Shaft intro is borderline, but probably on balance, acceptable use due to its insubstantiality. The dog photograph causes me the greatest concern, because its use would be substantial and if it is an image from Getty or one of the other large image libraries, it may well have tracing data embedded in it, allowing them to track its use (more difficult if it is part of a video I admit) and Getty in particular have a fearsome reputation for going after alleged infringers and demanding large sums not to take legal action. See this thread if you need convincing.

Thanks again Andy-J- !!!!!!

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:39 am
by slimbob
Andy you are a star !

You have really given me solid guidelines to follow.I totally appreciate this is not legal advice Andy and so what I decide to do is down to me and I take full responsibility.However your sensible advice is absolutely priceless.

No more questions Andy you have covered everything so well , thanks a million.

After looking at the link about Getty and other posts on this great forum I seem I am not the only one who thinks so highly of you sir.

I really appreciate your time and help with my questions Andy-J-

All the very best to you! :lol:

pocket watch sample for a few dollars more.

Posted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:14 pm
by andyd
On a similar query..I'm in a rock band and we have used the pocket watch sample on the beginning of a track which we intend to release on an album.
The sample from the 'for a few dollars more' is used to set the tone of the song using maybe 15 secs before the original music kicks in. The sample is again used at the fade out of the tune.
So, do i need to get clearance and if so what's the best way to do it?
If we go ahead, what is the worst case scenario..
We could release the track without it but it sets the song up really well but is not a feature
please help


Posted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:43 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Andy,
Funnily enough there's another thread on the forums here about that same piece of music. (I assume it's the first 20 seconds of this video you are referring to).
If so and you are not including any video from the film, we are just concerned with the music copyright. I'm not sure whether the tune that the watch plays is original or a traditional tune that Ennio Morricone has incorporated into his. Assuming it is original then I would suggest that you would need permission to use the sample. Your best bet is to speak to PRSforMusic about whether you need a licence, and if you do, they can probably give you details of who to contact as Morricone's represenative. Make sure you strees that you are only interested in the music, and not any part of the Sergio Leone film or they may send you off to United Artists, who are the wrong people to deal with on this.