Who owns the copyright

Tracing copyright owners and asking permission.
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Who owns the copyright

Post by mo_201 »

Hi, I'm part of a group who ran a small entertainment festival this year. On one night of the festival one of our group who owns and runs a dance/drama academy put a show on for us.

We paid a video man to film the show for us. He says he owns the copyright to the film not us, or the girl who put the show on and that we have the sales rights only. Is this correct? There was no written contract

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Post by AndyJ »

Hi Mary,
With films and videos, the copyright belongs jointly to the producer and the director:
9 Authorship of work.
(1) In this Part “author”, in relation to a work, means the person who creates it.
(2) That person shall be taken to be—
  • (aa) in the case of a sound recording, the producer;
    (ab) in the case of a film, the producer and the principal director;
I think that in this case the director would be the person who shot the video, and the producer is probably you, the organisers, because the definition of a producer is given in Section 178 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act as:
“producer”, in relation to a sound recording or a film, means the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the making of the sound recording or film are undertaken;
In other words, there is something of a stalemate: he can't exploit the video without your permission, and you can't without his. That said, although there was no written contract I think there was clearly a contract in that you engaged him to shoot the video and presumably paid him the agreed fee. On that basis I would be reasonably certain a court would find that it was implicit in the contract that you would have a licence to use the video, although maybe not one to sell or give away copies of it, which I assume is what you would like to be able to do.
The videographer will not be able to sell or distribute copies without your permission. I assume that the dancers gave their permission for the show to be videoed.
182 Consent required for recording, &c. of live performance.
(1) A performer’s rights are infringed by a person who, without his consent—
  • (a) makes a recording of the whole or any substantial part of a qualifying performance directly from the live performance,
    (b) broadcasts live, the whole or any substantial part of a qualifying performance,
    (c) makes a recording of the whole or any substantial part of a qualifying performance directly from a broadcast of, the live performance.
(2) repealed
(3) In an action for infringement of a performer’s rights brought by virtue of this section damages shall not be awarded against a defendant who shows that at the time of the infringement he believed on reasonable grounds that consent had been given.
It sounds as if you both need to have a calm discussion about how to resolve this without the need for lawyers or the courts, which would be in neither of your interests.
Good luck
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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