Use of music on lip-sync video

Copyright matters affecting music and musicians.
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AndyRoss
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Use of music on lip-sync video

Post by AndyRoss »

Hi

This is my second post today on 2 different subject so if you are the moderatorplease don’t think the enquiries are frivolous! They’re both genuine.

My son films parties and weddings for a living in a lip-sync style. He gets each guest to sing a line from a song, then edits the clips so that they look as if they’re singing to the track, and exports the finished movie with the original track as the audio.

Aware that the music is copyright-protected he buys a licence every time a track is used from the MCPS which offers a ‘mechanical licence’ for use of music where the distribution is private and limited (the clients family and friends). He never puts the videos on social media. Other videographers who do this don’t bother buying a licence and put their work on YouTube which permits it for some tracks but not for others (depends on whether they have a revenue-sharing agreement with the copyright owner for as monies received).

The problem, if it is a problem, is that the MCPS website still refers to storage if the video on DVD and other hard media whereas nowadays everybody in wedding videography puts the finished product in the cloud and allows the client to download it. Same result, just a different medium.

My question is whether - in the opinion of anyone reading this - the licence which my son is buying is sufficient to cover the use he is making if the music? And if not, does anyone know of a licence which is more appropriate?

Thank you.
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AndyJ
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Re: Use of music on lip-sync video

Post by AndyJ »

Hi again Andy,

I am surprised that MCPS haven't updated their licences to match current practices. The problem possibly lies in what they are set up do licence - mechanical copies. The whole subject of how to deal with the newer technologies such as streaming and cloud services is a hot topic within the music business at present, so it may be that MCPS are waiting to see what happens more generally. Your son should contact MCPS and get written reassurance that using the cloud to distribute his recordings still falls within the terms of the licence he has bought. I'm pretty sure it will do because the purpose and scope of the reproduction is the same. However the contracts between MCPS and the major record labels may limit the types of media that MCPS is able to sell licences for, and since the cloud is not technically 'media' of the sort envisaged by these contracts (probably signed decades ago), this may be a stumbling block. If MCPS are unhelpful or worse still say the licences are not valid for this method of transfer, your son should speak to PRSforMusic to see if their Limited Manufacture licence is any more flexible. The important thing is that the artists and writers of the music need to be provided with fair remuneration for the use of their work.

The problem is that, in law, a physical disk or tape is treated differently to a purely digital file, and as yet the courts have yet to really get to grips all the issues that come with digital files that have no physical existence.
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
AndyRoss
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Re: Use of music on lip-sync video

Post by AndyRoss »

Dear Andy - thank you for your quick and helpful reply. The slowness of MCPS to update to licences which reflect how people store files is frustrating but what you say about their relationship with music companies does seem like one possible explanation. Thanks again.
Andrew
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