Filming Live Bands in Pubs and Clubs

Copyright matters affecting music and musicians.
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DPVideography
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Filming Live Bands in Pubs and Clubs

Post by DPVideography » Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:38 am

Hi

I'm currently looking into the viability of recording gigs of unsigned bands in pubs and clubs. The footage will then be edited and posted online for promotional purposes. The bands will be performing both original music and cover versions.

If anybody has experience of the copyright issues in this situation that I need to be aware of, your help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

David
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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:35 pm

Hi David,
The first thing to say is that you need the permission of the bands you record. They have rights in their performance which includes a say in how recordings of their work may be made available to the public. Since your aim is to help to promote them, this shouldn't be a major issue. But if they already have a recording contact or a management contract this may prevent them from giving permission to record them.
Once that aspect has been taken care of, you need to ascertain that the band has a licence (probably from PRS for Music) to perform the songs which they cover. If they don't they are infringing the copyright of the composers/lyricists, and this in turm would make your recording an infringing copy also. This is possibly more important for you than for the bands. If they are doing gigs in pubs and clubs, it may be a long time before PRS catch up with them, whereas your video on the internet will be found very easily and PRS will come after you. Obviously where the bands perform their own songs, no licence is required.
You will then own the copyright in any film (the term includes both video footage and the accompanying soundtrack) you make, subject to having the permission previously mentioned. Ideally you you should draw up a simple contract between you and the bands you feature in order to safeguard you in the future. This should make it clear that you are the copyright holder for the film, and also acknowledge the performer's media rights.
You can find a lot of general tips here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/filmnetwork/filmma ... /checklist

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Post by DPVideography » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:58 pm

Hi Andy
Thanks for this.

So as long as the band are licenced to perform the songs, I don't need a separate licence to record them?

If that's the case then my current thinking is that the venue needs to be licenced (venue's responsibility), the band needs to be licenced (band's resonsibilty) and so long as those two criteria are met, I don't personally need any licence to record them, other than an agreement with the band as to how and where the footage is to be used.

Please correct me if I'm wrong and thanks again.
David
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Post by AndyJ » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:18 pm

Hi David,
Unfortunately I think you may be wrong, and I apologise for omitting this aspect on my previous reply. Going on the precedent of Youtube, Vimeo etc, I think you will need a licence to put out on the Internet any performance which includes a copyright song which has been legally covered by a band. This is certainly the case with recordings (whether just sound or video including sound) which are themselves copyright (eg music videos put out as promos) but I am not sure exactly what the licence obtained by the band allows them to do in respect of the lyrics. You could check with the PRS but I would rather expect them to say you need a licence even if you don't! Maybe you could take a look at one of the band's licence to see what it says on this subject.

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Post by CopyrightAid » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:18 am

Hi..

In my experience, it is normally the venue that is licensed by the PRS, rather that the band.

i.e. the normal PRS license allows the to playing or performance of music on the premises (not onward distribution).

If you are distributing the music, then the standard PRS licence would not apply. Though the other side of the PRS-for-music alliance - the MCPS should be able to help you out further.

In my experience if you are distributing a recording that is a cover of someone else's song, then permission is needed. If you sell copies, you should also expect to pay royalties on every copy sold.
- this probably also applies to any distribution? (even free) - but the main reason why people get away with posting on YouTube etc. is that it normally helps promote the original artist in any case and the person posting does not make any money out of it.. - i.e. it's technically illegal but the copyright owners don't really mind or it is not worth the effort and cost of pursuing a claim.

You say that the posting is for 'promotional purposes' - I am guessing that if you are not distributing (i.e. broadcasting rather than allowing the tracks to be downloaded) then there will be a PRS licence for this - i.e. you could get a license for your site.

Either way, the MCPS or PRS are the people you really want to talk to:
www.prsformusic.com

Of course if you only use the songs that were written by the band themselves (no cover versions) - you will be fine with the bands consent (subject to any recording contract the band has that prevents this of course, as AndyJ has already mentioned).

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Post by DPVideography » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:49 pm

Thanks for these replies.

I think I'm going to concentrate on the original music side of things, and talking to a few bands it's their own stuff that they are more keen to promote anyway.

As for an agreement with the band, am I thinking along the right lines with I own and retain copyright ownership of the recorded audio & visual, they own and retain copyright ownership of the music and lyrics and we each grant the other premission to use the content in good faith and good taste etc.

Thanks
David
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