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Slideshow Video Copyright (& DJ Copyright Laws)

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by MeaghanFaulk, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. MeaghanFaulk

    MeaghanFaulk Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,

    I'd like to start my own slideshow video business but I'm not sure how that would work as far as using copyrighted songs. I feel like there's a similarity with DJs using copyrighted songs when hosting a party. How does copyright work when it comes to using music and how can I use songs in my slideshow business?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    You will want to get licenses for using the songs, just as DJs are required to. Contact ASCAP (as a start).
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Copyright law gives the owner of a copyright a number of exclusive rights, including the right to perform a work publicly, the right to distribute the work and the right to prepare derivative works. Incorporating an existing sound recording into an audio-visual work would constitute the creation of a derivative work. Distributing the audio-visual work would include distribution of any components in that work. If you do any of these things without having authorization from the copyright owner, you are infringing the copyright and will be subject to being sued.

    Just as an FYI, ASCAP and BMI are performing rights societies that represent music publishers and songwriters. They issue blanket licenses for public performance of musical compositions owned by their members. They do not license anything more than that, and that's an important distinction between what DJs do and what would be necessary for a slideshow.

    When a DJ plays a sound recording publicly, the only copyright at issue is the musical composition copyright (typically owned by the songwriter but also typically assigned to a publishing company for the purpose of administering the copyright), and the only exclusive right at issue is the public performance right. There is no public performance right for sound recordings (except in connection with digital audio transmissions). Therefore, the only licenses that a DJ needs are ASCAP and BMI blanket licenses (which cover 90+% of popular music).

    When a sound recording is incorporated into a slideshow, there is much more at issue. The person creating the slideshow will need licenses from the owners of both the musical composition and sound recording copyrights. These are two separate copyrights.

    The distinction between a musical composition copyright and a sound recording copyright is as follows: Let's say that John picks up his guitar and writes a song. He also writes lyrics. He makes a recording of himself playing and singing the song. John now owns the musical composition copyright in that song. He also owns the sound recording copyright in the recording itself. John takes his song to his band and plays them the recording. They agree to include it on the next album. They go into a recording studio and create a recording. That is a new sound recording and, traditionally, that copyright will be owned by the band's record company, Ubiquitous Music Group. John assigns his musical composition copyright to JohnSongs, Ltd., a publishing company. JohnSongs, Ltd. is a member of ASCAP. If a DJ wants to play John's band's recording, that DJ needs an ASCAP blanket license (or a license direct from JohnSongs). If someone wants to incorporate the recording of the song from the album into a slideshow, licenses will be needed both from JohnSongs and from Ubiquitous.
     

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