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Using Clips of 80's, 90's Music Videos For Live Documentary/Virtual Meeting

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by egrizzly, Mar 18, 2021.

  1. egrizzly

    egrizzly Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Other
    So our alumni group is considering doing a live documentary of how 80's and 90's music had an influence in the schools culture. Does the law allow for music video clips of these "old school" 80's and 90's video to be played during the live documentary that involves 100 - 200 people watching over virtual meeting (Zoom) ?

    Take for instance, the '90s music video (What About Your Friends) below: Can you play clips of it while the alumni comments on how it affected the school culture after the clip?

    What About Your Friends Youtube Link

    So can you use it in this format? <Play 30 seconds of video> <2 mins commentary by alumni> <Play 30 seconds of video> <2 mins commentary by alumni> ? So actually, if it can be used can you more experienced legal folks share a link to the legal write-up that allows the usage (or provide the name)? He would need this to even allow any discussion of this concept.

    The artists are credited at the end of the event.
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Sorry - this forum is for US law matters only.
     
  3. egrizzly

    egrizzly Law Topic Starter New Member

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    ...yeah Zigner, this is about US law as it applies to using copyrighted content during a live documentary for an alumni group. Both the music band (TLC), and the alumni group (a college in Oklahoma) are based in the US
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Check the attitude at the door - you stated that the jurisdiction was "other".
     
  5. egrizzly

    egrizzly Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Didn't mean to seem like that of course. I didn't find any option for "US" or "United States". I couldn't really figure out which US state handles copyright law so I chose "Other"
     
  6. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough - It's US law, so it's definitely proper in this forum :)
     
  7. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I'm not really sure what you mean by "live documentary." However, the answer is likely no.

    The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to do (or refrain from doing) or to license others to do several things, including making a public performance of the work. 17 U.S.C. section 106. To perform a work publicly means "to perform . . . it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered." 17 U.S.C. section 101. A "virtual meeting" would unquestionably meet that definition.

    Interspersing the song with something else won't change the legal conclusion.

    That's the sort of thing that lawyers get paid for.

    Who is "he"?
     
  8. egrizzly

    egrizzly Law Topic Starter New Member

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    _He_ is the president of our alumni organization.
     
  9. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    So...he wants an opinion letter from an attorney before he will consider what you're talking about? Sounds like a very smart guy.
     
    army judge likes this.
  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    If you are playing entire songs, even broken into short clips then, no, not without consent of the copyright holders.

    However, you should also read Section 107 of the Copyright Act that addresses fair use for educational purposes and see if you can structure the presentation so that it falls into that category:

    More Information on Fair Use | U.S. Copyright Office

    No guarantees, of course. When in doubt, get consent.
     
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Many decades ago I enjoyed listening to on radio and later watching on TV "The Screen Director’s Playhouse" with my parents.

    The Screen Director’s Playhouse refers to the popular 1949 anthology series heard on both the radio and television. It featured Hollywood stars like Fred Astaire and Lucille Ball. The show was initially entitled the Screen Director's Guild Assignment, and later, The NBC Theater, before it became known as The Screen Director’s Playhouse. From its pilot episode, up to its last air date on September 28, 1952, over 100 episodes were produced. Some of the films featured in the series were The Best Years of Our Lives, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Stagecoach, A Foreign Affair, Music for Millions, The Human Comedy, The Magnificent Obsession, and It's a Wonderful Life.

    I have always wondered how "The Screen Director’s Playhouse" get away with airing all of those popular movies, often with other actors than the original stars?




    250px-Screen_Director's_Playhouse_-_Flamingo_Road.gif




    https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/drama/the-screen-directors-playhouse/5

    <i>Screen Directors Playhouse</i>
     
  12. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    By getting consent, of course.

    These days, you watch a movie and at the end there's an endless supply of credits acknowledging the consent for everything that appeared in the movie.
     
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  13. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I imagine they negotiated for the right(s) to do so.
     
  14. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Note that the summary you linked, while informative, does not come close to fully discussing the topic of fair use, and the statute alone is not enough to understand fair use either. There is lot of case law on the subject that is important to study to have a good grasp of it.

    Moreover, fair use is a defense when sued for infringement. Fair use will not necessarily prevent you from getting sued and having to expend what may be tens of thousands of dollars to defend yourself.
     
  15. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    There are companies called music clearance companies that specialize in arranging the rights for businesses involved in production work.
     
  16. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I suspect people were more inclined to negotiate and compromise during the first half of the 20th century, which appears not to be the result in the first half of the 21st century.
     
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