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petewood

[web] UK copyright - streaming video with someone elses music

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Hello everyone, I've only ever hung out on the General Programming Forums before. I'm moving into website development and have a few questions. In the UK, what is the legal position on streaming home made content which contains copyrighted artists music? So, for example, if I had a site with videos of me doing lipsynch to Madonna's 'Holiday', would there be royalty issues? What if there was a site of hundreds of performances? How would this be changed if the access was private? What about if there was a charge for the content? What if we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate, just one day out of life? It would be, it would be so nice. Thanks for any help, Pete

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Technically, if you are redistributing someone else's music, regardless of various alterations, you need to obtain permission from the copyright holder. To complicate matters, when it comes to music the copyright holder is usually neither the artist or even the record label, but a specially designated publisher. You can usually obtain a license to use the tracks from them. Look here.

Unfortunately the degree of access and the amount you charge for it have no bearing on the legality - although they will be taken into account when you're in court and they're deciding how much damages you need to pay. ;)

The only way you can get to use the tracks without obtaining a license is under some sort of 'fair use' provision, which generally extends only to allowing you to copy only as much as you need to achieve some other goal. eg. you can quote a paragraph from a book in the process of reviewing it. but you can't reproduce the whole book and claim it's just there to back up your review. There's almost no way in which reproduction or distribution of entire tracks is going to be considered fair use under UK law.

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Thanks for that. I figured that would be the case.

Oh, boy. This is going to get complicated. How do you talk to a client who is saying "don't worry, we've checked that we're okay legally, we're okay if we're streaming and the users aren't actually downloading". Yes, I know the distinction of streaming and downloading is irrelevant. You can save streamed media, etc. The whole basis for their website is going to be in question.

Is the customer always right?

After reading up some more stuff (thanks for the link too), they'll have to pay some licence but also keep track of what peoples' performances are, where (internationally) content is being streamed to, how many downloads, etc. This isn't going to be as simple a job as they'd made out.

Thanks again.

Pete

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Quote:
Original post by petewood
How do you talk to a client who is saying "don't worry, we've checked that we're okay legally, we're okay if we're streaming and the users aren't actually downloading".


You don't [grin]

Seriously. Tell them what you found, give them the link and tell them that if they don't manage to convince you that (a) what they do is legal (not going to happen) or (b) they get licenses, that they will need to find another webdesigner.

That is assuming you do not take the stance of "What the hell, it's his problem, not mine" which I would not advise.

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Quote:
Original post by petewood
How do you talk to a client who is saying "don't worry, we've checked that we're okay legally, we're okay if we're streaming and the users aren't actually downloading".


Point out that radio stations have to pay royalties and they're merely 'streaming' the stuff too? http://www.ppluk.com/ may help here. The actual cost might not be that high, but there is a cost. In particular, look here.

Quote:
Is the customer always right?


Not if they get you dragged through the courts as an accessory to copyright infringement. ;)

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This is all really helpful. Thanks for the advice. I'm not really in a position to call the shots, but I'll communicate the seriousness of the situation to my colleagues.

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