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Rights over footage airing in public places


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#1 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:18 AM

For those of you who hired VHS tapes in the 80s and early 90s, many will be familiar with the copyright warnings before the movie starts. It states that without the copyright holder's permission, the video cannot be shown in clubs, schools, oil rigs, hospitals, coaches and prisons etc. I'm curious if the same things applies to all copyright holder's footage, even the average joe's home movies where no money is made from rentals or sale. Say someone recorded footage of their pet dog playing in their backyard with a camcorder, would the same restrictions prevent this footage from being played in the above mentioned places?
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:56 AM

No. Because the footage isn't copyrighted. If it was copyrighted, it doesn't matter how or whom recorded it; but the Average joe's dog's videos probably isn't copyrighted....
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#3 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 08:08 PM

Ah. I assumed the copyright situation was a similar case with still photography. I know that with still photography, whoever takes the photo automatically gains copyright over the image. That is unless they are taking photographs for an employer. Perhaps this just guards against unauthorised reproduction of the images, particularly when the offender is making money off the photos.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 08:30 PM

No, you're right and the same would be true here. If you were in ownership of the copy, e.g. the still photographer takes a photo for himself or herself and puts it in a closet. But once it's been distributed to another party you need to look into The right of first sale. This being the right, once I purchase something, that I can resell it, or use it as I wish, or even copy it, or in the case of a still photograph, make a photocopy of it or burn it ect. Copyright law is very difficult because a lot of this only holds true for analog. Now; this is different with digital things, that falls under the DMCA (or something like that), but in the case of a VHS tape, once it's out of your possession, it's just that. None of this even goes into any type of "fair use" arguments... And, in the end, unless you can afford to go to court over it, there is really no stopping someone. Again, if you really really really need to get that dog's footage from VHS out of the market place you should talk to a entertainment lawyer.
Furthermore, when you upload footage online, or often give it over to a company like America's Funniest videos, you sign away any rights you may have to it to allow them to distribute, and profit from it, and if you willing gave it out, well then you'd need to talk to a lawyer but I don't think you can "put the genie back in the bottle," as they say.
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#5 Will Earl

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 08:55 AM

But once it's been distributed to another party you need to look into The right of first sale. This being the right, once I purchase something, that I can resell it, or use it as I wish, or even copy it, or in the case of a still photograph, make a photocopy of it or burn it ect.


Once you purchase something you can resell it but you cannot make copies of it - this right to make copies is what copyright is all about - the ability for the copyright holder to make copies of their work.

ie. If you paint a picture and sell it to me, I can't take the picture and sell/give-away prints of your artwork. Same thing applies to any film, video or digital you shoot - you can certainly sell me a copy of your work, but I can't sell/give-away copies of your work.

As to the original question, any footage you shoot is copyrighted - no matter how mundane. It's up to you to decide how that footage is shown - if you don't want it to be shown in clubs, schools, oil rigs, hospitals, coaches and prisons then that's up to you.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 09:01 AM

Will; I thought that the right to copy works came out of that VHS suit a long time ago; also in terms of making a tape copy of a CD. Now you can't resell it [the copy], but you can make your own copies of it. A painting would be different, as there's no way to really "copy" the painting w/o photographing it (which'd be my own work) or repainting it (again my own work) .
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#7 Will Earl

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 05:36 AM

By photographing, repainting or scanning it you are still making copies of it.

http://fairuse.stanf...ter0/0-a.html#1

To qualify for copyright protection, a work must be "fixed in a tangible medium of expression." This means that the work must exist in some physical form for at least some period of time, no matter how brief. Virtually any form of expression will qualify as a tangible medium, including a computer's random access memory (RAM), the recording media that capture all radio and television broadcasts, and the scribbled notes on the back of an envelope that contain the basis for an impromptu speech.

In addition, the work must be original -- that is, independently created by the author. It doesn't matter if an author's creation is similar to existing works, or even if it is arguably lacking in quality, ingenuity or aesthetic merit. So long as the author toils without copying from someone else, the results are protected by copyright.


Perhaps an example closer to home might help... I can point a camera at the screen and film any of your work - but I can't claim that me-pointing-a-camera-at-a-screen is my own creative work and that I now own the right to distribute your work. Even if your work wasn't filling the frame, say it was a over-the-shoulder shot of a character watching your work on a tv screen, I'd still need permission from you in order to use the work, even through the majority of the shot belongs to me. If you weren't happy for me to use it then I'd have to find something else for the character to watch.

This summary of cases offers a few examples of what can be considered fair-use versus what is considered copyright infringement... http://fairuse.stanf...apter9/9-c.html

I suggest reading through the Stanford site, it gives a pretty good overview over copyright and fair-use. The PDF on this page also may be handy http://www.conoa.com/siggraph08/, it's a primer geared towards artists and software developers regarding intellictual property.
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