Copyright Music in Weddings- New Factors

Shake your booty down the aisle!

Shake your booty down the aisle!

The last time I wrote, I talked about the now famous Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz wedding march on YouTube, which gave a whole new meaning to wedding entrance. Today I read a great follow up article by the New York Times about it’s monetary effects of a song that not only is over a year old, but is performed by spurned girlfriend-beating recording artist, Chris Brown.

Read the article here on the New York Times site.

The song (Forever) has skyrocketed in sales to #4 on iTunes and #3 on Amazon! All of this from a viral video, giving Chris Brown some much needed money for attorney fees.

You may be asking right about now about what I’m getting at here, is it another shameless self-promotion of professional wedding video coming to the rescue? Normally, yes, it would be (what else would I use this blog for)! However, I found a different message that I can harp on this week.

For those that do not know, it is not “technically” legal to use the copyrighted works of other artists within our videos, whether it be music from a well known artist, photos from another professional photographer, or stock video from another videographer (why a video guy would do that anyway is beyond me). I say “technically”, because when it comes to music, there is a decades long debate about the validity of using popular songs in wedding video, which has been an internal struggle among videographer associations around the world.

Half of the videographers say that this is a personal wedding video that is not being mass produced, and therefore should be able to use favored songs. Just as if someone was editing their vacation video in iMovie, where they can select any of their favorite iTunes to appear in the movie from within the application.

Others say that any use of outside artistry infringes on copyright, and artists should get paid for their work. After all, a videographer would not want his wedding video mass-distributed by someone else and not given proper credit for their work too, right?

There are a multitude of other arguments and factors in this debate, but these are the core points of each. (We happen to offer your favorite popular music for your wedding videos in case you were wondering).

But now, back to the point of the topic: Chris Brown just made a few extra million off of a wedding video! What the publishers and music giants have been arguing against all along is that they are not making money off of music being illegally used in “small distribution” videos. What some of us videographers have been countering all along is that not only are these songs being bought to play in the videos, but the videos are actually promoting the songs and artists to people watching them! And now, this viral video has lent substantial proof to that theory! All we needed was a large scale demographic of that to show us! Before viral video, we only has small groups watching videos, so that the theory could not be substantiated.

This is what I say to the music publishers, bigwigs, and music artists- let us create videos to your songs without recourse, and with your blessings. Part of the sentimentality of wedding video is an aural sensation that the bride and groom can emotionally connect with. In our culture, so many memories have been connected with that of music. Why not attach those songs to people’s most visual memories, like that of a wedding day or other sentimental event?

What are your thoughts on this subject? We’d like to know!

Comments (2)

  1. Hi there. I loved this article. Your conclusion is the best I’ve heard on the topic being a wedding videographer myself.

    You know I did some looking into licensing music for ‘less than 25 copies of DVD distribution.’ It was going to cost me $5.50 for each song used for up to 25 copies. 26 -50 copies would be $11.00 and so on for each multiple of 25.

    Get this, to use a single song in a wedding trailer on my website – $500 and up!!!!

    Can you believe that? How could anyone in business afford that?

    I emailed the licensing company about this charge and they haven’t responded…

    Oh well.

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