The announcement of the SVN LipDub contest has raised the usual questions and comments about the use of copyrighted material in student-produced videos.
Hardly a week goes by that some teacher doesn’t ask about the feasibility of using copyrighted music. What is “fair use”? How do I get permission? Can I even get permission? This doesn’t apply just to LipDubs, but the use of any copyrighted material in any production.
“The probability of even a private citizen being sued for copyright infringement increases all the time. The recent fury over unauthorized copying of music files is the latest instance of copyright holders using the Copyright Act to enforce their rights. In the last few months, multi-national corporations have (even) sued children. If you produce videos that you will sell, broadcast or show in a public setting, it's wise to be concerned about copyright,” says Mark Levy, patent attorney and video producer.
“ ....if the video will be played outside of your classroom, you must obtain “copyright licenses” for the program. “Outside of your classroom” is a clear phrase which may be taken literally. It includes showing the video over the Internet, for example, on Youtube.com or SchoolTube.com,” warns Phil Harris, author of the new Television Production textbook being released this spring.
School Video News believes that we must teach our students to comply with industry standards and all the copyright laws and restrictions. Therefore, researching material that they want to include is a key component of that assignment or project. It also teaches them how to reach beyond the classroom, into the real world. By following the proper steps, we teach our students the ethical way to conduct business.
Barry Starlin Britt cautions us, “Don’t base your permission on that given by the artist or composer unless they are the sole owner of the copyrighted music. (Crediting the artist does you no good). You can almost bet that any popular piece of music is not owned by the artist but possibly by many, such as producers, publishers, attorneys and many others. This can be a problem, because you need permission from all parties.”
You would be surprised how many license holders will in fact grant permission. Its better to take the extra time and follow the procedures than attempt to shortcut the process. There are many articles in SVN addressing copyright and obtaining permissions. Here are links to four of our most read and popular: