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Kiester
02-22-2010, 05:37 AM
I didn't know where else to put this damned thing, so I placed it in this spongy place :).

I'm making a showreel of stuff I have made over the past coupla years, and one of the films I have made uses copyrighted material.

I made this under 'Fair Dealing' clause of UK Copyright Law, which is like 'Fair Use' but a lot stricter.

I'm going to use it in my showreel for non-commercial purposes, statting 'Fair Dealing' and used under educational study, which is also exempt.

Can someone help me clear this whole thing up?

Cheers,
Kiester x

leahzero
02-22-2010, 07:37 AM
I can't give you insight into the UK law, but as a motion graphics designer in the US, I can tell you that demo/show reels are pretty much never scrutinized for copyright issues. The worst that would probably happen is, if you post your video on a public video sharing site, it might get removed. I've found this is most likely to happen because of the music track used, not because of the video content.

Unless you plan to broadcast the reel in a public place and/or for profit, or use it in such a way that it damages the copyright holder's ability to profit from the work (e.g., would viewers have no need to view the original after seeing yours?), or otherwise do something that negatively impacts the original copyright holder in a tangible way--then you are extremely unlikely to have any problems.

Properly crediting and attributing the work will also help reduce that possibility to near-zero. In the US, it is usually not necessary to do this in the video itself, but in the textual shot breakdown you include that identifies the origin of each shot, and the capacity in which you worked on each.

What you may want to ensure is that you are not bound under any kind of non-disclosure agreement as regards the contents of the film in question.

Mac H.
02-22-2010, 08:01 AM
IANAL but there usually isn't a problem.

To add to leahzero's comments, there is a legal aspect which helps you.

For example, imagine that you asked me for a job reference. I write a glowing report and email it to you. You attached that glowing report to your resume and mailed it to a hundred people in your search for work.

If I had the foresight to register the copyright my glowing report of you - could I sue you for copyright infringement and make a minimum $600 for each violation - a total of $60k? (I'm assuming USA law for the sake of simplicity)

After all, technically I'm 100% in the right - I hold copyright in that piece of writing. You violated copyright by copying it.

Thankfully, however, there's an escape clause for the 'technically you violated copyright' argument.

Because you asked me for a reference, unless I specifically said "Don't copy this", I gave you an 'implied license' to use it in the way that a normal job reference is used.

This has been tested in the courts. Believe it or not, there was a graphics designer who created a logo for a company, then sued the company for putting the logo on their business cards!
The contract didn't say "Work for hire" and so when the company decided to use another graphics designer for the next job, the designer figured he could sue the company - or at least force them to take his logo off their business cards.

It didn't work. The court decided that while the designer still owned the copyright (since it wasn't work for hire) the 'I'll design a logo for you' offer implied that they would be able to use the logo for all the normal things logos are used for.

So, unless otherwise stated, you can argue that there is a general understanding that you'll use snippets of the footage that you shot in your director's reel.
It's an 'implied license'. That's the legalese version of what leahzero was saying.

On the other hand, this is actually a great opportunity for you.
You can use this as an excuse to give a followup call to all those people you worked with on past projects.
And if those people happen to mention some new work available .. then you win as well !

Mac
(PS: Definitely check that you are fine under non-disclosure agreements though)

Silver King
02-23-2010, 07:23 AM
Moved this discussion from Office Party in hopes that others may also weigh in on this issue.

WriteKnight
02-24-2010, 06:18 AM
UK law and US law are not exactly the same. I would point out that while you may be able to use the footage as some sort of 'fair use' in a demo reel - you are advertising the fact that you created a film utilizing footage that did not belong to you... which may NOT have been fair use. Follow me?

Are you sure you want to do that?

Kiester
03-01-2010, 08:38 PM
It's not the footage that I am worried about, it is the soundtrack.

It's a music video I created in university, so I'm thinking It's still admissible as original work, considering I used the soundtrack for educational purposes.

WriteKnight
03-02-2010, 02:04 AM
Synchronization rights - do you have them?

Lhun
03-03-2010, 06:38 PM
If at all possible, you should just ask the copyright holder.
Even if you're in the right and win in the end, getting sued is no fun. So, getting permission is better than proving in court you didn't have to get permission.
You can still think about whether it's worth fighting over it if you do not actually get a permission to show the video.

BenPanced
03-03-2010, 06:49 PM
If at all possible, you should just ask the copyright holder.
Even if you're in the right and win in the end, getting sued is no fun. So, getting permission is better than proving in court you didn't have to get permission.
You can still think about whether it's worth fighting over it if you do not actually get a permission to show the video.
Getting permission is a lot easier, too. And cheaper.