Broadcasting Legality Questions

TheaterEd

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Recently experienced by this school's fundraiser embattled with the Mouse.... never square off against the mouse.
It's worth pointing out that Movie Licensing USA is the entity that fined the school. They represent Disney, along with a ton of other companies to provide license to show movies. Most school districts know to acquire this license so that their teachers can show movies and shows in their classrooms. Once the fine became a news story, Bob donated to the organization that was originally fined.

I worry that this sort of gives people permission to disregard copy write laws in schools. I mean, somehow this school did Aliens the stage play, and rather than receive a fine, they got funded to remount it for another weekend and praised for their 'fair use adaptation'.

This irritates me, because I have to constantly be the 'bad guy' when my students ask me to do things like this. I love that they were able to do this, but I'm not willing to risk my job to find out whether or not they'll enforce their fines on me.
 

Lextech

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Dec 2, 2013
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Virginia
It depends... but your better bet might be to webstream. Today, most performance agreements allow live streaming of a performance, but it cannot be available for replay/download. Ironically I work in a broadcast department for an education institution and that's an easier route for us to go even though we own a broadcast station 😂
We don't have a TV station at the university, but this is exactly what we do here.
 

MRW Lights

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NYC
It's worth pointing out that Movie Licensing USA is the entity that fined the school. They represent Disney, along with a ton of other companies to provide license to show movies. Most school districts know to acquire this license so that their teachers can show movies and shows in their classrooms. Once the fine became a news story, Bob donated to the organization that was originally fined.

I worry that this sort of gives people permission to disregard copy write laws in schools. I mean, somehow this school did Aliens the stage play, and rather than receive a fine, they got funded to remount it for another weekend and praised for their 'fair use adaptation'.

This irritates me, because I have to constantly be the 'bad guy' when my students ask me to do things like this. I love that they were able to do this, but I'm not willing to risk my job to find out whether or not they'll enforce their fines on me.
Well... there's a few things to consider here regarding copyright law. I'll preface this by saying I am not a certified lawyer nor should my experience be taken as legal advice. Though I have spent many years embattled with entertainment and intellectual property law, my thoughts are simply a culmination of my experiences and studies.

The school that did Aliens the stage play adapted a screenplay as part of an educational group. There were no previously licensed versions of the material and there was no inherent intent to monetize their work. Most of all, no one was out for the money. Disney may hold the record for intellectual property lawsuits as they have a long dark history of chasing them and breaking them. *ahem* Mary Poppins *ahem* Mickey Mouse *ahem*

The disney school specifically sold tickets (monetized another individual's/company's intellectual property) for a viewing of a film. Even though the tickets were optional. It was considered a public event and members in attendance paid an admission fee.

Using videos in an educational setting to foster discussion centered around an educational topic is often considered "Fair Use". Someone such as a YouTube Creator may even use protected clips within certain limits for means of satire, discussion or critique. The separation is typically defined as an event being open to an audience outside the viewing of a private home / event and the monetization with intent to earn a profit from the intellectual property.
 

TimMc

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Feb 15, 2017
Definitely not my area of expertise but leads me to some questions I’ve always wondered about and please tell me if I need to post it somewhere else or just ignore. They relate to dance competitions and recitals (both my daughters danced in that world). Specifically the music that’s simply pulled and cut, sometimes remixed slightly, to put into the 2-3 minute format used in the dance. It’s often recorded and later sold to parents and often live-streamed as well. YouTube is full of videos that the choreographer s are making money from. Legally speaking who’s responsible? The choreographer? Dancer? Dance school? Venue? Also does YouTube enforce
Public performance rights granted under compulsory license are usually tied to the *venue*. Both our local PAC and county-owned arena pay compulsory license fees to BMI and ASCAP and possibly others. They can recoup some or all of these from clients that use the facilities. Synchronization must be deliberate; i.e. if the video camera mic just picks up the music, it's likely to be considered "wild", but if video person is sent a feed from a mixer, it is synch'd. Learned this working for Showtime boxing... no incidental music in my primary audio feed to the truck - they played all the cleared, 'synchronized' music in a feed back to me as well as broadcast. When it was time for the undercard fighters to do their ring walks, the music was picked up by the announcer's microphones so was "wild".

YouTube moves pretty fast to take down clips for copyright infringement when there is a complaint... but you'd have to get an answer from them as to what does and does not justify a take-down.
 

Jay Ashworth

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Feb 7, 2014
Location
St Pete FL USA
Synchronization must be deliberate; i.e. if the video camera mic just picks up the music, it's likely to be considered "wild", [ ... ]

YouTube moves pretty fast to take down clips for copyright infringement when there is a complaint... but you'd have to get an answer from them as to what does and does not justify a take-down.
Though Youtube doesn't understand the first item; they hear it, they fingerprint it, they pull you.

Ask WorldCon London.
 

Calc

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Jan 26, 2004
Location
Mid-Michigan
Youtube operates under DMCA Safe Harbor rules. Essentially:
1. When someone claims copyright on a video, Youtube pulls it immediately. In exchange, Youtube itself isn't liable for infringement.
2. The poster can either let the video stay down, or reply with a counter-notice. The counter-notice requires Youtube to put it back up, but is a legal statement under penalty of perjury that you have rights to publish the video.
3. The rightsholder can then sue you directly (or let it go), since you've claimed you have the rights.

More info here: https://www.eff.org/issues/intellectual-property/guide-to-youtube-removals
 

Ben Stiegler

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Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
Does anyone know the legality surrounding broadcasting school choral/band/orchestra concerts?

My school district has a public access channel for district specific events, and I am attempting to find out how to get approval (and from whom) to put the various concerts on this channel. I have heard from others in the past that the companies don't bother with high schools, but that answer isn't really sufficient for me or my district. Before we move our discussion along, I want to find out how to be 100% legal; as an artist myself, I also have a strong desire to ensure royalties and compensation are made appropriately.

If you have any information, please send it my way!
tiny bit of reference matl - https://www.huffpost.com/entry/live-streaming-video-is-it-legal_b_59a6d4e9e4b08299d89d0b3e

I will say that Carleton and Yale (for 2 examples) have been streaming orchestra/band/dance performances for some time. Carleton has been touchier about theatre productions, but I think its more an internal issue. Here's Yale's site - https://music.yale.edu/live
 
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Jay Ashworth

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St Pete FL USA
From that piece:

"Are you capturing copyrighted content?"

Well, of *course* you are -- *everything* is copyrighted from inception nowadays.

That's the fundamental reason why copyright is broken, and *has* to change.

No sense *having* the rest of the conversation in light of that one answer, as far as I can see.

Followup thought: If someone is streaming you in public, and you don't want them to, *immediately* start singing a Disney song at the top of your lungs.
 

StradivariusBone

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there is another group that focuses on public performance in Houses of Worship
I think you're talking about CCLI. And TimMc is spot on with BMI and ASCAP. They own practically everything regarding music. I can speak from my experience as a recovering music educator, a lot of the basic band and chorus literature will have the rights attached to them for most performance situations that school bands will encounter. I found that adapting music to perform for a marching band presented new challenges, but both BMI and ASCAP had systems in place to apply for rights at varying costs. Some literature, particularly new or higher level music, will have special leases even to perform the work which further complicates the matter. Much like doing a musical, you never own the paper you just rent it. With those, the companies you rent it from will be able to explain what you can do with it. A good place to start would be simply calling the place you bought the music from. I found that often enough they had a relationship with the publisher and can give you an idea of who to contact and what to expect.
 
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gafftaper

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Here's a fun side note. I discovered that a parent 6 years ago recorded a performance of Grease at my school, broke it into 15 parts and posted it on YouTube. I went on and tried to get it pulled because I didn't want our current production of Grease to be in trouble for violation of the contract. So I reported the posts as a violation. Youtube not only refused to pull them they threatened to ban me from YouTube for waisting their time with a false report. They said that only the copyright holder is allowed to complain. So Sam French can pull them in the course of suing our theater, but I can't pull the videos to protect myself. I tried to argue that they had filmed minors without permission and that we may not own the script but we do own that licensed performance. They refused and kept threatening me. Finally I have up and was able to work with some alumni to figure out who filmed the performance and asked him to take them down which he did. So yeah, YouTube doesn't understand our industry and how our contracts work.
 
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TimMc

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Feb 15, 2017
Here's a fun side note. I discovered that a parent 6 years ago recorded a performance of Grease at my school, broke it into 15 parts and posted it on YouTube. I went on and tried to get it pulled because I didn't want our current production of Grease to be in trouble for violation of the contract. So I reported the posts as a violation. Youtube not only refused to pull them they threatened to ban me from YouTube for waiting their time with a false report. They said that only the copyright holder is allowed to complain. So Sam French can pull them in the course of suing our theater, but I can't pull the videos to protect myself. I tried to argue that they had filmed minors without permission and that we may not own the script but we do own that licensed performance. They refused and kept threatening me. Finally I have up and was able to work with some alumni to figure out who filmed the performance and asked him to take them down which he did. So yeah, YouTube doesn't understand our industry and how our contracts work.
I'm pretty sure the Alphabet legal team sees this as a matter of "standing". You're not the victim of the alleged copyright infringement - you're neither the owner of the copyrights nor an agent thereof - so you have no legal standing to bring a copyright claim or request take-down on that basis.
 

gafftaper

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I'm pretty sure the Alphabet legal team sees this as a matter of "standing". You're not the victim of the alleged copyright infringement - you're neither the owner of the copyrights nor an agent thereof - so you have no legal standing to bring a copyright claim or request take-down on that basis.
Yep. We don't own the copyright so we can't take it down. They didn't care that we could be sued by the copyright holder if a third party violated our contract. I believe fines run up to $25,000 per post. If I would have still had the contract paperwork I think I would have had a shot at getting it pulled. But since that teacher and paperwork were long gone, they didn't care.
 

Kristi R-C

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There are folks working to get the copyright law changed to better reflect the reality of the needs of schools right now.

E.g. someone mentioned showing a film in your class was OK - it is IF it is part of the "regular curriculum" and the only people present are the teacher and the "regularly matriculated students." I can't show Lion King in science class, unless it's supporting something in the science curriculum. But right now, you can't show it to your students in your class that's meeting via Zoom because you are broadcasting it, even if the only folks in the Zoom meeting are the teacher and regularly matriculated students and it supports the curriculum. Thankfully, some of the rights holders "get" it and are making content available for free for a limited time. I'm excited about the Hugh Jackman Oklahoma this weekend!

As folks who make a living in the performing arts we want to keep these laws strict, BUT make it easier for people to pay a reasonable amount and use the materials. Whether you are making money or not is not part of the argument about "is this copyright infringement" but it very much is part of the "how much do you owe the rights holder for damages?" We all deserve to earn a living and our students deserve to see high quality performances at a reasonable cost.