Video content can be a very sensitive subject when it comes to copyright law as it can be an easy target for copyright infringement. As a videographer, what you consider to be creative and novel ideas can actually be considered plagiarism if it already exists.
Similarly, other content creators out there can intentionally or unintentionally plagiarise your work. So not only do you need to be careful while using external content, but you also have to protect your own video copyrights.
Here are the copyright issues related to video that are going to help you.
1. Copyright Infringement
The act of using any copyright-protected material without the consent of the creator is called copyright infringement. So just because there’s content available online or within easy reach doesn’t mean you can use it without notifying the creator first.
2. Release forms
If you shoot a video with people as subjects, always make sure you have them sign a release form. This gives you the right to use the video for whatever intent and purpose. A release form isn’t required if there is no focus on a specific individual. So you don’t have to worry about passing around hundreds of forms to strangers in a crowd.
3. Location rights
While you are allowed to shoot in a public place without any signed notice, private shooting venues are off-limits unless you get a signed release from the property owner. In many public spaces in built-up areas (i.e. London) you may still require a permit from the local council for commercial filming. Seek out and consult the relevant local authority prior to shooting.
4. Legally acquire audio
Music is everything when it comes to making the perfect video. A videographer finding the right music for their video is an inexplicable moment of bliss. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to seek permission to use it, unless it’s royalty-free.
5. Stills and images
If you’d like to incorporate stills and images into your video, preferably shoot them yourself. Otherwise, you’re going to need to obtain permission from the original photographer.
6. Copyright registration
Copyright registration is an important process that protects your content from plagiarism. Register all your final work with the relevant government authorities to protect it from others.
7. Copyright notice
If you’re publicly releasing your video content, let everyone know it’s copyright- protected. You can do this by placing a copyright notice in the appropriate format.
8. Duration of copyright
Copyright doesn’t last forever, so it’s important to know when your video copyrights expire. There are different factors that determine the duration of the copyright such as the creator’s death, when it was released, etc., so it varies from case to case.
9. Fair Use
The Fair Use provision under Copyright Law over certain works and determines if a work can be used without the creator’s permission. An example of this is news reporting. However, if the creator disagrees with the use of their work, you may be looking at a lawsuit.
10. Losing copyright
Losing your video copyrights is very much a possibility and something every videographer should be aware of. When you publish your work on certain platforms, you may have to give up some or all of your rights to the video. If you’re working with a third party, make sure you read the fine print before releasing your work to them.
Worrying about copyright penalties should be the last thing to worry about while creating a video. Now that you know the golden rules of copyright law, you can be more careful in using other content or by registering your content for copyrights. It’s easier to avoid legal charges than be subjected to it after breaking the law.
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