In the USA there has been some recent news that has shaken the wedding movie industry world wide. Joe Simon and two other big names have been sued by record companies over the illegal use of copyrighted music. Find more details about Joe’s case here on the Dare Dreamer Magazine blog.
It seems to be only very high hit count movies that are being targeted – up to the 100k mark so the vast magority have gotten away with it up to now. Apart from a few trail blazers such as Stillmotion the entire wedding film industry has been using copyrighted music since day dot for DVDs and for online trailers. The law is different here in the UK in a lot of ways. Mainly in that we can license any music to be used on DVDs through PPL. But there is no way of licensing music for online use. I have tried and tried, even getting in touch with individual record companies but have not had any joy. I started to get nervous about the whole situation half way through my third season (July 2011) as my company has become established and is now taken seriously by the international wedding film community. So I started to use only licenced music for any commercial video that is to go online. So I have a good handful of resent work that can stay in the public eye. The rest of my work will, sadly, be slowly taken down from my main wedding blog and made only available to the individual clients. This will happen in the next few weeks as it is a laborious task and a rather upsetting one.
That said, I think these developments will ultimately improve the industry as a whole. I personally have felt that my work has improved dramatically since I started using licensed music. A whole process of story telling using the language of film has been adopted into my way of working. Audio is now ‘king’ and I have found the use of natural sound mixed with a main narrative monologue is making every piece more personal and more honest as a movie. There are some pretty amazing licencable songs out there if you search around and if you use them to enhance your story rather than dictate it you will always end up with a movie that more reflects the experiences and feeling of the day.