About Thinks

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Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

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Think long, think on.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Copyright - It's all the rage

I started making movies in 1986. My parents had friends that owned a television shop in Wanaka. When we visited their family one year they had a video camera. It was the beginning ...



A few years ago my year 3-4 class made a very cool wee video to a popular song at the time, Bad Day by Daniel Powter. The children reenacted situations at school that would constitute a bad day, such as having your lunch stolen, being excluded by friends etc etc. We enthusiastically shared it with the world, uploaded it youtube (we didn't even have a class blog out the time - how odd?!)

Anyway I arrived to school one day to a very disappointed bunch of kids - youtube had muted our very precious video because it breached copyright. The kids were flabbergasted because we had even had a conversation about this and had added a title in the credits where we thanked Daniel Powter for writing the song.

We moved on pretty quickly and no longer included copyrighted music in our movies. Last year I was introduced to the world of creative commons thanks to an online wikieducator course with Wayne Mackintosh. I was also introduced to a creative commons music/social netwoking site Jamendo. For us it is an essential moviemaking tool.

This term the teachers at my school are beginning to get the moviemaking and blogging bug. This is an absolute thrill! Excited teachers come to me for advise, borrowing microphones, and kids are excitingly discussing their films in the playground. Yesterday afternoon (Friday) I left the teacher next door at 5pm happily editing away. Just awesome!

... here comes the BUT

It seems that the natural video making order is to make one using a copyrighted song. For example, making a slow motion movie accompanied by the Chariots of Fire Theme Song. It brings the moving images to life, it draws upon notions of connotative meaning and it enables students to learn how film and music work together. Replication like this is one of the first steps of movie making. Just because I have had a few more years of experience - does this give me the right to blow their buzz?

Fortunately the teacher I was talking to also happens to be the choir teacher of our school. She produced a document that I have never seen before. It is a licence that our school has purchased from ppnz so that our choir can sing songs at school and concerts etc. It includes an AV clause that states:

This licence allows the making of audio and/or video recordings of musical works for the educational purposes of the school and to supply to their students for their private domestic use, providing that the audio or video recording is:

intended to be played at a school event;
of a school event; or
for analysis by students as a part of a course for instruction.

So we figured that if our intention is to show such films at a school assembly, it is okay to use audio that would otherwise be copyrighted? We could even burn a DVD of it for domestic use, but we can't upload it to youtube or blogs. Are we right?

4 comments:

  1. "for analysis by students as a part of a course for instruction" would seem to indicate that if you upload to YouTube and then view the video as part of a review process of learning then you should be covered... ??? Do you think YouTube would accept that reasoning?

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  2. We've got the same thing so I play copyrighted music at assembly but will change the track if we intend to publish.

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  3. Copyright is an interesting if somewhat personal issue for me simply because I grew up in the film industry. Having watched my Dad grind away in the industry for the best part of 3 decades I know the long hours that people put into creating work. I think it should be recognized in terms of salary so I tend to get a bit annoyed at people ripping off works. But on the other, schools etc. don't have infinite resources to purchase works for every thing they used limiting the opportunities for kids.

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  4. The history of copyright is really interesting. Was always in the interests of the distributors and not the artists. I think it could be argued that this continues to be the case

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