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Is your corporate video legal?

Chances are it is. But a lot of producers, amateur and professional, make video production Chicago projects that rely on someone else’s work or concept. For all intents and purposes we can call these parody videos, and ReelSEO has a nice run-down of the legal ins and outs of making one of these videos.

Today’s video submission falls in the lighter end of the spoof-spectrum from video marketer conference speaker, and friend-of-ReelSEO, Casey Zeman. Casey and his wife Diana Newton are also professional actors who recently created a spoof video on the movie “The Adjustment Bureau,” which they’ve titled and promoted on their YouTube channel as “The Bureau Adjustment.”

DISCLAIMER: The following information is presented for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as, or substituted for, professional legal advice. For that, we strongly recommend you consult with an attorney!

What Has Copyright Protection in a Video?

“Every new work of original creation is automatically protected by copyright law,” says Gordon. “So if you use something in your video production Chicago project that comes from someone else’s work of artistic creation – like a film, or video clip, or music, or photographer or whatever, then you need to obtain permission – a license from the owner of the copyright of that work.”

Gordon explained more about the two defenses in the United States law on copyright infringement that have often applied to online video marketing: #1 Parody and #2 fair use.

Copyright Exception #1: Parody

“Parody is a work created to mock, comment on, or make fun of an original work, its subject, its author, its style, etcetera – by means of a humorous or ironic imitationThe courts have historically held that parodies are a protected area of speech, and they can take enough of the original work that they’re poking fun at, to conjure up an original in the mind of the viewer, or the reader or whatever,” said Gordon.

Gordon explained that in order for a video production Chicago to be considered a parody, it has to be spoofing or making fun of either the original work, or its author, or something closely-related. “Otherwise, it’s not a parody,” said Gordon.

Copyright Exception #2: Fair Use

Gordon explained that even if the video production Chicago isn’t strictly a parody of anything – for example, maybe it’s not making fun of the original work, but of something else entirely, it might still be protected as a form of fair use.

“Fair use is a term that’s often bandied about by folks who think it’s carte blanche to take whatever they want and use it however they want. Well that’s really not how it works.” said Gordon. “Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement; and that means by the time you get to argue about fair use, you’re involved in a lawsuit. So that’s troublesome point number 1.”

In fair use, the courts look at four different factors, and they weigh them all in determining if the defense is valid in a particular case:

  1. The purpose and character of the allegedly infringing work… “so an educational purpose or critique is going to get better treatment than a commercial kind of use, like a TV ad or radio commercial or something like that, or if you’re just selling copies of the original. Now, some courts go further on this on this first element, and take a look at whether the use is “transformative.” That is, does the new work transform the work in some way that makes a new and different entirely kind of work?
  2. The nature of the original work. “If the original is very commercial in it’s nature, versus very artsy in it’s nature, then that will tip the scales somewhat differently.” (This also goes to factor #4, the effect of the market on the original work.)
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion taken by the infringing work. “If you take the whole thing – the whole enchilada — that’s going to work against a finding of a fair use; while taking very small bits goes in favor of that finding. But small bits can be very substantial. So it’s not just the length of the clip that’s a consideration. You also have to look at how important to the whole original that little bit is. Like, for the hook of a song, for example, could be considered very substantial, even though it’s only a few bars.”
  4. The effect on the market for the original work. “Courts look at how the alleged infringing use is going to affect the value of that original. So in an industry where clips can be licensed and bought and sold, and so on, the loss of the value of such a sale might weight against a fair use. But where there’s no such market for that kind of thing, then things might go the other way.”

To find out how we can help you use the powerful tool of video production Chicago for your business, call or email us today!

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