05. June 2008 · 6 comments · Categories: Ramble

I posted a couple of mini-videos on facebook. They were of the UCSC WWQ performance. Well, not really a performance; they call these “open rehearsals” for some reason.

But a former student questioned the legality of posting them. So I took them down. The last thing I need is to be in trouble or sued, and she asked the question publicly, which means, I would think, that a flag may have gone up at facebook.

So does anyone know about the legality of such things? The videos were displayed for “friends” (hah!) only. The music was purchased music, not rental (when you record rental music you can find yourself in trouble, I believe, unless you get permission). Am I pushing it to post those, or is it safe?

When UCSC has performances that charge for tickets the program always specifically states that we aren’t allowed to take pictures or record anything, which is why you’ll never see anything here or on facebook from those concerts. But this one? Not a real “concert” and free to boot. Anyone want to fill me in? I know the students enjoyed seeing and hearing a part of their performance.

Then again, a UCSC student has posted a portion of a concert that did cost money at YouTube. And the music was rental only. So I’m puzzled.


  1. Did the former student say, “I think that’s illegal and would appreciate it if you would take them down,” or did the student say, “Is it legal to post those videos?”

    I don’t know the answer to the legality question. But I do know this:

    1) It’s rare for anything posted friends-only to ever become an issue simply because it’s rare that anyone who would have an issue with it can see the video. That doesn’t make it legal (or illegal), but it’s rarely an issue.

    2) If I posted something of the nature of your video and someone involved with the performance asked me to take it down, I’d probably do so. Not because it’s necessarily illegal (not sure), but just out of courtesy.

    I suspect you agree with #2 as well (do you?) but are just asking whether or not the posting was legal. And that I can’t answer. (But am very curious to as well.)

    I do know that on this topic, it gets confused so much because: 1) people have strong emotional feelings on the topic, 2) a lot of people throw out misinformation, 3) people have trouble distinguishing what should be and what is, 4) people don’t understand copyright law.

    Anyway. 🙂

  2. The student thinks it might be illegal, and I guess there have been problems with someone else at the university. It’s not a copyright issue from what she implied, but a university issue. Perhaps anything done there is “owned” by the U? I wonder. I’m certainly not going to take any chances; I want to keep my job! Better safe that sorry and all that!

    The performers actually liked having their video up, but at least most of them saw and heard it before I took it down. And yes, I would always take things down if a performer asked me to. Actually I prefer to ask them prior to putting anything up, although I forgot this time (but I saw them today and they were fine with it). It just seems like the right thing to do.

    There are so many things that I have to learn about when it comes to internet and all, you know? I don’t want to break rules, so this one is gonna stay off.

  3. This might be a public domain issue. Pieces are public domain if they were written prior to 1923. Next year, pieces written prior to 1924 will be public domain. This is definitely an issue if you are selling or profiting from the recording of pieces composed after 1923 – I’m not sure about posting them for free. I agree with SongMonk that most of us don’t understand copyright law, so if you find some good resources on this topic, I’d love to hear about them!

  4. My understanding was that it all had to do with control of the material; a person was coming in to concerts, recording them (sometimes with permission, sometimes not) and broadcasting them on a local TV station. That upset people who felt they should have a say in what was put up.

    I know copyright could be an issue. (I am trying to find out when the Ibert was published … anyone know?)

    Of course there are a ton of videos up on YouTube that are of works written more recently. Somehow no one cares. But I’m not about to break a law and risk the possibility of a suit!

    Still, under 2 minutes of music just doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

    Until, of course, I’m included in the recording! 😉

  5. New info; the work was written in 1930. Guess that means that anyone who posts it on YouTube is breaking copyright law ..??

  6. @Tenly

    To clarify, works written prior to 1924 (I am not double-checking the date and am taking your word for it) are in the public domain which means you have full rights to performing it yourself, republishing it, etc.

    However, a *performance* of that work receives its own copyright and is not in public domain. That means if I did a recording of that work which printed it on CDs and sold that CD, the recording of that work is *not* in public domain.

    Just to clarify.