Final Project Thoughts

A few works in progress?
Image mapping + sunset photo collection = this exploration of non-linear pathways, and hypertext design.
(Related: video animation made by collaging together different sunset photographs, and this video of a ‘full sunset altered so that the brightness level remains constant from beginning to end’.

Organic Sound‘ – an overview of home recording options. ( Note the use of ‘hidden sounds’ on the intro page… How do you feel about this?)

Using Tables for Formatting
In response to a few people emailing about trying to format their pages and centre images, I wrote a couple of pages with tables to demonstrate the possibilities.

Copyright in Final Projects
This is relevant for everybody, and for one student in particular. But let’s forget about RMIT for a minute here.

To work for any professional media organisation, to submit work to any professional media organisation, means needing to acknowledge the existence of, and understand the implications of, copyright law. Copyright law exists. Regardless of your philosophical perspectives on copyright, if you wish to work as a professional media producer, you will be expected to work within the boundaries of the law.

This is why we dedicated an entire week of the subject to Copyright ( See: Copyright, Intellectual Property + Remix ), and explored the ideas of Creative Commons licences as a potential solution to the problems copyright can cause.

But – don’t online technologies and ease of re-publishing, mean that there are many grey areas of copyright online?

Yes, but let’s look at the blurry areas of copyright another way – let us think about driving a car. We know road rules exist, but everybody bends or breaks them a little bit sometime. That might be cutting a corner, not quite stopping at a stop sign, parking somewhere we aren’t supposed to, texting while driving, or going slightly over the limit, etc. However, when doing a driving test, we generally do our best to demonstrate that we understand the road rules. And the obvious punchline : to best demonstrate that you understand the practices and legal limitations of being a media professional, your final project being assessed needs to take copyright into consideration.

The short version :
Don’t use any media made by others in your final project, that you do no have permission to use.
( Permission can be written, or granted through the use of a creative commons licence).

Also worth noting: The success or failure of the final projects will be determined by how well they have addressed the course document criteria. A well planned website, that seeks to explore what is possible online, will still get good marks, and should not be dependent on any single sound or video.

Here’s a few related points from the Tropfest Filmmaker’s Guide to Music and Copyright:

Have you ever wondered whether it’s ok to use other people’s music in your film?
Or how to get permission to use music in your Movie Extra Tropfest film?

Some Basics
What’s copyright? Copyright is an automatic protection that applies to the expression of original ideas. It protects your work from being used in an unauthorised manner. It also means that other people’s films, music, photographs, artworks and written texts are protected from unauthorised use as well.

When I am making my Movie Extra Tropfest film how do I do the right thing with other people’s music?

What should I keep in mind when choosing music?
Music should be one of the first things you consider when planning your Movie Extra Tropfest production – the last thing you want to do is limit the life of your film by making hasty music choices or leaving this till the last minute. It is a good idea to try to use local music in your film. This means that local musicians and composers
can benefit from Movie Extra Tropfest, as well as every one else, and it is usually easier to organise and may be more economical. You should be aware that well known and published music can be very expensive to use.

Can I use someone else’s music in my Movie Extra Tropfest film?
Yes, as long as you have obtained permission to use the music from all of the copyright owners. There is generally more than one owner of copyright in any given musical track. The composer who wrote the music owns copyright in the musical works. The lyricist who wrote the lyrics owns copyright in the literary works. The artist who performed the music owns copyright in a sound recording of their live performance. Finally, the maker of the recording (typically a record company) owns copyright in the sound recording.

As a practical guide, to use music legally in your film you should:
1. contact the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners’ Society (AMCOS) on 1300 852 388 to obtain the correct licence for the use of the musical work; and
2. contact the Licensing Department of the relevant record company to obtain permission for the use of the sound recording.

When obtaining a licence to use the music it is important to note that you are not just asking for a “festival clearance” of the music since the demand for Movie Extra Tropfest films extends beyond the night of the festival. You will need to have cleared rights to use the piece of music in “all media” and in “all territories” (see Movie Extra Tropfest Entry Form T&Cs) in order to make your film eligible for inclusion in the network broadcast and any distribution that may follow the festival.

What about if I record my own version someone else’s song to use in my Movie Extra Tropfest film? Do I still have to get permission?
Yes even if you record your own cover version of a song, you must still get permission from the owner of copyright in the musical works in order to use it in your Movie Extra Tropfest film. This can usually be done by contacting AMCOS on 1300 852 388 or by contacting the relevant music publisher directly. Similarly, if you arrange or transpose someone else’s music you may first obtain their permission to include it in your Movie Extra Tropfest film.

Do I need permission to film a live performance of music?
Yes, performers also have rights under the Copyright Act and permission must be sought to film a live performance of music..

Why should I bother to ask for permission to use music in my Tropfest film?
Firstly, as a filmmaker, you have first hand experience of the time, effort and money that goes into creating, whether it is a film, a song or a painting. Using another creator’s work
without permission undervalues the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the creation process, and while some artists may be happy for their music to feature in films, others may not – they have a right to be asked.

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