Video production using music

This scenario has been provided by Dr Fiona Peterson, Director of Learning & Teaching, School of Creative Media. They are fictitious but are realistic situations for some students and staff. The response to the scenario provided by Anne Lennox

Ethics and Copyright

Emily is a second year Advanced Diploma of Screen student. In the Video Production course she has been given an assignment to produce a short video of a musical performance. Emily is considering making a video of two amateur singers at the local netball club she belongs to, but she is not sure how old the singers are. She is also thinking about doing the video at Channel 10, where she works part time as a producer’s assistant for the Idol auditions. One of the ‘hopefuls’ might agree to be filmed for Emily’s assignment.

Short videos produced by students in the Video Production course might be needed also for a DVD of student work across the School, because the Program Leader, Bette White, is doing some recruiting in Mumbai and knows there is strong interest in Screen.


Emily needs to consider the issue of the use of musical works and the performance of musical works as part of her short film. If Emily’s intention is to use any musical works that she or the other participants in the film have not created themselves, music licenses will need to be obtained, or Emily needs to make an assessment on using a reasonable portion of a musical work under the fair dealing provisions.

If Emily is to rely upon the fair dealing provisions of the Australian Copyright Act (1968), (which would allow Emily to use a reasonable portion of a song for the purposes of research and study, submission as part of an assignment/assessment), a reasonable portion would not amount to a whole song, only a portion of the song. If Emily decided to rely on the reasonable portion provisions and decided to use only 10 bars from the song, Emily is only able to rely upon these provisions whilst she is studying. If for instance Emily decided to enter her short film into a competition, she would need to gain the permission of music societies to use the musical works as the purpose of the use has changed from research and study to public performance or showing the work to the public. The research and study provisions only apply whist Emily is a student. More information on fair dealing and information on copyright for students can be found in information guides on the copyright website.

Any use of musical works outside of fair dealing provisions will require a licence from the four music societies. If the two amateur singers intend to use a musical work that was created by a popular artist Emily will need to obtain a licence to perform the work, a licence to video the work and a licence to place the work on a DVD. In short Emily needs performance and reproduction licenses from the four music societies. If Emily’s short film is to be shown to the public then Emily will need to also obtain a separate licence to perform the works to the public. The first stop for licenses for Emily needs to be APRA []. The same rules above apply to Emily’s ‘hopeful’ from the idol audience. Emily will also need to gain clearance from Channel 10 to film within their studios.

If the amateur singers are under the age of consent being 18, Emily will need to secure permission from the singers parents to include the singers in the film.

If the films are to be used more widely then just submission as part of an assignment, then the music licenses and clearances need to be obtained to take into account all uses of the works.

If the Program Leader wishes to use the film produced by Emily the following permissions/licenses would be required.

  • Permission from the student [Emily] to use the work for promotion and educational purposes
  • Music licenses for any musical works included into the short film that are not independently owned by the student or the performers.
  • Consent from Network 10 for use of footage within their studio
  • Consent from the participants parents if the participants are under the age of consent.

It is important to note that all licenses and permissions take time, it is best to clear copyright issues and licenses at the beginning of the project so that the delivery date is not held up in licensing issues.