Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
Hello I hired someone to create a promo video for my upcoming iphone/ipad app. In the video they use music as well as some small video clips of actual snowboarders. I spoke with them and they told me that law allows you to use small clips of the videos and it would not infringe on copyright laws. I essentially want to know if the video clips of the actual snowboarders is infringing on someones copyright. Also, the music in the video. Is this video completely useless or is there something I can do or add to make sure it doesnt infringe on any copyright.
you can view the video here:
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.My apologies but you were told is not fully accurate. While not exactly untrue, the information is incomplete and misleading.There is indeed a right under 'fair use' to clips and partial images of the video without it being deemed likely as infringement, provided that the use is limited and not substantial (for example using 40 seconds out of a 2 minute video clip is likely substantial, but using 5 seconds out of a 5 minute video is likely not substantial).The same goes for music. Using a short clip is likely permitted, but using the whole song, or a very substantial portion of the song would be considered infringement and would potentially open you up to possible threats of litigation. To make this video 'useful', review what was put in it. Consider trimming clips if you can, and likewise consider trimming the music.Good luck.
It seems the clips are each about 5-10 seconds long, but I do not know the full length of each one.
As for the music, that seems to be about a minute long.
It sounds a bit subjective on what can be used and what is considered fair use.
And when we say litigation what type of litigation would we be talking about?
Brian,Thank you for your follow-up. 5-10 second clips are likely fine. A minute for the music is likely borderline and I would instead suggest you cut it down a bit. But you absolutely hit on the largest issue with infringement claims--they are very highly subjective. There is no yes/no answer here because it comes down to a multitude of factors as well as intent. The rough outline I have suggested is a baseline of where a typical IP attorney would begin from to see whether or not there is at least a legitimate argument for infringement. As for litigation, that can be quite expensive. At worst you are looking at punitive damages and lost profits to the owner of the property, plus up to $150,000 per infringement occurrence as well as attorney fees and court costs. The other party can also sue to pursue all or a portion of your profits that you made from their work.Good luck.
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