No Filming!

You would think that after you paid all that cash to have your daughter (or son) study the ancient art of tap dance, you would at least be able to take video of the recital at the Lincoln Theatre.

You would be wrong:

Robert sez, “My daughter had her tap dance recital at the Lincoln theater in DC on sunday (6/3). Despite the fact that I paid for the lessons, paid for the costume, paid for the tickets to the show, and am the father of the child I could NOT videotape my daughters performance because of ‘copyright issues’ with the background music. The issue magically went away apparently if I purchased the DVD they making of the show for $25. There were ushers constantly moving up and down the aisle making sure video equipment wasn’t used. At least this year they allowed still camera, last year they banned even those.”

Hat tip to the Boing Boing folks for sending this one our way. I spoke with the Lincoln Theatre’s Star Brown today, and their policy is that videotaping of events is prohibited by audience members per the regulations drawn up by the Board of the Theatre company.

A non-profit company can request the right to film the concert/event for archival purposes at a cost of $2500, and a for-profit company can pay $5000 for the privilege. Non-profits can use one camera, For-profits can use many cameras.

If you’d like to ask for clarification about the policy, their phone number is 202.328.6000. Also, Lisa Jones is the Board Chair for the Lincoln Theatre, and her address for letters is:

Lisa Jones
Board of Directors
Lincoln Theatre
1215 U St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

Feel free to let her know how that policy makes you feel.

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16 Comments so far

  1. Joseph LeBlanc (unregistered) on June 7th, 2005 @ 4:41 pm

    All of this is standard procedure (even with small town/school productions). Theatrical productions usually require royalty payments in accordance with market size, number of expected patrons, etc…

    And unlike sheet music, buying a copy of a script does not grant you the licence to publically perform the work.

    Although we are talking about a dance recital, similar restrictions are probably in place.


  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 7th, 2005 @ 4:54 pm

    Music is governed by ASCAP which usually charges a portion of the organization’s annual budget plus a percentage (10% usually) of the gate from the event. No word yet on if Joy of Motion (the dance company involved) has an ASCAP license, but I’d bet kiam to kittycats that they do, and they’d be the ones responsible in that case, not the Theatre.


  3. Joseph LeBlanc (unregistered) on June 7th, 2005 @ 6:54 pm

    In that case, was the theater charging $25 for the DVD or was Joy of Motion charging this?


  4. John (unregistered) on June 7th, 2005 @ 9:42 pm

    ** shrug **

    Rules are rules. If you don’t want to play the game, take the game somewhere else. Or write your own music.

    I think it’s asinine, too. But if you don’t own the venue and/or the music, then who are you to dictate the uses of either?


  5. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 7th, 2005 @ 11:12 pm

    Joseph, I understand it was Joy Of Motion that was charging for the DVD.

    John, no ones dictating here, we’re just clarifying the policy. Personally, I think the tap school passes on enough of their costs, perhaps the DVD ought to be included in the price.


  6. Joey (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 1:40 am

    I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that the organization peforming the dance was not a for-profit organization. If that’s so, then the use of music would be within the fair use provision, correct?

    I think I’ll get into the music/movie business. Hell, the possibilities of charging people for looking, thinking, talking about, listening, and interacting with “my property” are limitless. I am excited about the possibility of charging bus riders to look at my new movie advertisements while waiting on the bus or for listening to my music while in the park (there might be people in the park who haven’t paid me for the privilege of listening to my music and thus are stealing). Hey, there’s a couple of unrealized revenue streams.

    Boy, I can hear the MBA profs now!


  7. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 8:31 am

    That’s covered as part of “public performance”, Joey. You can’t officially charge for that.

    Nice thought, though.


  8. Lee (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 8:34 am

    Who the hell are these idiots??

    “rules are rules??” “ASCAP” “Standard procedure?”

    Must be folks with no kids. Telling folks they can’t tape their kid is shameful. Anyone buying into this gobbledegook should have their hand slapped and sent to their room w/ no dinner! IP is out of control.

    Shameful!


  9. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 8:40 am

    Lee, the people you want to complain to here is the Dance Company, Joy of Motion, for picking a venue that prevented the filming. I would definitely recommend taking it up with them. Personally, I see absolutely no purpose to recording literally everything your child does. Photos are one thing, but a mass of tape? Less cool, imho.


  10. Joseph LeBlanc (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 9:03 am

    My point is, Joy of Motion probably would have prevented the filming regardless of whether it was at Lincoln Theatre, a local high school, or the dance studio itself. My sister was in ballet up through high school and camcorders were never permitted at any of her performances.


  11. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 9:08 am

    Most Dance Companies that are doing youth work (12 and under) are pretty permissive when it comes to taping, I’ve found. Ballet may be the exception here.


  12. Tiff (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 10:05 am

    FWIW, when I danced in high school, the school taped the performance for us and if we wanted a copy, we just had to provide a blank tape.

    They didn’t allow personal camcorders for the same reason they didn’t allow flash photography- it’s distracting.


  13. Bill Hark (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 11:13 am

    I think that is awful. A father should be allowed to tape his own kid. My philosphy: Don’t ask, just do and beg for forgiveness later. If you think you won’t be allowed, use a small discreet camcorder, black tape the red light and pull it out at the last minute.

    Another thing to consider: many still cameras can take a nice video clip if the routine is short. Rules are made to be broken and I see no problem if one is not selling the tape.


  14. MDR (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 3:49 pm

    This is typical ???? from north america. I cannot understand why the public puts up with this. If Americans stood up for the fundamentals that underly the creation of America they would fix these issues.

    Good luck – I hope you win.


  15. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 3:53 pm

    Because we believe that creators’ rights are balanced against watchers’ rights. That’s about it, really.


  16. Andrew (unregistered) on June 8th, 2005 @ 7:13 pm

    “This is typical ???? from north america.”

    Woah, woah, woah … don’t mistake America for North America. Canucks do things a little differently.

    I think have the event professionally taped as part of the cost of the event/lessons would be a great idea, though. A church I went to recently has banned photography during things like christenings. Instead they have a photographer who shoots everything, and then sells the pictures for basically the same as it would cost to buy film and develop it yourself. I think its a great idea. No one is annoyed by people jockeying for position, and the pictures that parents get are professional quality.

    I realize this isn’t the issue at hand, though.



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